Once upon a time, in a not-so-distant past, my family listed our house twice in two years. We moved three times over those two years – in with my mom, back to the ‘sale pending’ house, into our new home. During that second year, specifically that fall, we had a host of other happenings as well:
-From August on, our belongings were packed into a storage unit, and we were packed into my mom’s townhome.
-In September I self-published my first book, packing up and mailing out each order from my mom’s living room.
-In October, I turned 34, and we made 6 offers on 6 houses, each one turned down.
-In November, my youngest daughter turned 1, and we moved into our new home (the 7th offer) just before Thanksgiving.
-My little sister got married on New Year’s Eve, and as the matron of honor I had the pleasure of planning and hosting her bridal shower (in October) and bachelorette brunch (in November), and getting my family ready to be the ring bearer, flower girls, and a groomsman.
-In December, my oldest son turned 5 and we celebrated his birthday, Christmas, and my sister’s wedding.
It was a season we’ll never forget. Recently I was reflecting on that time of chaos, and I remembered one morning when I made oatmeal.
We’d been packing up to move out of our home the next week, so many of the items we use daily were stored away in boxes. I hadn’t been doing a ton of cooking because of the inconvenience, but this day while we were in our still-half-ours home, I pulled out my trusty old slow-cooker.
Now, friends, there’s nothing simpler than my slow-cooker apple cinnamon oatmeal recipe. It scents the house with comfort and gives my family a great meal. I can prepare it once, pour it into a 9×13 pan, and my family will have breakfast leftovers all week. But while it is the best, it’s still just oatmeal, which is why I was surprised when steel-cut oats, milk, brown sugar, and diced apples served up peace.
I chopped and measured, poured and stirred. I rocked out to the music playing from my phone sitting on a messy kitchen counter. I ran out of non-stick cooking spray, and found that the cupboard holding the apple corer was full of crumbs from the toaster. I ruffled heads that ran by and I stooped to hand over a refilled sippy cup. As I prepared the simplest of meals in my very-real-life, never-been-pinned kitchen, I felt peace replace stress in my heart, my shoulders, my brain.
Frayed nerves smoothed, I was calmer. I was able to roll with the little things that sometimes derail my day. I breathed more deeply. I was kinder to my kids and husband. I was motivated at work. I went to bed early, and I was satisfied with how the day had gone.
Was there some kind of magical extra ingredient in that oatmeal to get such results? The only explanation I can come up with is this:
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
That day in my half-packed, running out of groceries, crumb-covered kitchen, God gave me a stream. A cool, refreshing oasis in a parched land of daily tasks that had dried out my soul. He used twenty minutes of simple meal preparation to create a pool in the burning sand of my heart.
It’s interesting that in this passage, God doesn’t refer to geysers, oceans, lakes, rivers or even ponds. He says stream, pool, and bubbling springs — all serene, tranquil images of small bodies of water. The dictionary tells us a lot, as it defines a stream as:
1. a small, narrow river
2. a continuous flow of liquid, air, or gas.
“Small and narrow” tells us that God doesn’t need much to make much. He works with us, friends! While it would be amazing to have a weekly day at the spa (or sometimes even just a long hot shower), let’s be honest: it’s not happening.
But ours is a God who makes much of our small offerings.
A few minutes of quiet solo worship can become a chorus. Our chapel can become His cathedral.
And “a continuous flow” lets us know that even when we no longer feel the stream of peace, it doesn’t mean God has stepped away. The pool doesn’t dry up. The spring doesn’t stop bubbling. The stream doesn’t run dry.
God’s love leaves a lingering calm that can reign in our hearts when we feel anything but peaceful.
Where can you make space for Him to meet you today? While doing dishes, running errands, picking up toys, or having lunch in your cubicle? Wherever it is, whenever it is, He will show up.Leave a Comment
Pearl Allard says
Anna, I’ve read this before, but it’s still so good the second time around. (Maybe like those delicious oatmeal bars!) Thank you for the reminder that God can make much of our little.
Genesis 24:27 KJV ….I being in the way, the Lord led me….
Ginny Browning says
Thank you, Anna Randall, for getting me back down to earth today’!
I’ve been so busy just getting through each day’s tedium that I lose sight of the wondrous and delightfulness of the birds singing, the wild flowers blooming, and my happy husband of 35 years, whose only wish is to make me happy ♥️
Anna Rendell says
Beautiful images, each and every one a picture of His grace and goodness!
Michele Morin says
I always hear those opening words from Isaiah 35 in a lush soprano courtesy of Handel’s Messiah, but I loved reading today about the abundance and the comfort of oatmeal and the lingering grace of God’s love.
Anna Rendell says
Lingering grace… that’s really what it is, isn’t it? Now I’ll have to pull up the Messiah to accompany me this afternoon! 🙂
Thank you Anna. I was wondering if you could share your crock pot oatmeal recipe with us! I would love to experience the same wonderful smell and the same peaceful feeling amidst all the chaos!
Thank you incourage for always providing me with a daily moment of peace and encouragement, usually just when I need it most!
Anna Rendell says
You can find the recipe right here: http://girlwithblog.com/2016/08/making-oatmeal-stream-desert/ I hope you love it!
Thanks so much Anna! I’m going to give it a try!
We have an amazing God who gives us joy in simple things. Much to be thankful for. We are so blessed!
Anna Rendell says
Becky Keife says
He is always so faithful! Always willing to show up and fill us with His peace no matter what crazy chaos we find ourselves in. Thanks for this sweet reminder (and that awesome oatmeal recipe!) xx
This is so awesome. I’m feeling so “unsettled” right now, moved in with my daughter because she fractured her spine and she has 4 children. My husband and I are “purging” belongings because we are preparing for the mission field, at some point, and all my things are in boxes.
Thank you for speaking God’s words for me today as I make soup and muddle through the laundry!
God is always on time isn’t He?
Becky Keife says
Renae, God is always on time. Yes, indeed! Love that. Blessings to you as you lean in to the needs and dreams and messy middle in the waiting.
Beth Williams says
Wow! That was a super busy season!! Sometimes all we have to do is quiet our souls & listen for His still small voice with whispers of grace for us. He can make something out of nothing. I had a stressful season in March 2017. My aging dad’s severe dementia was bad & he was to be hospitalized again. The next day I turned on You Tube to Stephen C. Chapman & danced around my kitchen to his fast songs like “Live Out Loud” “Dive” “Love Come Over Me”. It was the stream I needed to remain calm during that time.
This is so true. Those moments of quietness, offering Christ what we have is sweet surrender. “Your name is like honey on my lips, Your Spirit like water to my soul,
Your word is a lamp unto my feet,
Jesus I love You, I love You.”
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Oh how God enjoys our love offerings. I’m sure your pot of yummy oatmeal was fragrant even unto God. Thanks for the reminder to slow down (even in the midst of hectic) and do whatever it is we’re doing (making oatmeal) unto the Lord. He enjoys our offerings. He longs for our heart to join with His – no matter how that happens.
Rebecca Jones says
Wow, you were busy. I was enjoying a season rest, my holidays were minimal last year. I usually tend to over do, sometimes, you can take a break. Oatmeal sounds good.
Prayers up for all the prayer requests today. Thankful for this community.