Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31)
The house was a dilapidated jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. Innocuous black snakes often found their way inside through the ill-connected joints. Rags filled the broken window panes, a barrier against the frigid air. It was a sorry sight to most, but it was home to me.
There were seven of us. Poor as hanks, survival meant eating whatever was set before you. Squirrel, rabbit, or deer, we didn’t ask. We weren’t worried so much about saving the planet back then as we were about saving ourselves. Dad worked continually, but he never seemed to catch up. It was either feast or famine, there was no in between. So more times than not, we did without.
My twenty-two-year-old mom tried her best to keep five kids happy. One particularly cold day while camping in the kitchen with just the stove to keep us warm, she threw a blanket over the table and we all climbed under, our imagination doing the rest. For a while, we played oblivious to our persistent problem. The need for food.
But Mama was praying. And God was listening!
Around lunch time, my granny, Mattie and my great-granny, Blanche, brought two whole fryers expecting to fry them, until Mama explained she had no grease. Blanche asked for butter. Mom gave her all she had–several small pieces from blocks she used to butter her pans when cooking (Before the days of Pam). Undaunted, Blanche melted the butter and pan-fried the chicken. Then she made butter gravy with the drippings. We feasted on the best Chicken ‘N Gravy we had ever tasted before—or since.
I make this recipe when I want comfort food. Back then I didn’t eat much. I didn’t like deer, rabbit, or squirrel. And I refused to eat fried bologna! So when I found something delectable, I kept it near my heart. Each time I eat this dish, I’m reminded I am more valuable than the sparrows.
What You Need:
Whole fryer or 4-6 breast, thighs, or legs seasoned to taste
½ cup butter or margarine
½ tsp of salt and pepper (according to taste)
½ cup flour (see note)
2 2/3 cup water (see note)
Place butter in pan or Dutch oven and heat until butter sizzle.
Brown a few pieces at a time, turn, and cook until tender.
Remove from pan
Combine flour and salt. Add to drippings to make a roué. Stir until medium brown.
Add water and whisk until smooth and creamy.
Return chicken to the gravy and allow to simmer 5-10 minutes.
Serve with rice, homemade biscuits, or pasta, and a salad.
Note: With different chicken pieces comes more drippings. Reduce drippings and flour as needed to make perfect gravy. The more you make this recipe and become familiar with it, adding more or less of things, the better it will taste.
Do you have a favorite dish that reminds you of God’s goodness?
Have you ever had someone to show up at your door just when you needed a helping hand?
Ain’t God good?
I sat on my six-year-old daughter’s bed and clasped her tiny hand. In her sing-song voice, she began her nightly prayers.
“Lord, bless my mama. Lord, bless my daddy. Lord, bless my bubba. Mama, you’re sitting on my leg.”
I apologized and scooted over. “Is that better?”
“Okay. Let’s start again.”
Head bowed once more, I waited.
“One plus one is two. One plus two is three. One plus three is four…”
A smile spread across my face. I peeked out of one eye and waited for her to realize what she was saying.
“One plus five is six. One plus six is…,” she began giggling. “I was saying my addition facts.”
“Yes. You’ve been busy today. You have a lot on your mind, don’t you?”
“I want to start over.”
She started once more and finished her prayer. I kissed her good-night, tucked her in, and switched off the light.
Twelve years have passed since that night. But the memory is still as fresh as if it were yesterday. Not only does it hold precious memories, but spiritual truths.
During the years, when my children were small, my husband worked crazy hours. At one point in our lives, he worked three different shifts in three weeks. No full days off. So, I was alone with the kids most of the time.
Both refused to sleep once they arrived. My son was colicky and cried for hours. My daughter, the same. As babies, I rocked them while crying and praying for their relief. I did everything I could to ease their pain while ignoring my own needs.
Not bragging. That’s what mothers do.
Hair? Forget styling. Pull it up in a ponytail. No one is coming. Teeth. Don’t worry, you can brush, later. Eat? You have three meals. You’re bound to eat one. Never mind going to the bathroom.
When it came time for school, my husband and I agreed to homeschool so that our weekends coincided with his.
During those early years, I grew tired. I loved being a wife and mother more than anything! But, I missed my alone time with God. At times, I felt guilty for not spending time with Him like I did before motherhood.
Ever been there?
As was His loving way, He led me to His Word.
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11 KJV
Funny how you never see a scripture until the Lord opens your eyes to it.
I knew the time would come when my children were older, and I could once again have my time.
But, during those years I became accustomed to the busyness of life. I quickly learned to adapt. I ate on the run, wrote on the run, prayed and studied on the run. That was life.
I quickly realized I had a problem when the Lord called me to Him. I no longer hungered for the alone time. I was satisfied with what I viewed as normal.
My prayer routine usually started with me kneeling on the floor, my head on my Bible. The days I didn’t fall asleep, I fished forgotten Lego blocks and sippy cups from underneath the furniture.
It’s not easy breaking a habit. But break it we must if we are to see what’s before us.
A Needful Rest
The Bible tells us when Jesus entered a certain village, Martha invited Him to her house. Can you imagine the hoopla that took place? Everything had to be perfect.
Mary, Martha’s sister, wasn’t helping. She had chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus. Mary’s action—or inaction irritated the industrious Martha to the point she complained to the Master.
I don’t know about you, but I can see both sides here. 🙂
But, on the other hand… Imagine Martha’s story.
“Oh, honey, let me tell you. I had to set up two extra tables. I didn’t think I would ever fit everyone inside. But you know me. I can do anything I set my mind to. For the main course, I served roasted lamb. And if I have to say so myself, it was delicious. In fact, the disciples said they had never tasted anything like it.”
Exaggerated? Sure. But, my point is, if we listen carefully, it’s what we sound like when touting the accomplishment deemed necessary in this life.
Yes. Things must be done. But, there’s a “good part” that we are missing.
Now let’s listen to Mary’s story.
“Oh, my dearest friend, I could never explain to you what I felt while seated at His feet. When He looked at me, nothing else mattered. Everything vanished. Every trouble, every care. And then, His love washed over me like warm oil and filled every part of my being. As I listened to the sound of His voice, my strength was renewed. I found new hope.”
Seasons change and so must we. In the busy times of life, we do what we must do. And when the time comes, we change. Whether we are running, walking, or sitting at this time, let us be mindful that we always have a guest. May we cast aside our cares of the day, sit at His feet and focus only on Him.