I’ve had something on my mind all day today and I was just waiting for a little time to myself so I could sit down and write a post about it. But, that will have to wait. Something else has transpired that has outrun that first thing in my brain, and now I just have to tell you about this other thing instead of the first thing. I just need to share it with somebody, and you’re it.
So, here goes.
Back during the Christmas holidays one of the beautiful older ladies at church gave me a Ziploc bag of Amish Friendship Bread “starter.” She was so excited about it. She beamed and clucked about all the different varieties she had made. Some with peaches, some with nuts, coconut, bananas, and anything else she had on hand. I could tell she had been having a blast playing around with this stuff. It sounded like all of her experiments were success stories.
The Ziploc bag of starter is mushy and stinky. It stays in that bag for 10 days and over those ten days there are certain days you’re supposed to add more ingredients to it. The days in between ingredient additions, you are supposed to knead the bag. On day 10, you mix in some more ingredients, then measure out 4 more starter bags to give your friends. After that, with the mixture that is left, you add yet even more ingredients and bake it.
And just so you know, to me, it’s not technically bread. It has a lot of sugar and pudding and stuff like that in it, so it is more like cake.
I am not a baker. The extent of my baking skills ends with canned biscuits and Martha White muffin mix packets. Scott is the real baker in my house, and he only bakes one cake per year – on my birthday. But, this woman’s joy was contagious so I took the Ziploc bag with gratitude and high hopes for that same kind of joy.
With all the holiday hoopla, I lost track where I was in the 10 days. I didn’t know if the ingredient adding day had passed or not. That will teach me to write things down. Maybe. I finally gave up and threw the bag in the garbage the day after New Year’s. I was a little embarrassed and defeated, but also somewhat secretly relieved. In the back of my mind I knew it would never bring me the joy it brought the woman who gave it to me. I hoped that she would lose track with all the holiday excitement too and forget to ask me about it.
No such luck.
She asked and I had to come clean about putting it in the garbage. She said she had plenty more and would bring me another starter bag. Which she did. Only this time she brought it to me on Day 9, so all I had to do was bake it the next day. She even said I could wait up to two days to bake it.
That was Sunday. Today is Tuesday. I HAD to bake it today. I had to stop by the grocery store on the way home to get oil and baking soda. After that, I scrambled home to get busy and git ‘er done. I wasn’t interested in having fun. I just wanted to finish the job so I could tell my friend that I had finally accomplished the deed.
In my haste, I was not careful about being neat and tidy. I kept thinking to myself, “I’ll clean it all up when I get this baby in the oven.” Which I did.
I washed the mixing bowls and measuring cups and wiped down the counter. Then I noticed a drip of batter on the lower cabinet, so I bent down to reach it. Once I bent down, I noticed some flour on the floor. I got down on my knees with a Clorox wipe to get the flour up off the floor.
As I knelt there on my knees I saw a few coffee grounds specks that didn’t make it into the pot, fell to the floor and were collecting in the corner. On my knees, I saw a dried up drip of who-knows-what staining the white cabinet door under my sink. On my knees, I noticed all the tiny crumbs on my floor I couldn’t see when I was standing upright. On my knees, I saw the dust and dirt on the baseboards under the cabinets. On my knees, I saw the nasty dirt stains on my floor.
On my knees.
That’s when it dawned on me. Sometimes it takes getting on my knees to really see my own dirt clearly. All the stuff that’s messed up about my life, all the bad choices I’ve made, the responsibilities and opportunities I’ve ignored, my personal failures due to my own stupidity, all the stuff I want to hide - - when I get on my knees before Jesus, He shows me these things more clearly than ever before. He points these things out to me to give me perspective. He brings them to my attention to remind me that the only thing I need to do about them is to admit they are mine. Then give them to Him.
When I get on my knees before Jesus my perspective changes. I see things a little more like He does. Not only do I see how big my pile of dirt is, I also see that great big pile as somewhat of a measurement of the forgiveness He has for me.
I can’t see it that clearly when I’m standing on my own two feet.
Only on my knees.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11