Natchez, Mississippi holds a lot of my memories and many of them involve watching my Grandmother in the kitchen. She’s the reason why I love cooking now and I still call her for recipes. There were many times as a girl that I would pull up a kitchen table chair and just watch her bake for the entire family. She made the rest of the family stay in the living room and wait until the food was done, but I was more enamored by the process. I wanted to see how it was that separate ingredients including vanilla extract, eggs, flour, sugar, and butter came together to create something so beautiful. First, she adds all of the ingredients and then mixes them together. But before anything can be consumed, it had to go through a heating process. No matter what she made, the same basic process had to be repeated and she could never make anything without two basic steps…mixing and heating. In essence, I believe that is how God deals with us. He takes all of these ingredients, deposits them into who we are, mixes them together, takes us through a heating process, and then we become who he has destined us to be.
At the beginning of 2016, I just remember going through a lot of transitions and more changes than I was comfortable with. I didn’t know what God was doing to me and back then all I knew was I didn’t like it. As he was adding these ingredients of faith, courage, love, kindness, and self-control into me he was also causing havoc in my life. I didn’t understand why God would be depositing all of these amazing quality traits into me and then mixing up the woman I was all at the same time. It felt counterproductive, because if he mixed too much then he could risk some of the ingredients falling out of the bowl. But just like Grandma, God is an expert cake maker. He knows how to angle his wrist one way and the bowl the other way so that everything that he’s putting into us will stay in us throughout the process of being mixed. If you’ve ever made a cake, you know that you can’t just dump all of the ingredients at once into a bowl and then mix it. You have to continue to mix as you add more ingredients so they are distributed evenly throughout the batter. God wanted to be sure that he couldn’t just taste the ingredient of faith in one area of my life while faith was tasteless in another area. God is not that kind of God. If he deposits faith into one area of our life, he’ll mix up other areas so that faith will seep into those as well. He had to make my faith consistent throughout the woman that he was forming me into.
Once God mixed all of these ingredients into who I was becoming, he had to take me through a heating process. In my figurative heating process, I didn’t understand what was happening to me. Just like an oven, the door must remain closed in order for a cake to bake correctly. No one could see the magnitude of the tribulations I was enduring and I remember feeling so hidden and alone, but God set it up that way purposely.
When he was creating me, he couldn’t let everybody stay in the kitchen. He had to be like Grandma and put everybody else in the living room because they had the possibility to interfere with the finished product. Throughout the entire process of mixing and heating, God was creating destiny that no one could tamper with.
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered
B. Janai and Grandma Mary