“My deodorant is like the story of the woman with the flour and oil,” says my husband while standing in front of the mirror getting dressed. He holds the container up to eye level while I brush my teeth, “Look, it’s been empty for two weeks, but every time I twist it, more comes out.”
Moving quickly to the sink with hand cupped under my chin, I lean over and spit toothpaste out to avoid choking from laughter.
This is our new normal, finding God’s provision in the midst of newfound poverty. Living without income for several months while transitioning to a new job in London, the unanticipated lengthy wait has challenged our bank account.
But the gift in carefully counting our pennies is the revelation of tired thinking and the challenge of resourcefulness. I’ve taken much for granted, especially when it comes to feeding my family.
When choices in the grocery store don’t require intentionality, apathy becomes second nature and I deprive my husband and children of the gift in hospitality.
It is easier to pick up a bag of Oreos than to make cookies from scratch; easier to purchase a loaf of bread than allow dough to rise in my kitchen; easier to select a pan of lasagna from the frozen food aisle than to simmer red sauce all day in a pot.
Poverty reveals that most of my choices about food are an avoidance of waiting.
And in the hard, uncomfortable season of transition where I find myself, I’m learning our ability to wait is directly correlated with our capacity to trust Him. Self-sufficiency is an imposter for trust.
Challenged with a new budget, I’m scouring recipe books that include ingredients pushed to the back of cabinets behind those familiar go-to items that usually come in a box. While wooing my family to the table with sweet and savory aromas filling up the house, I’m finding the kitchen to be an altar of remembrance.
In all the unknowns and uncertainty in our circumstance, the smells simmering on the stovetop are my incense and the hospitality, an offering of trust in God’s faithfulness.
My son towers over me tilting lids off pots, flicking on the oven light to see what is baking. He is asking me “what’s for dinner” with new expectancy, the way Advent prepares us for Christmas.
New doesn’t usually co-exist with poverty but creating food with fresh recipes makes me feel as though I am rich when the outcome is smiles around the table. With each bite, our cares are discarded for what we are savoring.
A handful of flour and a jar of oil is all it took for the woman to repeatedly feed her family. If God can do that then perhaps extending use on a container of deodorant isn’t preposterous.
Mostly, I think He revels in our joy, found when we trust Him. Immanuel, God is with us.