I am ashamed to say this, but transparency is my goal, so here goes:
My family is Jamaican and, until 4yrs ago, I could not cook.
Yes. I am a Jamerican (Jamaican-American) who did not learn how to cook until I was in my late 20s. My excuse? My mom was always there to cook plus I was the baby of my family so there were other people who cooked.
I am proud to say that now that I’m in my 30s, I can cook (still no full Jamaican meals but I’m making progress) and I can bake. Thank God for the deliverance!
While I can make some good meals, I just love the baking process. It’s just something about prepping an item, putting it in the oven, and watching it develop into a delectable dessert that just makes me happy. I didn’t always eat what I baked; instead I would just make random things and then text friends and family and tell them to come over for some yummies. My favorite dessert to make is this one particular chocolate cake recipe (ingredients below). This cake is rich enough that I normally would not add icing/frosting, instead I might just add powdered sugar for visual effects. Plus the addition of water makes it so unbelievably moist! Whenever the mood would strike, I would walk into the pantry and pull out the ingredients so that I could make my favorite sweet treat.
One Bowl Chocolate Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour baking pan(s).
- In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups white sugar, 1 3/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Add 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in 1 cup boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pan(s).
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the recipe doesn’t specify this, I learned early in baking that flour needs to be sifted prior to adding it to the the remainder of ingredients so that there are no unwanted lumps. As a habit, I pull out my makeshift sifter and pour the flour into that device and then shake so that the flour is pure and lump-free.
As I think about the overall act of sifting flour, I realize that this is the stage of life that I am in right now. I am in the “sifting phase.” I am in the part of my life where God is shaking and rattling me so that I can come out in my purest form. Much like sifting flour prior to baking a cake, I must go through this process so that I can remove the things (and people) that will hinder my growth.
The sifting phase…
While I had decided that 2017 would be my year to work on my relationship with God, something changed in January and I had decided to fully, and without hesitation, commit to God. I had decided that it was either His way or no way at all. I just wanted Him. The issue was, it wasn’t just Him. I was still clinging to people, thoughts, places, and ways from the past. I had not fully surrendered to Him.
One day I could feel some resistance on my part and I asked God to remove the people and things that were keeping me from Him. Be careful what you pray for… Very quickly, those obstacles started to move out of my life. The “relationship” that I was in ended before it even really began, two cars slammed into the back of mine, and my tolerance towards certain matters shifted. It was as though God was just waiting for me to want to change so that I could grow.
It was always God’s plan for His children to be with Him. He gives us freewill in the hopes that we will come back to Him with the same loving heart that His has towards us. During our lives we encounter so many situations that undoubtedly change us as people. Some situations make us stronger; others may make us more loving. Conversely, some situations may make us colder and more closed-off. When we finally decide to give our EVERYTHINGs (you know, our issues, hurts, pains, disappointments, sadness, etc.) over to God, we have to go through a phase where He begins to remove the things that will prevent us from growing.
Flour sifting smoothes out the flour and allows the cake to bake thoroughly and evenly.
God’s process of sifting our lives prepares us for the journey that His has in store for us.
My favorite part of baking is tasting the finished product. I relish the moment when I get to enjoy all of the hard work that I have put in up until that point. And so does God. He wants you at that “finished product” part of life. That part that happens after the breaking of old habits (cracking eggs), the removal of unwanted baggage (sifting flour), the addition of unexpected situations (the milk), and the test of time (the baking itself)- that’s where the JOY dwells! Today I dare you to let God SIFT your life. Let Him shake things up for the better. He is a Master Chef and is able to do ALL things…and do them well!
Pray with me…
I humbly come to You today, realizing that I am not perfect, but asking for another chance. Today I trade all of my burdens and concerns for the peace that only You can provide. SIFT my life, Lord, and allow only Your divinity and purity to remain. Remove the things and people that separate me from You and Your will. Please continue to guide my steps as I walk in Your strength. It is in the matchless name of Jesus Christ that I humbly pray, Amen.
*Yes, that was a actual cake that I baked…in my Pre-Vegan days!*