I have a combined total of 26 years of homemaking experience. Fourteen years as a wife, and 12 years as a mother. (Twenty-nine total years as a mother, if you consider I have children ages 12, 10 and 7.) One would think of this time I think to have things pretty well figured out. By now, I bought to be proficient in the kitchen and know how to manage my children quite well.
Why, with all this experience I should never make any mistakes. My days should all run smoothly and my life bought to be easy.
If you are a mom, I trust you can read the sarcasm in the words I have just written. But sometimes we feel that way, do not we? We feel as though we bought to be perfect. Yet, it just does not happen that way. Some days I think I will be doing well if I can survive to see another sunrise. And other days, when I think I have things under control, something inevitably happens to humble me and reminds me of my need to both give and receive grace.
Although I sometimes wish I was a perfect wife and mother, and I would like to "have it all together," I have learned to treasure these lessons which God sends my way. These lessons help me in surviving motherhood, and I believe they also help me in becoming the woman God wants me to be. One such lesson happened when I erred in the preparation of a favorite dinner.
I was preparing Pork Chops with Orange Rice , a meal I have made over and again for most of my married life. The recipe is so easy and so tasty I actually got it published in a cooking magazine a few years ago. Really. All you do is place rice in a casserole dish and pour orange juice over it. Place browned pork chops on top of the rice, pour chicken with rice soup over the whole thing, cover it and pop it in the oven. Simple, do not you think?
Too easy to mess up?
One would think so.
Especially when one has prepared this dish over 200 times.
One night, as I was bringing the dish to the table I noticed the edges looked a little dry. That happens sometimes, and when it does I just do not scoop around the edges. However, on this particular night as I looked a little closer at the dinner I was about to set on the table, I realized why the edges looked dry. I had forgotten to put the orange juice over the rice .
Aww. How could I have done that? This recipe was too simple to mess up. But, somehow, I had managed to forget a simple step.
My family was very gracious. Everyone avoided the rice as best as they could, and smiled politely as they spit out the crunchy portions. The pork chops were still good, and the rest of the meal was yummy. It was not a total loss. I still felt stupid for forgetting the orange juice, though. I mean, come on, I had been making that recipe for fourteen years!
When it was time for the kids to get ready for bed I directed Matthew, my youngest, to get into the shower and I started washing the dishes. Quite often, Matthew needs close supervision in order to complete his tasks. More than once, I have walked into the bathroom to check on his progress, only to find out he has not even started washing yet. He has just been standing under the running water. But on this night, much to my relief, he got the job done without much intervention.
I returned to the kitchen after checking on him and was only barely aware of what he was doing for the next several minutes. Then I realized Matthew was standing in the dining room, still dripping wet. I called out from the kitchen, "Matthew, how about drying off and getting into your pajamas?" He perked up and said, "Oh yeah!" With the tone of voice which said, So that's what I'm supposed to do when I get out of the shower. I'm supposed to use this towel Mom gave me to dry off. Then since I'm naked, I should put something on my body. And since it's bedtime, I might as well put put on pajamas. Yeah. This all makes sense now.
I noted his tone of voice and thought to myself, Matthew, you're almost seven years old. Getting ready for bed is not a new thing anymore. You know what to do.
Just then, I looked down at the dishes in the sink. Sitting right in front of me was the casserole dish. The one with dried rice stuck to it. I thought about that simple recipe I have been preparing for some fourteen years. The one that is too simple to mess up. I thought about the fact I had forgotten to put the orange juice into the Pork Chops with Orange Rice .
And I thought, Maybe I need to give Matthew a little more grace .