Baking on my Knees

“I don’t want to bake. It just hurts so much.” These were some of the words that I told God yesterday just before my scheduled time of baking. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to bake because I had terrible muscle pains. I wasn’t able to warm up before bowling last Friday and since my officemates and I bowled for three hours straight, I guess my muscles just gave up on me. But, after hearing God whisper to me “You can do it.”, I decided to still give it a try. As requested by one of my officemates, I attempted to make my first batch of mint chocolate chip cookies.

Personally, I prefer eating chocolate without mint, so making this kind of cookie was a challenge for me. But, I guess since some people enjoy it, it was worth giving a try. As usual, I enjoyed seeing the raw ingredients transform into a lovely, sticky, cookie dough. (Especially this one, since it was green. Haha.) I then placed tablespoons of the green cookie dough on the baking sheet while waiting for the oven to heat up.

After a few minutes, it was time for me to bake the cookies. I slowly knelt down in front of the oven, opened its door, and immediately placed the sheet inside. Man, was it extremely painful!  I couldn’t bend down properly. It was awful. I can’t really put into words what I felt that night each time I bent over; knelt down; stretched my legs; or even sat on a chair. It hurt so bad I didn’t want to move anymore.

When I experienced pain again and again, I wanted to give up and not finish what I was doing. I then talked to God: “Lord, You know that I would bake tonight and You also know that I would feel this kind of pain. I wonder why You’re allowing this to happen. I wonder what it is that you want me to learn from this.”

As I knelt down, opened the oven door, and baked my last batch of cookies, God spoke to me. He allowed me to realize that in order for me to bake the cookies properly and in the best way possible, I had to bend and kneel down to constantly check on them in the oven, even if I was experiencing intense pain in my legs.

In the same way, He reminded me that when I experience other kinds of pain (those caused by failures, wrongdoings of others, death of loved ones, sickness, heartbreaks, sin, and many more), I have to learn to constantly bend and kneel down before God, even if I am experiencing pain.

 

“A God wise enough to create me and the world I live in is wise enough to watch out for me.” –Philip Yancey

 

I realized that even if I am in pain, I have to humble myself before Him; surrender my weaknesses and brokenness; and acknowledge that He is still God in spite of the hurt and that He definitely knows what He is doing. Also, I am reminded that He is aware of what we’re going through and how we’re feeling. It’s such a relief to trust in God knowing that He understands us completely. We just have to constantly seek Him through His word and in prayer so we could know Him more; His will for us; and His purpose for the pain we feel.

“But this gives me comfort even though I suffer much pain because I have not turned away from the words of the Holy One.” –Job 6:10

 

After baking the last batch, I let them cool on a wire rack and eventually assembled them on a plate. In order for me to take photos of the cookies at a preferred angle, I had to once again kneel down and experience pain. But, this time, God gave me more strength to do so and comfort as I took shots of the cookies.

By God’s grace, today, I went to the office and persevered in spite of the muscle pains. I was also able to share the mint chocolate chip cookies to my officemates! :)

On my way home, I was thanking the Lord for His goodness and grace, even if I still had muscle pains. But, because every step I took was still painful, I decided to drop by a drugstore and bought myself a pack of Salonpas. I opened the pack and placed the medicated sheets on some parts of my legs and interestingly, I smelled a familiar scent. I smelled Mint.

It made me smile because I felt like it was one of God’s ways to reassure me that He is with me even when I am in pain. Also, He made me realize that just like how Mint (menthol) helps soothe and heal body aches and pain, He is also able to soothe and heal our aching hearts. He is able to remove the pain and replace it with His comforting love for us.

It wasn’t an accident that…

…my officemate requested mint chocolate chip cookies;

…I have muscle pains because of bowling last Friday;

…God still allowed me to bake the cookies;

…I bought Salonpas to relieve the pain I was feeling;

…He created you and me;

…sometimes, He allows us to experience pain so we can experience His grace and love even more.

Definitely, God is in control even in painful situations. :)

“Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
 you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.” –Psalm 71:20-21

 

“’Cause I’ve learned in laughter or in pain, how to survive: I get on my knees. And there I am before the Love that changes me.” –Jaci Velasquez

 

A little encouragement the next time we feel pain: We get on our knees. :)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Cinnamon Rolls and Second Chances

I wanted to surprise my younger brother, Gabo, last Thursday with a homemade birthday cake. However, since I didn’t have enough ingredients the night before his birthday, I wasn’t able to bake one. We ended up celebrating his birthday at home with Japanese food and a cake bought by our parents. I still wanted to make something for Gabo and the rest of the family. I then remembered one of his favorite desserts: Cinnamon Rolls. (It was one of his requests when he was hospitalized a few weeks ago.) “Perfect!” I said. “I’ll make them this weekend.”

Last Saturday, while I was on my way to the grocery store, I wondered if it really was a good idea to make cinnamon rolls. I had second thoughts because I remembered the first and last time I made them (about a year ago). I remembered the mistakes I made while baking them which resulted to mediocre cinnamon rolls. Yes, they did taste like cinnamon bread, but they were also very dry and crisp.
I sat down for a while and told God: “Lord, maybe I shouldn’t try doing it again. I might just make another mistake and waste the ingredients. What if I just make another dish instead?” But somehow, God encouraged me to make the cinnamon rolls and reminded me of Isaiah 41:10
It says:
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
…and He said to me: “Nic, I know you made mistakes when you baked those cinnamon rolls last year. And I also know that you didn’t make them again, since that time, because you were afraid of failing. But, I want you to remember WHO I AM. I want you to remember that I AM greater and stronger than all of your mistakes and weaknesses. So, don’t worry. You can try again. Don’t be afraid because I AM with you.” :)
“..to remember WHO I AM…” I whispered. “Okay, Lord. Let’s do this!” I bought the ingredients and prepared them as soon as I got home. Before baking, I decided to pray and lift the night up to God.
I also expressed my desire to make cinnamon rolls that were similar to Cinnabon’s cinnamon rolls. I then thanked Him in advance because I knew that He would help me bake them and that He was in control. But, I also told God that I would still be grateful even if I make mistakes again and/or end up with cinnamon rolls that aren’t good.
And so, I searched for the best recipe that I could find; carefully followed the steps in it; and made the Cinnamon Rolls that night.
While I was pouring the glaze, Gabo entered the kitchen and saw the freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Immediately, he shouted: “OH, YOU LURVE (LOVE) ME! This is my favorite!” I laughed and said: “I know. Hahaha.” After a few minutes, I gave my siblings samples of the finished product. And by God’s grace, they said that they were delicious! My older brother, Glenn Michael, even said: “Wow, Nic! They taste like Cinnabon’s cinnamon rolls.” Then, I replied: “Cool. Hahaha! Praise God, kuya!”
I went back to the kitchen, sat down, and stared at the golden brown, glazed, cinnamon rolls. I was in awe. “Lord, they look lovely. This is only by Your grace.” :) I told God. “Thank You.”
Making cinnamon rolls that night was a very special treat for me. I was able to enjoy the sweet, fluffy, cinnamon rolls, and was encouraged by God at the same time. I realized that many times, I can easily get discouraged when I remember my past, my weaknesses, and the mistakes I’ve made before. When I dwell on these things instead of focusing on God, I find myself being weighed down. And this hinders me from getting up and trying again.
But, there is Hope in our God. Even if I failed before when I first made the cinnamon rolls, God still gave me a second chance to bake them last weekend. :)
God is so amazing because I know that even in the other aspects of my life, He will continue to give me new opportunities each day to learn from the mistakes I’ve made before; to try again; to focus on Him; and even to experience victories by His grace.
“This is not about what you’ve done, but what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been but where your brokenness brings you to.
This is not about what you feel, but what He felt to forgive you.
And what He felt to make You loved.”
You Are More by Tenth Avenue North
One of the things I am grateful for is the fact that our God does not make mistakes. He never did and He never will. So, even if we do make mistakes, we can still trust in Him, knowing that He allows them to happen for His special purposes. Indeed, it is such a comfort to be reminded of the security that we have in Christ. He knows what He is doing and I know that He wants us to experience what is best… even if it means that we would, sometimes, have to experience failures and mistakes along the way.
“God, if you gave me Your best (Jesus), then I know that I can certainly trust you with my life.”
-Ptr. Peter TanChi
Made a mistake this past week?
Do you feel like such a failure/disappointment?
It says in Psalm 37:24
“..though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
Keep on trusting in God. He is with you. :)
Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

He is doughing a new thing! :)

A few days ago, one of my officemates randomly expressed his craving for Krispy Kreme doughnuts while we were working. Oh, it was such a heavenly thought! At that moment, I suddenly imagined the soft, sweet, original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts and how they always perfectly melt in the mouth. I wanted those doughnuts too! :)

Surprisingly, the next day, a former employee dropped by the office and gave our department boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts! ALRIGHT! Talk about perfect timing! I ate my share after I left the office and thanked God for an awesome treat. :)

Krispy Kreme and my Doughnut :)

That night, I couldn’t get the Krispy Kreme doughnut off of my mind. I decided to go online and read about the history of Krispy Kreme. As I was browsing through the different articles, I found recipes of glazed doughnuts. Some of those recipes even claimed that they have a similar recipe to Krispy Kreme’s. “This is interesting.” I thought to myself. “I’ll give it a try this weekend.”

I spent the whole Saturday night making the glazed doughnuts. It did take a long time because I had to let the dough rise thrice. But, don’t get me wrong, I had a blast preparing the doughnuts! :) I love working with dough. Also, the dough that I was able to make was soft, fluffy, and very easy to knead.

I learned a lot from making doughnuts that night, but there was one thing that struck me the most. The dough was not wasted. Why? You’ll find out in a while. :)

I kneaded the dough, rolled it on the table, and used my doughnut cutter to form the doughnuts.

After cutting eight doughnuts from the dough, I immediately gathered the excess dough and kneaded them together. I also took the doughnut holes and set them aside.

I repeated the process and produced four more doughnuts from the scrap dough.

And for the last time, I kneaded the scrap dough again and was able to form the last doughnut.

I cooked the doughnuts after letting them rise for an hour. Then, I poured the sweet, sugar glaze on them for more flavour.

I was telling God how amazed I was because He allowed me to make more doughnuts by kneading the excess (scrap) dough again and again. It was also interesting because instead of throwing the smaller circles away; I was able to make mini donuts out of them too!

Indeed, the dough was not wasted. The scrap dough was put together, restored, and used for a special purpose – to make more doughnuts. At that moment, God spoke to my heart and helped me realize the following:

I HAVE SCRAPS IN MY LIFE TOO.

Tons of them, actually. Sometimes, they even come in the form of mistakes, heartbreaks, insecurities, wrong decisions, sin, weaknesses, bitterness, regrets, and other undesirable things and moments that I experience.

But! Despite these things, I am reminded that…

 

GOD IS STILL THE GOD WHO RESTORES.

The same God who restored the hearts of the people since the beginning of time is also able to restore us today no matter what we’ve done. He is the God who sees and uses the ‘scraps’ in us for our good and loves us just the same. He is the God who makes things new! :)

It says in Revelations 21:5

“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

 

At first, I wondered why God said: “Write this down…” in the verse above. But then, I realized that we need to write things down so we can remember them more. Sometimes, it’s so easy for us to forget who God is in our lives. As a result, we end up getting discouraged more, whenever we remember the scraps we have in our lives and the seemingly useless/worthless situations we go through. However, it is such a comfort to be reminded by God that we can trust in Him who makes all things new.

Earlier, I told you that I was able to read about the history of Krispy Kreme. Interestingly, I found out that Krispy Kreme is actually celebrating it’s 75th year this year! In the company’s website, you’ll see how they were able to learn from the mistakes and mediocre procedures that they had through the years. The company didn’t focus on those ‘unwanted situations’/scraps, but instead, they used them as their motivation for continuous improvement and growth.

It reminded me of this verse from the Bible:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

-Isaiah 43:13

In the verse, He could have said: “See, Nicole, YOU are doing a new thing!”, but He didn’t. It was a clear reminder for me that my focus should be on Him alone; not on the past; not on the scraps in my life… but on our God who restores — Our God who is “doughing” new things in our lives! :)

Encourage yourself one treat at a time!

*Recipe from: imadethat.com