One bite and tears welled in my eyes. It wasn’t hers but it was the best I could do. As tears streamed down, memories flooded back. Not just the taste of Mom’s Thanksgiving stuffing, but of God’s never ending presence. Amid illness, loss, and Mom’s stuffing, one thing was constant: God.
We buried both Mom and Grandma the month earlier. The two most loved and influential women in my life were gone within weeks of each other. It felt like too much to bear. I wasn’t feeling very thankful, but Thanksgiving and twenty family members were coming. I needed comfort and if I couldn’t have Mom, maybe I could have her stuffing.
It was a recipe always made but never written down. Recording family recipes wasn’t on the priority list in the haste of illness. But as I clumsily attempted to recreate Mom’s (originally Grandma’s) stuffing, I wished it would have been. Pushing this from my mind, I tried to recall the recipe. I had seen her make it dozens of times. Think.
One by one, little tips and ingredients came to me. The specific rolls cut into cubes to dry. The milk, apples, onions, butter and seasonings. Mix and taste. It needed more of this, a bit of that. Then, I took that bite. They were right there with me. But it wasn’t just Mom and Grandma; God was in the stuffing.
In one bite, God gently revealed how He carried us through their illnesses and current grief. He was always there and not leaving now. In my least thankful place, God was there.
Memories are amazing. They are tied directly to tastes, smells, and sounds, especially when linked with a strong emotion. Struggling to be a hostess and control my emotions, my taste memories didn’t fail me and neither did God. When it felt like everything was falling apart, God gave me comfort in the stuffing.
Maybe you’ve felt what seemed like inconsolable grief or pain. Please know deep in your soul God is with you. He never leaves, even if we leave Him. His presence is ever present.
Our children were young when Mom and Grandma died. They will never remember their stuffing. But they remember mine, crafted from memories. That Thanksgiving was over ten years ago and stuffing has a new place in our memories. While just a side dish, it represents so much more. For me, it’s a reminder of Mom, Grandma and God’s presence. For our children, it embodies love and home.
In the jumble of raw emotions, God showed up in the stuffing. He gave me physical comfort and a food memory our family now treasures. God was always present; guiding, carrying and comforting me, even in my least thankful place.
If you need to feel God today, open your eyes, ears, and even your mouth to taste His presence. I pray you’ll recognize He’s with you. Maybe even in the stuffing.
“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:20 (NLT)
Linking up with Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Deb Wolf at #FaithnFriends and Kelly Smith #FridayFive and Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart