Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Family Soup

Bedtime is always interesting around our house. I've learned to start putting kids in their beds at least 15 minutes before I actually want the lights out. There are always 100 last minute things that they just have to say, do, etc. You moms know what I mean. I'll give you an example of what happens at our house:

One particular night, as I was tucking my three-year-old into bed, I made the casual comment that when God stirred up our family soup, he put mostly Papaw ingredients into him. He has my dad's smile complete with dimples and his build and methodical questioning of any activity before gingerly stepping into it. Granted, he does have my husband's blond hair to top it all off and a bit of my stubbornness, but he is Papaw's boy for sure.

The idea of soup intrigued the older kids or at least offered them a new stalling technique.

"Hey, Mom! What kind of soup are we?"
"What kind of soup is our family soup?"
"Hmmm....what do you think we are?"

I really had never thought of us as a culinary delight before. Everyone started naming their favorite soups, but we finally decided on chili because of its diversity of ingredients. Thinking that my mission was accomplished, I started to leave the room; however, they weren't done.

Chili and Salad
"Which ingredient is Daddy?"
I have occasionally compared my darling to foods classified as desserts (y'know....Honey, Sweetie, Cupcake---no wait, that's what he called me). However, classifying my husband as a soup ingredient was a new idea even for my out-of-the-box thinking style. 

"Um....he's probably the meat. We need meat to help us be strong and Daddy is strong. He's the main ingredient. Chili wouldn't be chili without the meat."

"What are you, Mommy?" another kid chimed in.
"Well......I like to think I'm the tomato sauce that kind of fills in around everyone else and gives a base to the family soup."
My creativity was seriously waning at 9:00, but that seemed to satisfy them. Of course, now they just couldn't give up the idea.

"But what am I in the soup, Mom?"This from my oldest. The one who gets easily offended. How am I supposed to compare her to a chili ingredient without hurting her feelings?

"I think you would be the onions," I finally decided. "They can be a little strong like the personality God gave you, but when you cook them in the chili with lots of love, they add a lot of flavor and would be greatly missed if they weren't there."

That seemed to satisfy her. But, then, the three-year-old who had innocently started this whole discussion, had to know what he would be. I actually couldn't remember what else was in chili at this point, but I know that we Selfs put cheese on everything.

"You would be the cheese!" I said, trying to sound excited.  "You just melt into the soup and made it all extra delicious."

As I was racking my brain trying to answer my second child's question about his place in the family soup, I heard crying. I turned around to see my three-year-old sobbing, "But I don't want to melt! I wanted to be the onions!"

So much for a hypothetical object lesson.

As silly as our little bedtime make-believe session was, it is true that every family is unique. We all add different sweetness or spiciness to the family, and someone needs to be the stronger ingredient while someone else gives subtle flavor in the background.

The truth is, we are the raw ingredients created by God. Yet, how we "taste" is largely dependent on how we "cook" our soup. A pile of raw meat, onions and a couple of cans of tomato sauce aren't particularly appetizing. However, when we let God blend us and apply a little heat, we can become the family He wants us to be.

Gary's soup from Thanksgiving turkey leftovers
When people of the world come in from the cold harshness of the weather of sin, will they find our soup comforting and warming? Or will they be turned off by ingredients that have refused to yield to the simmering process of God's Word?

Just a little object lesson concocted for you by our own little chefs. Crackers, anyone?

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