Life is just hard sometimes, with days full of discouragement and burdens that weigh down your heart. There are moments in life when it seems there is always something or someone trying to steal your joy, to uproot the peace in your soul and plant instead the stirrings of turmoil.
You know those days...the ones that start out okay, only to be ruined by an argument with a friend or family member or maybe disturbing news from work. Perhaps what derails you on that day isn't a specific incident, but more of a general disquiet in your spirit--a whispering in your ear telling you that you are less-than, your work is sub-par, your life meaningless. It's a heaviness, with the enemy of your soul speaking lies and discouragement over you. Lies. Deceit. Heaviness. All part of a whole, a bigger picture where the enemy wants you to live and walk in defeat. I hate those moments and days. Joy-suckers. I refuse to wallow, to acquiesce and have found the way to overcome and rise above the lies so I can see more clearly what my Father has for me.
I found the answer while in my kitchen kneading bread on my counter, transforming a sticky mass of goo into a lovely, fragrant dough. It was one of those days. I felt the heaviness descending as the stresses of life became overwhelming, as grief for a friend saddened me, and worry burdened my heart. I began the 15-20 minute process of kneading dough, my heart full to bursting with a heaviness that began to spill out in tears. So much to say to my Father...too much. The repeating, the litany of woes and troubles seemed to me, on that day, to lend them credence and give them too much power. So I laid them down, set them aside to be dealt with later. I began to speak of things for which I am thankful, starting with a simple, "Father, thank you so much for this brand new day."
For 20 minutes, I spoke only words of thanksgiving, asking for nothing--just giving thanks. The heaviness, discouragement, doubt lifted and my heart found peace. I had found the key...a grateful heart.
A grateful heart lifts the burdens, dispelling the clouds that keep you from seeing the Father, reminding you of all that He has done and all that He promises to do. Here's the best part....remember those things that I laid down and set aside to deal with later? I looked around for them, only to find them missing. My Father had them in His hands, His more than able hands. I choose to leave them there. Leave Him your burdens, casting them on Him because He cares for you. Rest in the peace that comes from thanksgiving. Your Father loves you so.
Absolutely every single time I make bread, I see myself in the kneading. I talk to my Father God as I am adding flour to the goo--kneading and kneading until it is the beautiful ball of dough that will eventually be the loaves of bread that I pull out of the oven. Most days, I see myself as the "goo" but also visible to me are the ways God is kneading me into the woman He created me to be...always lovingly kneading, always forming.
Thank you, Father, for carrying my burdens, for holding my future, and for lifting the clouds so I can see you.