While my mom didn't master bread making like my grandmother, she could make some of the best sweet dinner rolls. Just looking at the picture above I can taste them in my mouth now. If you've never been blessed to smell freshly baked bread, you've missed out, my friend. I tampered around in the kitchen and could duplicate my mom's rolls, but never quite nailed my grandma's bread. I tried many recipes and many variations and finally decided that her love must have been a secret ingredient that I can't add in the same proportion since she's now passed away over 3 years ago.
Why all the fuss about bread? Because I miss it. I miss it more than I want to admit. Some days it feels more like I'm missing a friend than a food, and that is a sad state to be in. I miss the convenience of having a sandwich when I'm in a hurry for a bite to eat, and I miss the privilege of having a bun with my hamburgers and hot dogs. More than that, I miss what bread reminds me of- sweet childhood memories of warmth and comfort.
Why not just have some bread then, you ask? Because of how much I love my dear child, now almost 3 months old. He is so precious, and like any good parent, I will endure whatever necessary to keep him from any harm. He is allergic to wheat, oats, barley, dairy and egg. And he is nursing. So, for the next (at least nine) months, I am eating a diet free of all traces of those foods.
I had said the prayer hoping for results, but not thinking much about the process, like many of us do at times. I was working on improving my self control in areas of life, such as time management and when to (okay when NOT to) open my mouth. God knows me all too well. He taught me about opening my mouth all right. My son was nursing and had hives and inconsolable screaming fits. Turned out to be a dairy allergy (not to be confused with lactose intolerance). The choices were to eliminate every trace of dairy from my diet and keep breastfeeding, or continue to eat what I normally did and put my baby on formula. I understand there are reasons that individuals may need or want to use formula, and that's their decision to make. For me, personally, I love nursing. I love how healthy it is for my child, I love the intimate bonding time it allows for, I love how convenient it is with no bottles to clean and sanitize, a I love how cheap it is on our budget, just to name a few . . .
So, I eliminated all dairy from my diet. In hindsight, the first three weeks were definitely the hardest. I didn't know what to make, how to make, and I spent most of my time thinking about all the things I couldn't have. After the three week mark, I began to figure out substitutions and options, but I was still definitely pouting when I made home made pizza and left one side cheese-free for myself. Watching the strings of hot cheese hang as my other family members dished up one of my (previously) favorite foods was an open invitation for a pity party in my mind.
Now, with my youngest having issues with so many more foods, going off dairy looked like a walk in the park compared to going gluten free. (I also failed to mention that every time I nurse, I can't eat bananas, oranges, cabbage, and a whole list of other foods because they cause severe gas pains in my babies? Yeah, there's that too.) I have so much respect for the gluten-free ladies and gents out there. I may only be walking in your shoes for a short time (or maybe long-term), but I can say I relate to the frustrations of trying to eat out and even just trying to plan meals at this point.
I knew it was bad when I actually found myself dreaming about eating bread. Yep. Thinking about food in my dreams. Prior to this, I'm not sure I can ever recall food even having a place, or an appearance, in my dreams. Ever. I felt foolish even admitting it to my husband until just the other day. I was looking for a vegan (because that covers the dairy/egg free) gluten-free bread recipe online and came upon this blog entry. Reading the story accompanying the recipe, I realized other people have felt and do feel the same way. As I read the last few lines with empathy, a portion of Scripture came to mind:
No, I didn't want to remember this portion of Scripture, frankly, Scripture was one of the farthest things from my mind at the time. I was just looking for a good bread recipe, thinking that even though the ingredients are expensive, I could treat myself since my birthday is coming up. I didn't remember this verse, God reminded me of it.
That's what happens when His words are written in our hearts. Reality check for me. Gratitude check for me. I am so blessed. So blessed by God. I have an amazing husband, 4 healthy children, a house to call our home and shelter us from the elements, and though our budget may be strapped at times, we never have to worry about having no food to eat.
Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me that it's not all about me. Lord, I lift up to you all of your beloved children who are without food, shelter, clean water, and family to care for them. God, I pray that You will move in mighty ways to bring blessings upon those in need, and that You will soften and urge the hearts of those who are able to be generous. I am so glad that food isn't my only focus, my only hope for pleasure. I am so thankful that my true longing isn't for a quick sandwich or a rich piece of chocolate cake. My deepest longings are for You, Father. Help me in my carnal state to have an eternal perspective. Forgive me for my adulterous heart, which looks and lusts after so many things, when You are my true and faithful Love.