Life Lessons from My Mixing Bowl

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I made a large stack of pancakes this morning.

This morning’s breakfast creation isn’t out of the ordinary in our house. I make pancakes about twice a week for my family. Micah likes his with a couple tablespoons of syrup. John enjoys his pancakes with blueberries and jam. Caleb requests that I put chocolate chips in his two and then he gobbles them up just like that. Jake, however, isn’t a pancake fan and passes on them completely.

Since moving to South Africa ten years ago, I have made my own pancake concoction and create these pancakes from scratch. I’ve come to the point where I can just eye ball my measurements of flour, baking powder, plain yogurt, oatmeal, lemon juice, milk, and oil. Two eggs are included too. I mix them up, cook them, and when every last pancake is cooked, it’s time to clean the mixing bowl.

I love this cobalt blue bowl.

I don’t think its ceramic creator ever dreamed it would be used to make pancakes. It actually was molded, shaped, fired, decorated and inscribed with this phrase on the side of it, “His angles shall watch over thee.” I imagine the bowl’s designer thought this bowl would be used as a serving dish. I have utilized it in this capacity over the years.  Fruit salads, green salads, pasta salads, mashed potatoes, and even dinner rolls have been served in it. Yet, more often than not, this cobalt blue bowl is my mixing bowl – for pancake and waffle batter, brownies, scones, and more.

Is the bowl in perfect condition and free from defects after nearly 18 years of use?

Nope.

A number of years ago, I nicked the bowl’s rim and a small chip broke loose. I couldn’t mend that wound. Later, the bowl suffered another blow. This time I could glue the broken pieces back onto the bowl. The repair certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough. I can still use the bowl and I do – again and again and again and again.

This bowl won’t last forever. I know that. Yet, for the years that I have enjoyed it, and for the years I hope to delight in it still -to make pancakes, waffles, brownies, and more – I relish the opportunity.

Which made me wonder – how am I like this cobalt blue mixing bowl?

It says in Romans 12:2, “…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….”

Renew comes from the Greek transliterated word, anakainoó, which means to change, to amend and/or to make new again. For the follower of Jesus Christ, this means that we are being constantly made new in Him.

Just like my cobalt blue mixing bowl that is washed and dried after each culinary experience, I am being washed up, prepared, and made new for my next opportunity or stage in life. I cannot remain where I am – holding on to past joys or past sorrows, past victories or past failures or past thoughts and feelings. Just like that bowl cannot remain covered in dried-up pancake batter from this morning’s work, I too, need to be made ready for whatever is next in my life.

My cobalt blue bowl cannot clean itself. I apply the water, the soap, and the physical pressure to transform it. In the same way, I cannot transform myself. Any change that occurs within me is through the power and grace of Jesus Christ as I trust Him to do this purposeful and needed transformational work.

He is making me ready for what’s next!

And what is that anyway?

I cannot say for sure. However, from what I know of my current set of experiences is that I need my God to help me step up my Mom-Game. I want Him to transform my heart and mind to help me greater discern what my three sons need of me. As one example, Micah, Jake and Caleb need greater autonomy and opportunities to grow in independence. They need to take positive risks in their lives. What does that even look like – especially for two kids on the autism spectrum?

What does that look like as we homeschool in the Happy Blue School?

What does that look like as we seek out a place of worship that will embrace our family as we are? (We’ve had a difficult time finding a place that will accept our sons who are on the autism spectrum.)

What does that look like as we provide our boys with even more responsibility?

What does that look like as our boys grow and make more decisions on their own?

I may not know yet. However, I am grateful that just like that cobalt blue bowl with which I have every intention of using again and again and again in my future, my God is willing to use me to guide and nurture my children. Amazingly, my God considers me to be invaluable to His work and creation; even though I have my own nicks, chips, failures, and imperfections like my cobalt blue mixing bowl.

What about you?

What is happening in your life in which you need your God to transform you – inside and out? To soap you up, wash you up, and rinse you so that you are prepared for what is next?

As you consider this, here is a message of encouragement:

Keep your eyes looking up! Focus your attention solely on Me. You are being changed from the inside out as you do! As you continue to seek Me, you will readily recognize what I desire from you. I will bring out My best in you as my Spirit pours into your soul, washes over you with My infinite love and immeasurable peace, and transforms your mind with My grace. Trust me with your heart. I am with you and I am for you and I want you!

May it be so. Amen and Amen.

4 thoughts on “Life Lessons from My Mixing Bowl

  1. I’m sorry I keep bothering you! But a lot of what you write leads me to questions as I keep looking for our similarities and differences in worldview. So my question, if you have time or interest to answer, is: what do you think of people who do not believe in god who change and transform their lives? I understand that you find your faith to be a transformative and meaningful part of your life which has supported you through many things and changed your life in various ways. I also have many things in my life which have transformed or changed me and helped me progress, and I have observed similar changes in many other people, both religious and not. Personally, I see little differences between the abilities and moralities and changes that believers and non-believers are able to enact in their lives, so I assume that we all gain the strength and will to change from the same non-religious place. I am curious what you think about a non-believer’s ability to change and transform. Do you think that god enables us to improve the same as he does for Christians? Or do you believe we are we unable to change and improve the same way Christians do? Or do Christians have the power to change themselves with or without god’s help? Or is it some of all of the above? I’m not talking about salvation here, but rather just the ability to become better people. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and thanks for humoring me! 🙂

    1. Hi Evan, thanks for the questions. You are not bothering me.

      You ask, “Do I believe people can change in a transformative way whether they are followers of Christ or not?”

      Well, I guess my answer would center on how we define ‘transformative.’ For me, when I talk about a transformative change I am thinking about what the Holy Spirit is able to do within the heart, soul, mind and person of a Christ follower. This is a redemptive change. The person becomes righteous (in a very good, good way) because of what Christ has done on his/her behalf. We now are standing firm in an environment of grace. We have all of the joyous and wondrous benefits of a redeemed life – not because of what we have done but because of what Christ has done.

      Now, what about those who are not Christ-followers – will they experience such a transformative change? The question for me is – have they asked for it from the Lord? Sometimes, I bet they have. Other times, I bet they have done the changing work by self will and determination.

      Are Christ followers able to change in the same way that non-believers change? What kind of change are we talking about? If we are talking soul change, then I don’t believe so. Christ followers are looking to their God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ for their change. If I understand you right, you look to yourself to make your changes and improvements.

      Honestly, Evan, I believe that we as Christ followers have the potential through the power of Jesus Christ to be very different in how we act and respond on this earth. Our lives should be captivating. We should be gracious, loving, accepting, and humble people who give credit to our God and Savior Jesus for what changes are happening inside and outside.

      You may or may not know that I recently lost some weight. I had a heck of a time over the years trying to do that. My metabolism just wouldn’t cooperate. I decided to join a team of people who were doing the 21 Day Fix and give it a go. For some reason, and I actually credit my God for what happened -doing this workout and nutrition regime clicked for me. I lost weight. The 21 Day Fix is the latest diet/health fad to hit. Thousands of people – probably believers and non-believers alike have experienced success with it. Following Christ was no guarantee that I would necessarily lose weight. However, I did ask my God to help me with it and I know that inwardly He gave me strength and conviction to do the work needed. Other people may not have done that. They may have had the will power and conviction to do this change work without asking Jesus for anything. Did God allow it? Well, of course He did.

      This may cause a whole new set of questions/thoughts for you, but I believe that God wants the best for us. Whether a Christ follower or not, living in a healthy way is a good thing and actually God honoring. I believe He is for us and not against us.

      I’m not into being a ‘better’ person. For me, I’m into living into the amazing destiny that my God has for me as I entrust Him with my life.

      I believe that there is a whole host of things – you know those fruits of the Spirit – that are available to Christ followers that help us, grow us, and are used to love and care for others. That’s what I want to be about. For me to love some one – especially some one who has hurt me and keeps hurting me – is a Christ-kind of love. He offers His love and forgiveness to me at great cost. Only through Christ can I love in such a way.

      Have I answered you?

      1. I think you have, but let me clarify to make sure I’m understanding correctly. You think that believers and unbelievers have access to the same ability to change and become better people, in general. However, you think there are some spiritual changes that are accessible by Christians alone. These changes may not necessarily be visible changes in behavior, but more spiritual changes? And that god can also help us with physical and mental changes too, but these changes are not accessible through god only, but also through will and determination by those who do not believe in god or do not ask for his help. Am I understanding you correctly?

        By the way, congrats on your success with your weight loss program!

      2. Hi Evan, you say things so much clearer than me! Yes, I believe that because Believers have the Holy Spirit and Jesus living inside of them/us, we have access to Help to make those spiritual changes happen. Honestly, Evan, for me, I don’t think it’s possible to really make significant changes in behavior and thought life without the help of Jesus.

        Also, I have really been thinking about what you wrote about how you don’t see much difference in the changes in life of believers and unbelievers. I wrote a response to that – at least my take on it. Others may disagree of course.

        You really make me think and ponder.

        I appreciate that! Take care, heather

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