The kitchen is my favorite room in our home. It is a beautiful space, crafted to meet both my design tastes and functional preferences. But that is not the central reason that I love this room so much. I love it because my kitchen is where meaningful moments in my home so often start and end. And where most of my favorite conversations happen.
Around the table we share our lives in ways that are fun, important, celebratory, and sometimes profound. But in the kitchen the conversations become much more intimate. And so it becomes the place in my home where people are often their most vulnerable and authentic selves.
Last Sunday, this verse was illuminated on the large screens behind the pulpit of my church, and it beautifully describes the heart of what I want my kitchen to be:
In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. (2 Timothy 2: 20-21, The Message)
My kitchen is a room that it lovely and inviting. But if it becomes just an attractive room to be admired, then I’ve missed the great potential of this space. At it’s best, my kitchen is a place for the both the beauty and the mess of our lives to be shared. It is a room where food is thoughtfully prepared and lovingly presented , as well as a trusted space where garbage to be exposed.
I want my kitchen to be place where people are invited to talk about the dark muck that can pollute our thoughts, our hearts, and our souls so that we can figure out how to take the rubish out together. And I don’t want to just take our garbage out to the side yard where it is out of view. I want to bring our trash containers before our God who cleanses and renews our stained and weary hearts.
When someone exposes their mess in my kitchen, it is a wonderful privilege to hand them the container that best fits their need for nourishment and cleansing. The container can be listening, love, friendship, prayer, scripture, affirmation, laughter, support, encouragement, comfort, counsel, or forgiveness. A well stocked kitchen will keep these containers within reach and available whenever they are needed.
Never forgetting that I must reach for the containers of grace that I need to help me clean up my own messes, not just hand them out. I am so grateful for the people who walk me to the trash pits where God is waiting to free, heal, and redeem me from the fear and darkness that can threaten to overwhelm my soul.
Cleansing, freedom, and renewal are the gifts that God desires to bless all of us with. And today I invite God – the most masterful of sanitation engineers – to dwell in my heart, in my kitchen, and in every container that He has furnished.