Sept 1, 2011
I have to tell ya'll about a wonderful little novel by Darien Gee--FRIENDSHIP BREAD.
It's set in the fictional town of Avalon. Julia, a mother who lost her son several years ago and is still grieving over his death, receives a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter anonymously. Urged by her little girl, she begins to work with the starter, then gives some away, and well, the whole town begins a transformation.
Darien Gee has created a wonderful setting and cast of characters who break out of the molds that most writers might have put them into (there is even a biker--only in one chapter--but you will LOVE this guy!). Even though it is a novel--you can visualize these events actually happening. There are even recipes for the starter and how to bake the basic bread, along with variations. I am so inspired--I'm gonna make the starter and give it a shot!
I don't know what her faith is--but Ms. Gee's book makes me think of the book of Esther. God is never mentioned directly--but His handiwork is powerfully evident throughout the story.
It got me to thinkin' about how God sometimes uses the smallest things to make a huge change in our lives. The biggest example would be how while the Israelites were waitin' for a Messiah to come chargin' in to save them in a big dramatic way, God chose to bring salvation to the whole world through the simple birth of a tiny baby in a humble stable, then only told a group of poor shepherds about it the night it happened.
Okay--I'm goin' out on a theological limb here--but I also realized how much we as Christians are like Friendship Bread starter.
Hang on--stick with me for a minute, will ya?
First of all--ain't none of us really impressive on our own--just like a bag of starter is kinda useless when you first get it. In fact--it's really sort of disgustin'.
But the starter--just like us--has the potential to become something wonderful.
When you get starter, you have to 'do' stuff to it. You have to 'smush' the bag each day. You have to add some more ingredients to the bag on certain days--you have to 'feed' the mixture. If the bag gets puffed up--ya gotta let the air out so it doesn't burst. You can't use metal utensils or bowls, or else it screws up the fermentation process. You can’t put it in the fridge, ‘cause if it grows cold--it slows down its development.
Seein’ a spiritual picture here? God has to ‘do’ stuff to us to get us to where we can be useful. Sometimes He ‘smushes’ us through testin’ times in our lives. He ‘feeds’ us through His Word--IF we are smart enough to spend time in it. When we get puffed up with pride--He has to let the air out of us so we don’t explode and hurt others.
To me, metal utensils and bowls represent worldly influences that can stunt our spiritual growth.
When we wander away from God and allow our love for Him to grow cold--well, it’s unpleasant, but He is always willin’ to take us back and warm us up through His grace and mercy.
Now--you CAN freeze starter to use later--and God may set you aside for a time to wait until His timin’ for you to do a job He may have for you. I think those times in my life make me crazier than others. My flesh wants to DO SOMETHING, but God says, “wait--you are not ready yet.”
When those times come--I guess ya have to look at this way. Just like when Friendship Bread starter gets to the point that EVERYONE has gotten one--there has to be a time of steppin’ back, or else folks will hate the sight of anyone comin’ with a baggie of the stuff. Sort of like if God didn’t keep us back from certain jobs for the Kingdom--we’d just mess up what He’s doin’, so we get to ‘chill’ for a while and learn to trust while we are waitin’.
I really recommend this novel. No matter your faith--you will find some wonderful life lessons in here.
There is no foul language that I can recall, and even though not everyone has a fairy tale ending--the story still leaves you feeling good. I understand that there is a second book in the works, and I am looking forward to it.
Darien Gee has a Facebook page, if you are interested. Please tell her you read about the book here on my blog. It won't get me anything, but I like to think that I may be helping her career a little.
Well, I got chores. Later ya’ll.
© 2011 by Evelyn Edgett