Today's guest post is by another fellow M.O.M. Initiative buddy, Heather Riggleman.  When we were at our retreat in Colorado, Heather was one of our brave ones leading us in our tubing escapades down the mountain.  I love her vivacity for life and her stories.  She is inspiring and real.  You are absolutely going to love her post today {and her recipe at the end!}

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My first memory of stained glass windows is forever etched into my mind. It was a rare moment when my mother would cradle me in church. Surrounded by other church goers, they all stood and worshipped while mom held me with the sun shining through the mosaics of colors, warming my skin. Entranced by the beauty, I studied each hue but would quickly shut my eyes tight when mama looked down at me—only to peek at the colors moments later. All the different pieces and colors. If I only looked at one piece, it was just that—a piece. A shape of blue or a square of yellow bet when I focused on the whole picture, I saw Jesus holding a lamb—the final picture of a masterpiece.

As I perspire over my oven, I’m reminded of how my life is like that window. Different pieces. Mom. Sister. Wife. Ministry leader. Employee. Lover of food. Child of God.

Then there are other pieces of me I don’t like to admit to.

Quit when things get tough. Sensitive. Wanting to be perfect. Wanting be in control. Yeller. Cry baby. Stubborn.

As I brush the hair out of my eyes, I’m keenly aware of the stillness and his words in the silence.

“I broke you so I could rebuild you.”

The window flashes to my mind again, all the different pieces and my mind jumps to all that God broke in me these last several months. The memories flood my mind as I soothe my soul with a taste of the slow roasted tomato sauce.

Losing the baby. Cheyenne’s autism diagnosis. The Financial collapse. Getting benched from ministry. Falling apart in front of everyone. Yes, my carefully laid plans for life fell apart. The masquerade that I had it all together shattered to bits. But God was there and he rejoiced. I smile, licking my lips as I pour another cup of red wine into the sauce, stirring.

There is beauty when we break. It means we admit we are frail and then God is able work through us. This is when grace abounds and covers a multitude of imperfections. We discover things about ourselves we didn’t know were there as God “peace’(s) us back together—like right now, in this very moment, I’m savoring a new discovery—cooking. The chemistry of love mixed with labor and toil. In the quiet of my kitchen as I roast tomatoes and peppers from my garden, it will later nourish my family’s bodies while comforting their souls with a mama’s love.

Surrender isn’t such a bad thing, neither is being broken and yet we are so afraid of it. And we shouldn’t be, Jesus’ body was broken for us and it is the most beautiful mosaic I can think of. When he breaks us, he begins to piece us back together, a new art form—Just like those stained glass windows, our lives begin reflecting his light.

What is God is trying to break and rebuild in you? What is it that you’re afraid of?

If it’s the fear of being found out, let it happen—your friends will love you more. If it’s the fear of being out of control, that’s okay, we were never really in control in the first place. If it’s the worry of what your past, let it splash onto the front page, grace will cover it and then some.

And what you’ll find is freedom. Freedom to be the woman, the mama, the wife God created you to be as he becomes the cement that holds all the different pieces of your life together. So go ahead, fall apart and let God “peace” you back together. In the meantime, let those words stir in your heart while you make up a batch of fresh garden tomato sauce.

Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce Ingredients • 20 tomatoes (any variety), halved • 1/4 cup olive oil • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt • 1 teaspoon pepper • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar • 1 cup finely diced onion ( I used tiny pearl onions) • 3 to 4 bell peppers or any mild garden pepper • 2 teaspoons minced garlic • 2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano leaves • 2 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves • 1 tablespoon chopped basil • 1 cup red wine Instructions • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. • In 2 (13 by 9-inch) pans place tomato halves cut side up. • Sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper, onion, garlic, and herbs. • Bake tomatoes for 2 hours. • Check the tomatoes after 1 hour and turn down the heat if they seem to be cooking too quickly. • Then turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake another 30 minutes. • Remove from the oven and process tomatoes with a puree a hand blender in a saucepan. • Add wine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. BY HEATHER RIGGLEMAN / ADAPTED FROM ALTON BROWN

Heather-Riggleman-Head-Shot1-150x150 Bio: Heather Riggleman is an over caffeinated mama to 3 crazy-busy kids & married to her high school  sweetheart. By day she’s a mama, a food junky, and writes on the fly on her blog: Falling to Peace(s):  Reflections on letting go, grace & imperfection. By night she’s a Production Assistant for Nebraska TV News.  You can read more of Heather’s thoughts in her book, Mama Needs a Time Out or visit her author site:  heatherriggleman.com

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