The Sweet Aroma of Mom in the Kitchen
As a little girl, I can still remember the smell of frying bacon and coffee on Saturday mornings at my house. These comforting aromas meant that mom was up and already in the kitchen. If I could manage to sleepily find my way to our cozy yellow family room, I knew that just beyond that, I would see my mom there with a sweet look on her face, moving slowly around our kitchen. As she spotted me she would give me a little smile and say quietly, “Good morning Mary Sunshine!” I would smile back, “Morning, Mom.” I remember the flowered wallpaper of our kitchen, her green velour robe and her fluffy green slippers shuffling around on the linoleum.
But what I remember most is how much I enjoyed my mom’s peaceful and gracious presence in the kitchen.
I’ve learned so many things from my mom. But I think her example of joy (and hard work!) in our kitchen is one of the most powerful and lasting things she modeled for me. How precious is the legacy of a mom, happy and settled in her role of serving her family. How rare!
Somehow, we all know the difference between authentic devotion and duty. When someone serves you out of a heart full of love, there is a gentle peace in the room. The focus is on the people. How infinitely different is the tone when someone serves you out of duty. I think this disposition of joy and humility is where the secret of my mom’s precious legacy lies. It’s no wonder that our God smiles on this kind of sincere servanthood. (Luke 22:27, Eph 6:6-8)
Instead of feeling that her duties were a chore, I always felt like my mom was glad to be there for us. I think she knew that she was serving us so much more than food in our kitchen. She was dishing up security and love to her world-weary family. What a precious gift.
How I want to emulate her example of joyful service! Out of all of the things I give myself to, I want my family and the story in my kitchen to be the best one I tell. The apostle Paul talked about the priority of ministering to the needs of our own family first. (1 Tim 5:8) When my children look back on the striving, joys and struggles of their childhood, I want to ensure that my solid devotion to their well-being comes to mind.
I have really grown in my love for my kitchen. It is a place of cooking, baking and doing simple crafts. It’s a place of visiting, encouraging, sharing…and has often been a place of bathing babies in the sink! It’s a place of counsel and tears and learning to work things out. It’s a place of service and humility. It’s a place where, if my heart is in the right place, seemingly mundane routines can turn into opportunities to reach the heart strings of my husband and children. I’ve learned that, if I am intentional, I can present the love and tenderness of Christ on those kitchen counters more than anywhere else in my home!
It wasn’t always this way. To be honest, in my early years of marriage, I did not love my kitchen. In fact, I spent a lot of energy working on my puppy dog – “I’m too exhausted to cook!”- eyes, to coax my husband into eating out. Over the years, however, I saw the need for my service (as in,”Mom, I’m hungry!” ) and how desperately my family needed a peaceful place to gather. I couldn’t get away from the fact that I had an indispensible role in the kitchen. I could choose to ignore that fact or to embrace it.
After some wrestling, and with God’s help, I chose the latter. As I began to embrace the beauty of working and serving my family well in the kitchen, I discovered that there was so much more to it than just cooking!
When I lifted my thoughts to consider all of the five of the senses God has blessed us with, my creativity soared. I began to practice simple routines like lighting a candle and putting on soft music. I sought out friends who really knew how to cook and set my mind on learning! I worked on cultivating a spirit of contentment and became aware of the look on my face as I worked. Very soon, I realized that in that kitchen, I set the tone for our entire home. Beyond that, I realized that my very presence there did so much to steady the ever-changing emotional needs and dynamics of our family.
This shift in my thinking about the value of my role in the kitchen – and my decision to embrace it – has forever changed our family. I now thank God for the gift of my kitchen and the privilege of serving my family there.
So mom, get out those pots and pans and be faithful! I don’t care if it sounds old-fashioned! Embrace your kitchen! Make it a gracious gathering place of wonderful aromas, colorful, nutritious food and beauty. You will be amazed at the way your whole family is drawn to this wonderful hub of your home, a place where every grateful member of your family will be so very blessed – by you!
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
- Proverbs 31:27-30
- What are my strengths in the kitchen? How can I grow in this crucial area of love and service?
- Tonight, light a candle, put on some soft, instrumental music and take some time with dinner. Teach your child to do a simple craft while you cook. If you’re too busy to cook, stop and consider what might be an unnecessary activity in your afternoon.