When Jesus resurrected from the grave, He fulfilled the prophecies and the promises of God. There are numerous symbols of a bare cross around the world, but I wish there were more images of an empty tomb. Jesus Christ lives, and He sits in glory at the right hand of Almighty God, my friend!
This season of Lent leading up to the celebration of Easter has been like none other in my lifetime. The pandemic that has swept across the world continues to leave a massive trail of sickness, death, fear, and the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring? But that is the last mention of a virus in this post. Today I’m writing about the resurrected Savior.
I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but my first true passion before writing was cooking. I discovered my love of both around the same time in my life, but I had the opportunity to practice my cooking on a more regular basis-fostering that passion even more.
When I was fifteen years old, my mother had to leave the house and go to work every day. I remember the sadness in her eyes having to leave her children at home. I got a hardship license so I could drive my siblings and me to school.
As a gift, my mother gave me my very first cookbook. It was a red and white checkered Betty Crocker Junior Cookbook. I remember curiously scouring through the book with joy. She wanted me to become familiar with food and cooking because she knew she’d be away from home more.
Finally, after reviewing the book thoroughly, I found a dish I wanted to create.
After getting all the ingredients together, I prepared my very first dessert for my family. It was a Sunday night after church, and I anxiously presented my dish to the family and waited for their reaction. The looks on their faces as they devoured the dessert brought an unbelievable joy to my heart. I was ready to create something else that night. Nothing could stop me now!
Fast forward a few years. I had the opportunity to attend culinary school in college. It was expensive, but I had saved enough money to start. The training at culinary school was way beyond anything from my junior cookbook! However, I embraced the aspect of learning how to create something beautiful from food. The disciplines I learned, the events we had to opportunity to work at, continued to grow my love of cooking even more.
Unfortunately, I could not continue in culinary school because of finances. Despite working on multiple restaurant jobs, I could not continue with my culinary education. Looking back, I wish I had pursued scholarships or grants to remain in school, but I didn’t. I think there was so much going on in my life at the time. (Falling in love for real!)
Despite not being in school anymore, that did not deter me from cooking all the time. I started a catering company in my twenties. I got cookbooks from the library as I continued to hone my craft as an amateur chef. I’d even kept some of the instruction books I’d purchased for culinary school.I continued to improve as a cook, and my catering business flourished. However, I grew tired of those who knew me always “wanting a deal,” not respecting the fact I was running a business. I remember being so discouraged that I considered not catering again. Fortunately, my love for cooking was not ruined; I provided the catering at their weddings for both of my sisters.
My passion for cooking returned, but I scaled back from cooking anything and everything to specializing in gourmet cheesecakes.
It was invigorating starting again doing something I love in a new city, searching for new clients. However, I spent hours researching cheesecake, trying to come up with a recipe to call my own.
So, one weekend I drove up to Oklahoma to test my creation on my sister and her family. They waited with anticipation as I carefully prepared my cheesecake from scratch. There I was almost two decades since my Betty Crocker experiment as a teenager creating a beautiful, delectable, creamy, and mouth-watering cheesecake. Once the cheesecake was ready for consumption, my family attacked like hungry wolves. They nodded in approval with their mouths full and faces beaming. Junior’s Gourmet Cheesecake was born!
I was back in the kitchen again, creating new recipes and fantastic flavors of cheesecake.
Some of the favorites were:
strawberries and cream
pineapple & mango with macadamia
raspberry and white chocolate
caramel turtle & chocolate
holiday spice with gingersnap crust
my mother’s favorite; cappuccino Kahlua crunch, just to name a few.
Christ Changes Hearts
The business was a success until it wasn’t. I suffered a devastating stroke. During my recovery and healing, I had no desire to go near a kitchen. Initially, did not think I could cook again, but I have to give credit to my favorite physical therapist. (You can read about her in my new book, The Furnace of Affliction. (Free Chapter available) She showed me the things I could still do. I no longer cater, but I still make gourmet cheesecakes on special occasions. In fact, I have figured out a way to make healthy cheesecakes so everyone can enjoy them. My newest recipe that I made last Thanksgiving was carrot cake with pecans and pineapple. They were delicious!
I share with you this abbreviated story of my love affair with cooking because it so relates to my love affair with God. Once I began to see what I could do in the kitchen again, my overall confidence grew. I began to focus on what I could do, not what I couldn’t. Then, I started to DVR cooking shows again, and I would watch every night after physical therapy.
I was usually exhausted after my all-day therapy sessions, and I sometimes fell asleep while watching the cooking shows. I’d awaken early in the morning to read my bible and talk with God. As my love for cooking returned, my love for Jesus grew by leaps and bounds in my heart! I was beginning to have more hope than ever! Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope. This is the comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me. -Psalms 119:49-50.
I cannot tell you how much God has used the Psalms to help my heart change. There are so many nuggets of wisdom throughout-especially in chapter 119, which I love. Jesus resurrected my love for Him in ways beyond my imagination. Once His purpose for me became more evident, I wanted to immerse myself in His Word. I desired to understand Him better and learn all I could. Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding that I may learn Your commandments. May those who fear You see me and be glad because I wait for Your word. -Psalms 119: 73-74
Cooking Shows Rock!
So what does a resurrected heart look like? You may ask yourself. Have you put your complete trust and faith the Jesus who rose from the dead? Are you living each day with a hope of eternity in heaven with Him? Are you seeking to know Him better? Has your spiritual life changed in any way since this time last year?
This article may not be your typical Easter post, but what did Jesus die for, friend? He wants to see changed and transformed hearts. Without your resurrected heart, there can be no true fellowship with Jesus. Yes, I agree that the resurrection is about EVERYTHING that Christ did for us. But let’s not let His sacrifice be in vain. We are His children, predestined by Him and chosen by Him to do good works. Ephesians 2:10.
So, wherever you spend this Easter Sunday, I hope that you will examine your heart and ask yourself? “Am I living a resurrected life?” Am I carrying myself in a way that people around can see I’m a Christian? A resurrected life is a victorious life. So, choose to live victoriously!