Thursday February 8, 2007

Do you have the perfect kitchen?  No?  Neither do I.  My guess is that most of us don’t.  You may be the rare exception, but for must of us the ideal kitchen will remain forever in our dreams.  It’s fun to dream about the possibilities, of course; and I don’t think there’s really any harm in that, so long as you don’t dwell upon the dream.  In The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs said, “The way to be rich is not by increasing wealth, but by diminishing our desires.”.  Dream if you will, but what you must do is learn to work with what you’ve got.

The devil is a liar.  He will tell you that you cannot be expected to prepare meals for your family with that broken stove.  He will tell you that you cannot bake your own bread (or cakes, or cookies, or pies) because you lack adequate counter space.  He will tell you (oh, he’s crafty!) that you cannot possibly practice hospitality because your kitchen is___________ (you fill in the blank!).  I know most of these lies firsthand, because at one time or another I believed them.

When we moved into this house in 1998, the oven did not work.  Not only did it not work, but the timer on the stove beeped all sorts of confusing error messages to us 24/7.  Since our master bedroom is right off of the kitchen, Copper had to go out each and every night and throw the breaker for the stove so that we could sleep!  It would have been easy to believe that I couldn’t prepare meals for my family on just the stove top.  My girls and I, though, became quite creative at using just the stove top to fix all sorts of meals.

For the longest while, I could not figure out how to do my normal baking in this house.  I have what appears to be a lot of counter space, but it is not anywhere near the oven or the sink.  Because I knew that it was a lie that I could not be expected to bake with such limited counter space, I persevered (grumbling and complaining all the while, mind you (Philippians 2:14)).   Finally, when I STOPPED grumbling and complaining and began to work in my kitchen cheerfully, as unto the Lord, solutions started coming to mind (praise be to God!).  Daniel Defoe said this well in Robinson Crusoe,  “All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.”.

Fortunately, the lie about hospitality did not find its way into our home!!  For many years we were part of a home church that met for six months of every year in our home.  The families would all bring their own lunches, but everyone would bring full meals to be shared for the evening.  My refrigerators were full of all sorts of yummy salads, side dishes and desserts, which we creatively stacked to make fit.  There were frequently multiple dishes to go into my one oven.  My one long counter was filled every Sunday with quite an array of crock pots!!!  The ladies would stumble and trip over one another in my kitchen, because it has such a poor traffic flow;  but we laughed and talked and worked and didn’t really seem to notice (other than the constant utterances of, “Oh, excuse me!”, “I’m sorry, did I step on your foot?” and “Ooops!”, accompanied by that natural commodity the feminine giggle!).

I thought it might be fun to share with you a bit over the next few days how I’ve learned to live with my less than perfect kitchen. Since we are all different, and I’m sure that our kitchens are all different, my ideas for being content in the kitchen might not be anything that you can apply, idea for idea.  However, maybe something that I’ve learned will inspire you to look for a similar solution in your own kitchen.  The first post will be tomorrow.

Note: I would heartily suggest that if you have never read Jeremiah Burroughs’ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment that you obtain a copy and read it through. This book was life changing for me.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

Remember to pray for Karen!

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14 comments to Thursday February 8, 2007

  • What a wonderful idea, Copperswife! I’m really looking foward to your posts! I do not have a perfect kitchen either. First of all, it is small but I tell people to squeeze in and make themselves cozy. :0) My oven is from the 70’s and very small, I have had to have Phillip bend the edges of cookie sheets to fit them in…LOL I could go on but you get the idea! :0)

    Kelli

  • I have that book on my shelves, I need to pull it down and read it! Since I have lived in military housing most of my married life, less than ideal kitchens are the norm! I am looking forward to reading your posts!

    Love, heather

    http://www.stevensrib.blogspot.com

  • Oh, I’m looking forward to this!  I have the biggest and best kitchen I’ve ever had . . . except for the stove and fridge!  I have plenty of counter space and cabinets, and the kitchen is laid out well, but my appliances are apartment-sized.  We live in a townhouse/apartment complex, and they built all the kitchens the same I guess, so that only a small stove and fridge will fit.  I’m constantly fighting with both of these appliances because their size is so frustrating.  All that to say . . . I need to learn contentment and I am looking forward to what you have to say.

  • I’m really looking forward to these posts because I have such a teeny tiny kitchen.  I absolutely love cooking and baking but I admit I get frustrated because of the lack of counter space and cupboard space.  I will make a note of that book and get it the next library trip.

  • I lived for six months once without a stove at all–I had a crockpot, toaster oven, “hot-pot” thing, and an electric frypan. I could bake six cookies at a time in the toaster oven, and could bake a cake in the frypan, which also boiled water for mac-n-cheese.

    An adventure, but I’m glad to have had it. Thank you for sharing this series!

  • Fortunately for me, God, in His wisdom, decided to give me some perspective. When I was 8 months pregnant with our 4th baby (I has a 3,2,and 1 yo) we had to move into a motel – one of those pay by the week kind. So my kitchen was suddenly the top of a dresser and the bathtub for a sink. I had a rice cooker, crockpot, and microwave… any kitchen at all is better than that!
    No fridge – I had to run to the store every night when husband dear came home, buy food for the next day, and keep the meat in the ice bucket. But you can make darn near ANYTHING in a crockpot I found out! And rice cookers make excellent brownies and cobblers.
    Mama Says

  • Thank you so much for this wonderful post!I definitely want to read that book-contentment is something I can always use more of! My kitchen is itty-bitty, so I know what you’re talking about here! I’m looking forward to your next posts on this. We do house church currently and the last 2 weeks we’ve hosted it here. It’s tight and the whole house, especially doorways, are single file traffic only, but no one (but me) seems to mind it.:-)

  • Thanks for sharing — great thoughts! 🙂

  • Thanks!  We all need a little reminder to be content occasionally!  And thank you especially for the encouragement about hospitality–that’s something that a lot of people stumble over, I think!  I for one haven’t had company in ages, but my daughter is having a Valentine’s party next week, so I’ll have to get back on track.

  • Thank you! I just found your site through likemerchantships blog and I’m hooked.You remind me so much of my dear friends and mentors from our home church network in New Orleans (pre-Katrina). I would love to hear more about the home church thing. We are now in South Carolina and loving it, but missing the home church thing quite a bit. It’s like the family you and God chose together. I will be anxiously awaiting more on your kitchen and contentment. Definitely going to look in on that book. Right up me and my husband’s alley. ghyoung@blogspot.com

  • Just thought I’d let you know that I found the book by Jeremiah buroughs for free at http://www.bibleteacher.org/jbcontent1.htm.  I love finding books online for free 🙂

  • I USED to have the perfect kitchen!!! (well the WINDOW wasn’t perfect, I got snowed on whenever I did dishes in the winter :yes:) We lived in an old falling down farm house for a year, and ohhhhhhhhh that KITCHEN!! I miss it I MISS IT!!! The next house had a fabulous kitchen too! This one, not so much LOL. I only read the first paragraph of this so now I’m back to read the rest LOL :giggle:

  • Cool so I’m NOT the only one who finds the most UNconventional ways to extend space! (I mean really, who says you can’t keep your BIG post in the bathroom or your pots and pans in the broken dishwasher! And if you cover a toy oven with a pretty doily it makes a fine stand for your small appliences 😉

  • Dear coppers wife,

    I wanted to thank you for this article. :heartbeat: It really makes my heart melt. I too have been guilty of not being joyful enough with the kitchen I’ve been blessed with and afraid to share my hospitality becuase of it. A few weeks ago my d.h.’s co-worker started eating supper over our house each night. Then he and his wife got back together praise the lord and she eats over each night too! :sunny: These 2 people don’t care that my stove is harvest gold from the 1970’s or that there are only 4 chairs at the table. They feel welcomed and thankful the Lord has provded a meal for them. :spinning: