My kitchen is painted yellow.
Because yellow is the color of sunshine and of joy and because yellow is my favorite.
It’s never quite as clean as I want it to be in here.
Tonight as I stand in the after-bed-time quiet my eyes follow a trail of red footprints across this floor that is supposed to be white and the tears well. So many memories held here.
This kitchen, this is there I serve. Many days, this kitchen is where I live. These counters, nicked and crumb covered, the sink, one side piled high with drying dishes, they could tell some stories. They’ve seen my joy as I gaze out the window at my laughing brood and raise still-soapy hands high in praise. They’ve seen the tears fall in defeat over the just-peeled carrots and the open pages of Psalms. They’ve heard my tongue snap in exasperation as another child screams through the kitchen and my whispered repentance later as I beg Him to make more of me. These walls have held late night laughter with dear friends and early morning remorse over broken dreams. They’ve held confessions and achievements and words, oh so many sweet words.
The memories flood too quickly to contain them all.
I see the night I came home and walked into this kitchen defeated and without a 4 year old and sweet friends gathered around to make super and their silence meant more than words.
I see our first Thanksgiving here, mom pulling the stuffing out of the oven, kids dancing happy and people – oh so many people – who I love and so much joy spilling out of such a small space.
I see myself standing here in the wee morning hours that shouldn’t even count as morning yet whisking high calorie milk for a child just barely clinging to life and I hear my loud cry for Jesus to save Him.
I hear the pitter-patter of little feet over the bubbling of the coffee pot and the excited voice of my littlest as she announces that the chicks have “popped” in the first light of the morning, and I feel the way His mercy has washed over me in this place.
I see hundreds of cooking lessons, little bodies crowded around a big pot, eager for their chance to measure, to pour, to stir. I see birthday cakes, so so many birthday cakes frosted and decorated with butterflies and flowers. I see whole wheat bread warm and rising in this oven, daily, and marvel at how He has been our daily bread.
I see the day when the full weight of her past threatened to knock the breath right out of me, how I pressed my palms hard into these counter tops and willed myself to keep breathing and questioned everything that I knew to be true.
I see the girls, gathered around the open computer screen and hear the voices of my mother and father and brother streaming across space and time zones and my heart aches with missing them but rejoices for love that bridges even oceans.
I see people. Homeless mothers who have found their way to better life here. Children who have healed and become whole here. Friends who have found rest, family who have so greatly blessed, people I have loved, who have loved me. People who have known the Lord in this place.
I have set foster babies on these counters next to casseroles for neighbors. And right here on these counters I have typed it all out, our lives, the beautiful and the ugly, between the stirring of the pots and the wiping of the noses, and the words turned to pages and the pages into a story.
It’s almost too much this passing of time, the dying of dreams and the budding of new ones, this growing of babies into children and children into women and hearts to maturity. And I cry because I want to hold it all forever, His goodness in this place. I run fingers over knife-worn counters and time runs too fast. And people are sent out from here. People heading home and people heading off to new futures and one day, these girls, too. I serve meals in this kitchen but I want to serve them what counts. I want to offer them the living bread, the only food that truly fills.
I have laughed here, I have wept here, I have created here, oh, I have prayed here. And here in this place, I have known Him more. I haven’t always done it right and some days I feel that I haven’t been enough, but I know that He has. He has. Right above the oven are painted the words of Acts, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and generous hearts… and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved,” and I know it like I know my own breath and the warmth of the sun on my skin, time passes, and they will go, and only He will remain.
My eyes find the trail of footprints leading to the door, and through bated breath I ask it, beg it, “Lord, if I could have just one thing, could I have served them You?”