Last week I made oatmeal for the first time in months.
We’ve been packing up to move out of our home next week, so many of the items we use daily are stored away in boxes. We will be living with my mom until we find our next home, so her dishes and cookware are what we’re using. But this day we were in our half-ours home, and I pulled out my trusty old slow-cooker.
Now friends. There’s nothing simpler than this oatmeal recipe. Cooked slow in the crock, it scents the house with comfort and gives my family a great start in the morning. I know I can prepare it once, pour it into a 9×13 pan, and my family will have breakfast all week. So it’s the best, but it’s still just oatmeal.
Which is why I was surprised when the steel-cut oats, milk, brown sugar, and diced apples served up peace.
I chopped and measured, poured and stirred. I rocked out to the music playing from my phone on my messy kitchen counters. I ran out of non-stick cooking spray and found that the cupboard holding the apple corer was full of crumbs from the toaster, jostled into its place. And as I prepared the simplest of meals in my very real life un-Pinteresting kitchen, I felt peace replace stress in my heart, my shoulders, my brain.
Frayed nerves smoothed, I was calmer the rest of that whole day. I was able to roll with the little things that sometimes derail my day. I breathed deeper. I was kinder to my kids and husband. I was motivated at work. I went to bed early, and I was satisfied with how the day had gone.
Was there some kind of magic extra ingredient in that oatmeal, to result in such a day? The only explanation I can come up with is this:
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
That day in my half-packed, running out of groceries, crumb-covered kitchen, God gave me a stream.
A cool, refreshing oasis in a parched land of daily tasks that had dried out my soul. He used twenty minutes of simple meal preparation to create a pool in the burning sand of my heart.
It’s interesting that in this passage, God doesn’t refer to geysers, oceans, lakes, rivers or even ponds. He says stream, pool, and bubbling springs — all serene, tranquil images of small bodies of water. The dictionary tells us a lot, as it defines a stream as:
1. a small, narrow river
2. a continuous flow of liquid, air, or gas.
“Small and narrow” tells us that God doesn’t need much to make much. He works with us, friends!
While it would be amazing to have a weekly day at the spa (or sometimes even just a long hot shower), let’s be honest — It’s not happening.
But ours is a God who makes much of our small offerings.
A few minutes of worship, snatched while the kitchen is miraculously quiet, can become a choir. Our chapel is His cathedral.
And “a continuous flow” lets us know that even when we no longer feel the stream of peace, it doesn’t mean God’s stepped away. The pool doesn’t dry up. The spring doesn’t stop bubbling. The stream doesn’t run dry. God’s love leaves a lingering calm that can reign in our hearts when we feel anything but peaceful.
Where can you make space for Him to meet you today? While doing dishes, running errands, picking up toys, or having lunch in your cubicle? Wherever it is, whenever it is, He will show up.