Here in the States, I’ve taken to baking most of our bread from scratch by hand, because I can’t stand the taste of the bread here. Specialty breads here taste great, but I do still have a grocery budget to stick to! I’ve gotten pretty used to it by now, and I don’t consider it to be a lot of work, and the rewards of fresh homemade bread sure outweighs any cons!
When you see the kitchen bench looking like this, you know what’s been going on, and that you’ll be smelling some good smells soon!
The happy results:
Happy results become even better with butter! (If you’re interested in what recipes I use, this is my white bread recipe, and this is my brown bread recipe. They are both from TheFrugalGirl blog and have nice detailed steps and photos.)
Anyhow, as I was kneading some bread dough this morning, I got all thinky and waxed philosophical about life. You know, we humans are just like a lump of dough. Before we’re kneaded we look ugly. We need some hard knocks and pounding and pulling and stretching. And life is full of those. There is not a single human on this earth that I know who hasn’t had his or her fair share of tough times.
Do you know why you’re supposed to knead yeast breads? It won’t rise much at all if you don’t knead it, because the gluten in the flour needs to be developed. Likewise, we can’t rise to maturity if God doesn’t send us difficult times in our lives to develop and grow. While you might grow slowly during the good times of your life, it’s the difficult times that causes you to run to God, and to grow in real, lasting maturity. Neither you nor I are above all this, even you and I need to develop into something better.
But that’s not all. After you knead dough, you leave it to rise. In life we have periods where everything goes well for a long time. We get so proud of all our puffed-up glory. Do you know what you do with a batch of dough after it has risen? You punch it down, because it is not finished yet. The shaping is about to begin.
We don’t only need to grow and develop, but we need shaping into the people God wants us to be. Not what you thought you should be, but what God intended you to be. We can get so bitter because our lives, or the lives of those around us, did not turn out as we had planned. We forget that we can plan all we want, but that God will direct our steps. God shapes you for His purposes, and His glory, and you might never understand why ‘things didn’t work out’. So, you wanted to be a nice big loaf of soft bread, and you find yourself in a crunchy breadstick situation. Stop longing to be what you can not be and start glorifying God in all your crunchy breadstick splendor!
Sanctification is a life-long process, and I realise that the dough analogy falls flat at some point (hee-hee). But these were my thoughts as I pounded a ball of dough this morning.