To you dear Kitchen Ladies:
There is a place where the rubber of the Gospel meets the road of real life. And for us ladies, it is down in the church kitchen.
It is there that I have seen firsthand how to extend grace to the undeserving, love the unlovely, and forgive the friend who stabbed you in the back. These kitchen ladies have hearts that have been through the battle of selfishness and have come out bending in beautiful submission. I have watched women who have had to suffer through their husband’s unfaithfulness, yet they have shown a heart that is so willing to forgive that it puts me to shame. Some ladies are asked to care for a family member day in and day out without them saying thank you, without anyone saying thank you, and yet they do it cheerfully.
These kitchen ladies have not only stood by their husbands when they get that promotion at work or are praised by fellow brothers in the church, but they have been the pillar of strength on which the same husband leans on when finances get so tight you can’t breathe or criticism seems to come from every side.
Their job description is to be the glue that holds both the family and the church together. And they do it exceptionally well. Even when critics are pointing their fingers, these ladies go on doing their work with willingness, fervor, and grace.
These elite kitchen ladies come with many titles: food committee, preacher’s wife, sewing circle, trustee’s wife, Sunday School teacher, and many more. But I think if there is one job that seems the lowliest of all and gets the least amount of praise, it is the teacher of the preschool Sunday School class. She puts up with everybody else’s kids, yet she has such a heart for them that to her it is a joy. They are souls with worth beyond measure and she takes her job seriously to see that they learn of the Jesus who loves them, for the Bible tells them so. This kitchen lady has truly learned how to bloom where she is planted and what her hand finds to do, to do it with her might.
It is the spirit of these ladies, and not their jobs, which inspire me the most. One lady is so good at cooking for large crowds that I’m pretty sure she could plan a meal for 300 people in her sleep, and then get up and cook it with such a willing, cheerful spirit that nobody knew she was functioning on only four hours of sleep due to health problems. Another lady I know has traveled with her husband and two children over many miles in order to pay bills and put food on the table in these hard times. And she has done it all without a word of complaint.
Then there are the kitchen ladies who have borne with fortitude the heavy burden of losing a husband or child, not only in death, but in some cases to the world. They have borne disappointments that only a few can understand, yet they have come out shining like precious jewels. And let’s not forget those ladies of strength who have to live every moment with pain or some ailment, yet they do so with the grace and dignity befitting a queen.
These kitchen ladies are my heroes. When I grow up, I want to be just like them. They have shown me how to have perseverance when the task seems too large, how to love my husband and children with unselfish love, how to have joy when everything in me wants to complain, and how to forgive when it’s the very last thing I feel like doing.
They are ladies worthy of praise, yet they don’t ask for it.
But today . . . I say thank you.
Just a wanna-be Kitchen Lady
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