Normally, on a Sunday afternoon during the girls’ naptime, I try to get some work done or lie down to rest. But a few days ago, I instead wrapped a blanket around my waist to keep warm and pulled cutting boards and pots out of the cupboard.
Before I had kids, I wondered what kind of mom I would be. In fact, I was pretty sure I knew. My outgoing and vivacious personality attracted kids to my side for years. Their energy matched mine, and we giggled and chased each other before collapsing on the floor. I pictured myself holding babies, and then playing endlessly with kids on the living room carpet or in the backyard.
Who knew after adopting two little girls back-to-back would send me collapsing on the floor before breakfast? The energy-zapping was instantaneous and overwhelming. I had beautiful girls and not a lot of spare energy to keep up the vivacious personality I once exhibited.
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So on this Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, I felt myself breaking into a new role. Cooking has always scared me, and for years I was drawn to different hobbies. I didn’t want to learn how to roast, bake, simmer, and blend. My time was precious and cooking and baking never ranked high on my priority list.
But I am a mama. And ironically, my family is hungry most days, sometimes all day. Part of my heart is growing, like the Grinch, slowly warming up to cooking to feed my husband and littles. And myself, too. (Sometimes we forget how much we enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal.)
That’s why I cooked on Sunday. We had been at the store when a rotisserie chicken stand near the deli called my name. I remembered the new soup stock I bought that made the best chicken noodle soup broth. It was easy too, just a few scoops of the stock mix blended into boiling water. Then all I had to do was shred the rotisserie chicken, add carrots, onions, noodles, salt, and pepper. Even I couldn’t mess that up!
When that chicken landed in our cart (on the bottom rack because my 2-year-old squirmed around inside the cart and my 1-year-old sat in the seat belted front), the smell of lemon and garlic stayed with me. I couldn’t wait to get it home and into a soupy broth to comfort me in the cold of winter. The ease of the recipe motivated and excited me.
Sometimes things scare us away because they make us feel slightly inadequate. Soup was like that—I didn’t know how to make it. It didn’t feel easy, and I was feeling insecure about messing it up. Others could do it so well, but my hands fumbled at the stove.
In my kitchen, I chopped pumpkin-orange carrots, setting the dead heads in a nearby tray. I grabbed onions from my freezer and measured the chicken stock. In the rhythm, a peace settled within me. There was no music, no podcast, no noise. Just the sound of a knife hitting the cutting board and the simmer of steam rising from the pot of soup.
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I felt a new mama emerge. A chicken noodle soup making mama. A Sunday afternoon at the stove in my socks kind of mama.
My heart warmed as the boiling water welcomed freshly chopped carrots and warm-to-the-touch rotisserie chicken. I felt God whispering to me, I can help you love anything.
He can help me be more patient with my girls when they test me hour after hour, day after day. He can help me fall in love with lemony chicken prepared by someone else. He can help me emerge into a sort of mother who enjoys preparing food for her family. He loves me and yearns for me to ask for his help. I’m not alone.
God is the God of small things like chicken noodle soup on a Sunday and big things like changing my heart into a woman who delights in serving others. I want my attitude toward motherhood to be as delicious as the noodly broth that warmed me and my family for dinner.