November 01, 2012
Confession: when I’m stressed, I bake.
Endless baking. No discrimination, it’s all manners of baked goods. Anything from chocolate chip cookies to Julia Child’s Chocolate Almond Cake (A personal achievement in her massive volumes on French Cooking). My long time best friend and roommate knows when I’m working stuff out because there will be a plate of pumpkin muffins on the counter for the taking.
Needless to say, there has been a lot of baking going on in my house. It’s the heat of the semester, I’ve got a Hebrew midterm in two days and I just turned out a batch of double chocolate fudge cupcakes with cream cheese icing. What’s funny about this is you’d think I’d be eating everything I’m baking, following in line with the female stereotype of “stress eating.” Not the case. I’m actually a really healthy eater. But being a recovering anorexic, I learned a long time ago that the certainty and preciseness in cooking was perfect for those weeks when I’m really feeling out of control.
That feeling is tough to handle, especially at night when I go to stand before a God who is bigger than time. A God who, for all intents and purposes, I have actually wrestled so much with over the years that if he does decide to bless me with kids someday, I planned to name my first son Jacob as a testament to his unfailing persistence in my life. There have been moments in my faith where I’ve just come through a hurricane of a situation and I’ve stood, with red-eyes and tear-streaked cheeks, and demanded he account for his actions because he certainly had to have disappeared. Because no God of Love that I serve could possibly allow for such human torment and agony.
But if there is anything that I’ve figured out about him, it’s that he’s so beautifully unpredictable. And I’m so glad.
I’m so glad that he is so big, and full of light that he overwhelms my dark, sad little perspective on things. I’m so glad that I’m not in charge of this tumultuous universe because when it goes “south” so to speak, I tend to believe that it stays that way. That it’s the end of the symphony instead of merely a transition into a crescendo.
But where there is gratitude, there is also a choice. It’s a choice that I knew in my head but hardly settled into my “heart-knowledge” until recently. Do I trust him? Do I believe, even when I don’t understand? Do I hold onto what he has told me and know that as I wade my way through this life I know, truly, that he will never, ever leave me?
Ashamedly, I admit there have been so many times where I have allowed darkness to settle in. I’ve allowed a happening, or even an outcome of a situation, to make me bitter and pull me away from God. I’ve gone into this numb-Christian mode where I tell everyone I’m great on the outside, but inside I’m aching.
But I had a sharp reminder recently of the reality of God’s presence at any point in my existence, that whatever has happened, it always could have been so much worse. Satan is looking for total annihilation and knows exactly what hurts me the most and how much it could take me down. After all this time, the fact that I’m breathing at all, points to a Presence so grand in scale that one often cannot say anything at all about him. The fact that I am still capable of giving and receiving love points to a Victory beyond measure.
He was there in the beginning. But don’t you dare try to predict him because he’ll blow you out of the water.
Kate Hightower is writing to you in the midst of her Master of Divinity pursuit at Gordon-Conwell—Jacksonville where she is also a Byington Scholar. She is a debilitatingly right-brained, born-in-the-wrong-century, introspective pseudo-nerd with passions that range anywhere from writing, to French cooking to Bob Dylan. These days she resides in Jacksonville with one mental foot in the GCTS Library downtown, and the other is beach-side with her Golden Retriever, Stella… the world's first dog superhero.