flour with olive oil

“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.


Shelly Miller / Posts / Blog
Shelly Miller is a veteran ministry leader and sought-after mentor on Sabbath-keeping. She leads the Sabbath Society, an online community of people who want to make rest a priority, and her writing has been featured in multiple national publications. Her first book, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, will release with Bethany House Publishers in the fall of 2016 with a second launching in 2017 with Lion Hudson. Find more of Shelly’s writing on her blog, Redemptions Beauty, and connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where she loves to share photos of the beautiful places she visits while living as a committed immigrant in London.
  • Linda@Creekside

    Gorgeous, appetizing, thought-provoking, Shelly. And your heart words made me smile, too …

    December 15th, 2014 1:50
    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks Linda! Lovely to see you here, isn’t this site amazing?

      December 15th, 2014 5:57
  • Leah Adams

    Shelly, how deeply this post spoke into my heart. I am in a season of waiting. Mine is a different season than yours, but the wait is the same. Waiting on God to move, to act, to soften hearts, to bring about healing of relationships. Some days I want to give up. Thank you for the reminder that there is beauty in the waiting. Grace and peace to you.

    December 15th, 2014 12:32
    • Shelly Miller

      God uses waiting seasons repetitively in story after story in the Bible — Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth — just to name a few. And even when the waiting is longer than they imagine, God answers their prayers for fulfillment. His timing is mysterious but always right. Don’t give up, He is with you.

      December 15th, 2014 14:23
  • rhondi mullins

    So good. Thank you for making me stop and pay attention to my daily life.

    December 15th, 2014 13:32
    • Shelly Miller

      Noticing is the key to finding joy through a lengthy season where God seems silent. It helps us to identify where he is afoot in the mystery, yes?

      December 15th, 2014 14:24
  • Trece

    Thank you for this. I KNOW exactly what you are talking about. My eyes fill with tears to have found someone who gets it. I shall make some bread, and when I serve it, I will give thanks to Jesus for bringing your words to me. They help me to keep waiting expectantly. Such a blessing.

    December 16th, 2014 5:39
    • Shelly Miller

      Glad to know I am in good company Trace. Keep the faith friend, He is with us!

      December 16th, 2014 19:01
  • Glenda Childers

    I hope you are keeping a list of each provision as it comes in to your home/life. It is easy to forget, later. Love the deodorant story. And your gracious waiting.


    December 16th, 2014 11:02
    • Shelly Miller

      I am keeping a list Glenda but not as well I as I can be. Thanks for the nudge, needed that!

      December 16th, 2014 19:02
  • Mary Bonner
    Mary Bonner

    The way you are weaving your daily life of waiting and uncertainty into these beautiful posts speak volumes to me, Shelly. Thank you for being faithful and sharing.

    December 16th, 2014 12:59
    • Shelly Miller

      It blesses me greatly to know that Mary. It’s beautiful redemption in the midst of the hard places knowing my journey is speaking to someone’s circumstances.

      December 16th, 2014 19:03
  • Lisa

    Reframing struggle to reveal blessing; I can never have too many examples of how that is done. Grateful for your spirit lead insight.

    December 16th, 2014 22:26
  • pastordt

    Lovely, Shelly. (But honestly? I think grabbing a bag of Oreos is way cheaper than making cookies from scratch. 🙂

    December 17th, 2014 6:30
    • Shelly Miller

      Not if you already have all the ingredients to make a batch of cookies in your pantry and need to get rid of them before you move. 😉

      December 18th, 2014 19:39
  • Nancy Ruegg

    Shelly, you’re helping us to see that under all the fluff of life, the real stuff is waiting (There’s that word again–waiting!) to be discovered. Things like moments-in-the-kitchen-with-your-son-checking-pots. And then add deep down gratitude for such a blessing, as you describe so beautifully, and viola! Perspective is transformed. Thank you, dear blogging friend, for these thoughtful, artful posts!

    December 19th, 2014 23:53
  • Lisha Epperson

    When the cupboards are bare and cash is low I use what’s on hand for what I call my “waste not want not meal”. Creativity goes a long way with these recipes and I feel the deepest sense of service and hospitality toward my family when I work what we have well. This was really good Shelly. Hope you’re well.

    December 22nd, 2014 0:17
  • Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Oh THIS Shelly…”I’m learning our ability to wait is directly correlated with our capacity to trust Him. Self-sufficiency is an imposter for trust.”
    Wow. So very true. Your journey of trust is a beautiful testimony to those around you (aka…me). Thank you for sharing so openly. <3

    December 26th, 2014 19:41
  • Helen

    Love the idea of your post….wonder, however, if you’re right to use the word ‘poverty’? You certainly don’t seem like you’re living in poverty and admit that it was a ‘few months’ whilst you were between jobs….love that you’ve highlighted the insights you gained whilst being resourceful but wonder what people living in real poverty – day in, day out – might think of your post? [Don’t want to be critical – I really would like to hear your opinion!]

    December 28th, 2014 18:00
  • layla bb solms

    so i’m going back & reading posts published before i was invited to this table…. the idea of “avoidance of waiting” is really smushing into my heart right now. thank you.

    March 11th, 2015 15:49

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *