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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?
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Each morning when I entered the stall to feed her, Twiggy would stand in the far corner afraid. So, I changed tactics. I opened the door and waited. When she realized I wasn’t coming in, she took a few steps toward me. Every morning she came closer and closer until she began taking a mouthful of feed from the bucket. Finally, I was able to reach out and stroke her neck.
Fast forward nine months in the field with Susie, a thirty-year-old who loves attention, Twiggy has come to learn the wind in the trees isn’t so scary. Dogs can be fun. A person coming in the stall is normal activity. And if there is a problem the human will fix it.
She still has a long way to go. She isn’t broken, yet. She doesn’t know what a burden feels like. But she will. For only when she submits to a master can she be a useful horse.
At first, she will fight the rope, hate the saddle, preferring to prance and run free. But hopefully, she will come to see there is freedom in submission. The Master honestly does know best. And when we lay aside our need for control, we find His yoke is easy and His burden light.
Yesterday, I watched Twiggy as she ran the field, gaining speed, slowing down, whirling around trees, and stopping for a breath—her movements graceful and precise. (She has all four feet off the ground!)
It reminded me of the race we’re running. Some days we gain speed. Others we navigate the obstacles. And still other days, we pause to catch our breath. Yet, there is joy along the way if we know where the joy can be found.
To find that joy we must learn to cast our cares aside. Trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding. Submit everything to the Master.
The secret: It takes love for the master before we can submit. Without love, we will always fight for control.
This race is too short to run it alone. Invite the Lord along and watch how weightless you will begin to feel.