I remember a long time ago I was driving to campus as a student listening to a Christian radio program about a book that was coming out (couldn’t tell you the title or the author to save my life, but I wish I could). The author was sharing about making the best out of hard seasons of life, and she shared this story how all they had left in the cupboards was enough pancake mix to make ONE pancake. Could you imagine as a mom (and maybe this is your reality today) opening your cupboards to that?? For me, I think I would burst into tears! But this lady made it so special by putting a candle in it and then saying they were celebrating! (Celebrating what I couldn’t tell you exactly either, college was a while ago for me.) The author said later how her kids don’t even remember things being difficult financially when they were growing up, but they remember all the good and fun things they did have.
Even though I don’t have all the details exactly right, the message of that program stuck with me. You can thank God even in the moments of sparseness! And when you don’t have a lot of food in the house, you can always make pancakes. This was so helpful for me later on when we have gone through difficult financial seasons. I remember especially when we were going to buy a house and we had pretty much NO wiggle room in our budget to buy extra food. I had no clue what to feed my one-year-old, or even mego prego me! I remembered about the pancakes and, with the help of Pinterest, I found LOTS of pancake recipes for whatever I had – more like didn’t have – in the house – bananas, eggs, no eggs, oatmeal, pumpkin, apple, peanut butter – you name it, I have probably made it!
I think all of us have at least gone through a season of life where money is tight. Maybe for some people it’s more a lifestyle than a season! I know for us we have had seasons where we are swimming in abundant blessings and sharing it with others, but we also have had seasons where things were so tight I wondered about where the next meal would be coming from. Most people I have talked to when they struggle with their finances complain about where they are at and tell me a dream of being in a different job, a different living situation, a different paycheck.
Recently I was listening to the Little House on the Prairie books, and Laura talks about her beautiful rag doll, the joy of making a button necklace for her baby sister, having fun playing 4 in a corner (which is get in a corner, and then run to another corner) – it took a whole winter of blizzards to bring the family’s spirits down, but not enough to defeat them! I kept thinking, “They saw so much blessing in so little!”
The fact is we are so easily discontented. We want have our dream of the perfect house, in the perfect town, surrounded by the ideal people, with the abundant paycheck to make our life look and feel like a Pintrest win – anything less is not good enough. But what if God has a different plan that is BETTER for you than your picture of perfection?
Philippians 4:11-13 says, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
We can do all things through Christ by surrendering to HIM our circumstances and CHOOSING to be good with where God has us!
Paul writes Timothy about this too in 1 Timothy 6:6-11, ”But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
What is our gain? Not getting the right job, but being content in the job God has called us to right in this moment. Not complaining about our coworkers, family members, friends that irritate, but asking God to change how we see people and how to love them. Not worrying about our paychecks and how bills will be paid, but trusting God that He WILL rich supply our needs (Phil. 4:19) and that He DOES work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to HIS purpose (Rom. 8:28)! Not being anxious about anything, but praying about everything and being thankful for the things He has given us (Phil. 4:6).
Instead of being anxious, discontent and desiring the greener grass you see somewhere else, water your own grass and make it green! When life gives you hard times, anchor into Jesus. When it seems you have little, make a lot of pancakes. So I share with you my very OWN pancake recipe (adapted from lots of pancake recipes I’ve used).
1 ½ cups flour
2 Tbls cocoa powder (it enhances the coffee flavor)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6 Tbls sugar
4 Tbls butter (half a stick, or you can use margarine because it IS cheaper)
1 cup STRONG coffee
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1) Make coffee – to taste the coffee in the pancake, you want to make the coffee taste stronger than how you would drink it. Either make the coffee then add instant coffee to it, or use ¼ cup instant coffee and then add boiling water to fill to a cup. OR brew the most intense cup of coffee in your LIFE.
2) Melt butter in small saucepan
3) Once butter is melted, add your coffee to the pan and boil for 1-2 mins. Then set aside to cool.
4) Mix dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar) in a large bowl.
5) Add coffee mixture to dry ingredient and slightly mix (just mix it enough to cool the coffee mixture down so it doesn’t scramble your egg).
6) Add in the egg, milk and vanilla, then mix until everything is well incorporated.
7) Make your pancakes.
8) Gobble them up.
9) Leftovers (if you have them) can be stored in the fridge and reheated best by popping them in the toaster.
Be content in the Lord and enjoy these pancakes!!
Leah works with Master Plan Ministries at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Other than watching college students' lives change, she enjoys getting her mind blown by God and His Word, watching sci fi, baking cupcakes, and spending time with her hunky husband.
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