We have a funny relationship with food in our household - it's one I have carefully nurtured and intend to keep in place until I am convicted that it needs adjustment. It's sort of an subtle training program that forces us not to fall into mindless eating habits and a attitude of entitlement. It is easy(I have done it) to assume that we need to eat as much, as often and as particularly as our hearts desire. I don't think it works for me or my kiddos to have everything we want immediately at my fingertips - or as close as the store - we become quickly jaded and forget to give thanks and reflection toward how and whom all blessings flow from.
Not that I am making my family go hungry. But I have created a natural system of plenty where the pantry and refrigerator are full twice a month and then reduced to almost empty before we refill it. Empty enough to wipe down the produce bins under the counters and the shelves in the refrigerator. Empty enough to feel the pinch of having to be creative with meals and thinking and not go for the simple and the quick. The sort of thing that makes us wonder how to stretch one pound of beef or a pack of chicken legs to feed 13....
When I go shopping for the 'big' run we should be out of all the basic perishables - and may have been for several days. Teaching our family that it's OK to be out of eggs or milk or cheese or bread or fruit has allowed us to be more flexible - and because of that we save a lot of money by not making those 'quick trips' to grab the one thing we are out of...and the ten other things we were tempted to buy.
It's a healthy cycle for us and extends into our freezers as well. Currently we are at the end of a cycle. It's amazing to see the 'meat' freezer that in August was filled to overflowing with chicken from the Target freezer disaster and in October beef from friends who shared out of their bounty is now empty except for six beautiful pans of blackberry cobbler stashed away when berries were five dollars a case this summer.
When I open the door to wipe it down today I will smile - I am smiling already - because watching the ebb and flow of food reminds me that like many things in life this isn't static - not me simply filling and providing for my family - it's God. And the emptiness isn't a bad thing - I don't need to panic or rush out to fill it because God knows what our needs are and there is already a plan in place for meeting them. Not in a limp 'it's not my problem- I can't do it' sort of way - but in a trusting 'I know who is really in control of it- and I trust Him' attitude.
This week I have the four last things from the meat freezer to cook and I am looking forward to it - one small pork roast, five hamburger patties and two ziplocks of diced pork with some sort of seasoning I forgot to label in the fall.
Isn't it great that my freezer is empty?
Isn't it better that that emptiness makes me happy?
There is already a promise of it being filled - in God's good time - again. Our friends have offered to share another steer with us - amazing in the timing - God ordained in the offer as it paralleled the strange medical event I experienced earlier this month. (still no new news on that one - hopefully more next week as I meet with the vascular neurologists.) Just enough though to whisper a reminder into my heart 'don't worry about what you should eat....I have that covered...as well as the medical things.'
Blessings this Saturday - as I give thanks and mix the mystery pork into our rice and beans I will be smiling at the amazing provision and love of the one who really takes care of my family - and yours.
(Please Note: Our children are not going to bed hungry as some sort of weird lesson in God's provision. No. We are working to teach them to think about food in healthy ways - not needing to hoard or fear or over indulge. Simply to think about it for what it is - and where it really comes from. There is always plenty of food in our house - it just isn't the 'quick and easy and tasty' things that we tend toward when we are not paying attention or are living in crisis. :)
(Even More Important Note: None of our children has come out of a situation where food was an issue. They have not been traumatized by hunger or the fear of where their next meal was coming from - if they had we would be dealing with a whole different set of issues.)