Monday, April 27, 2015

Mac and cheese theology

Remember the Bible story about Elijah where he was running from Jezebel, hiding in a cave, when all of the sudden he hears a voice tell him,
 “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
So Elijah goes and he waits. A wind comes and shatters the rocks, but no God. An earthquake shows up, but no God. Fire, but no God. Finally, comes a whisper and in that whisper, who shows up, but God.

My whole life I've thought that this story meant that if I wanted to hear God I needed to be quiet. I needed to "Be still and know that He is God." I needed to stop waiting for God to send me a billboard and be content for a still small voice to nudge my spirit.

I think maybe I got it wrong.

Because today, I'm pretty sure God spoke to me through mac and cheese.

I know what you're thinking. How good was that mac and cheese? Let me stop you right there, it was pretty amazing, but the fact that I poured two entire bags of shredded cheese into one pan of melty goodness did not cause the spiritual awaking.

Like Elijah, my last few weeks have been a mix of running for my life and hiding in a cave. It seems odd that in this day and age one can do both, but the fact that I work from home actually uniquely suits me for such a task.

My friends and frequent readers know that my health is a;ways somewhat of an enigma, but my body decided to kick its defiance into high gear three weeks ago with what we thought was the stomach flu, until ten days and ten pounds later when I still couldn't keep food down. My doctor was sure it was my gallbladder and sent me for an immediate sonogram. Gallbladders are irritating, but seem to be a somewhat useless and easy to fix, so I wasn't worried. A sonogram, MRI, and what I can only describe as a two hour long CAT scan where I got to watch 60 pictures of most of my organs, have all showed that my gallbladder is a-okay. Unfortunately, I'm still having all the symptoms that every doctor, nurse, and man on the street are sure indicate that my gallbladder is not a-okay.

We are among the fortunate that have health insurance, and I feel extremely blessed to be in this group. And once we reach that $7500 deductible, I am sure they will practically be giving away things like sonograms, MRI's and two hour CAT scans.  But right up until that $7500 deductible, they are a bit pricey.

Oh yeah, this week, I leave the comfort of a monthly paycheck.

At the beginning of the year, God was nudging me to cut back on work, spend more time with my family, and finish my book (coming soon, pre-order yours today! Just kidding mom, you can't order it yet, please don't try). I wasn't ready to give up the security of a monthly paycheck. God and I had a heart to heart, and as happens very frequently with these talks, God didn't speak as loudly or convincingly as I did, and I won. He should definitely consider using the earthquake, although I'm sure I could have found a way to argue against that as well.

Fast-forward to this week, last paycheck on the way, handing my credit card over for a new $300 medical bill every two days, still in pain, and praying that the food I eat doesn't come right back up and every meal.

Replace the word "cave" with "bedroom" and "Jezebel" with "reality" and I'm pretty much a modern day Elijah who is running from reality and hiding in my queen size bed.

At times like this, the good Christian in me knows that I should open up my Bible and seek God's face. I should crank up the praise and worship and get in my prayer closet on my knees. But I'm sad and I'm hungry and nauseous (I don't even know how this is possible, but it has been my constant state of being for the last three weeks), and I think I might fall over if I stand up from a kneeling position because of low blood sugar. Plus, and I can't state this enough, I really don't want to and watching Netflix is so much easier. I convince myself that if he had the option, Elijah probably would have watched Netflix to distract himself from being hunted by a crazy murderous queen.

After church yesterday, I crawl into bed with my husband and put my head on his shoulder.  We are both weary from our last month. And it isn't just this month. We've buried three grandparents and two family friends this year and we recently received more news that is devastating to our family. I rest my head on his chest and both of us sigh with the understanding that we need a break from our lives. Just a little while.

I hear the alert on my phone that tells me I have a text message. I pick it up and it is the bank telling me that a $224 charge from Costco has cleared. I contemplate not telling Richie, because even though neither one of us wants to admit it, finances are stressing us out. While my phone is in my hand, I check my email, which I have been trying not to do on Sundays.

But there it is.An e-mail from God.  His name isn't in the subject line nor is he listed as the sender. It is an offer to consult on a project from a colleague. Nothing big. Not a steady gig. Certainly nothing to replace the paycheck I am losing.

I put my phone down and tears stream down my face, which these days in our house is not a good sign. Richie was instantly concerned, so I explain that God had just sent me an email.

"We are going to be fine," I tell him.  "I've been so concerned about finances. I know that stopping this job is absolutely the right thing to do and that God is going to provide. He does every single time, but every time we've paid a medical bill, I've just freaked out. And then, all the sudden, right when I needed it, God sent this email, and I knew that everything was going to be okay."

Yep, this is the actual pan of mac and cheese!
Fast forward to ten o'clock this morning when, for the first time in a month, I am hungry.  I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you haven't been able to eat and every kind of food, even chocolate cake, makes you sick, trust me, it is a big deal. And at ten in the morning, I can think of nothing except my grandma's mac and cheese. So at ten o' clock in the morning I make a giant pan of mac and cheese and proceeded to eat a big old bowl of it. And for the first time in a month, I don't get sick.


One of the people we lost last year was my best friend's husband. She continues to amaze me by how much she places her faith in God in a million ways every day. Some days when she is having doubts I remind her that God didn't bring her this far to let her fail.

Today, God reminded me of that. And I swear to you He whispered it right through that mac and cheese.

He didn't bring me to the top of this mountain to push me off. He brought me here to show me the sun. So even though it is rainy and dreary outside, tonight I am going to eat another big old bowl of mac and cheese and I am going to soak in the sun.

I invite you to do the same. Because caves are okay, but mac and cheese is way better.