I have a treat for you all, and it’s in the form of a beautiful guest post written by a wonderful woman named Heidi. She has been using Food Tidings for her MOM’s group thorugh her church for about two years now, and she has some great insights for us about the healing power of food.
I asked her to share a little about herself with us, and here’s what she writes. “My husband and I have been married for 7 years and we live in Scottsdale. I am a stay-at-home mom of two kids. Our son just turned 5 and our daughter will be 3 next month. We attend Central Christian Church in Mesa, AZ where I have been active in our MOMs group since our oldest was 3 weeks old. In addition to my family I also am a consultant for Thirty-One Gifts, which is a faith based company that offers purses, bags and home organizing solutions.”
The Healing Power of Food
After the Funky Freezer Girls got started I had a dream. In the past year I have seen firsthand how much it means for hurting families to have a homecooked meal during their struggle. This spring I read The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity by Dr. Meg Meeker, a pediatrician, wife and mom. I wish I could type out the entire 3 pages of a story Dr. Meeker relates in the book about the power of food in a section entitled, “Food is Friendship” because it is so powerful and touches me in a profound way. In one of my favorite passages from the book, Dr. Meeker writes about WHY we feel the need to take care of others through food:
For many of us mothers, feeding people is our love language. When we are too intimidated to express our feelings, particularly when sadness is involved, we resort to casseroles. Bake chicken, cut up carrots, and roll out pie dough. These are the hand motions of a friend who longs to soothe a mother’s broken heart. And somehow, miraculously they do (pg 28)
Dr. Meeker goes on to to tell the story of the power of food and friendship in the lives of two women, Beth and Lisa. Lisa’s husband was dying of cancer, leaving her with small children and Beth cooked for their family throughout his illness. Dr. Meeker lets Beth tell the story :
“During those last days, we went to the grocery store a lot,” Beth recalls, “because I was in a serious cooking mode then. I felt so helpless. I wanted to love Lisa the best I could, but words, hugs, flowers, nothing did it. I don’t even know if food did, but I do know one thing, that cooking at least made us all feel that some part of life–maybe the task of keeping alive–was moving forward. We had to all just keep moving forward.” (30)
Dr. Meeker ends the section by writing:
“Food doesn’t soothe, but intention does. Where love stops, chicken pot pies can take over . . . So I will cook for you now, says that friend. I can pretend that you are with me and that I can make life better for you. So let me in, says the food.” (30)
For the past several months a mentor’s infant granddaughter has been fighting for her life. Just after arriving in the world in April this beautiful little girl was diagnosed with a heart condition that required immediate surgery. In June sweet Stella had to be re-admitted to the hospital because of stenosis and her fight REALLY began. Stella’s story isn’t mine to share, but she is a true miracle and this weekend she got to go home after spending nearly 2 months in the hospital. Because of all I’ve learned in recent months, once I knew Miss Stella was about to bust out of the hospital for the first time since mid-June I started cooking and asked her Yaya when I could drop off meals for a weary Mom and Dad. Since then a website has been set up to help them as well and I know they’ll have meals covered for a long time, but it just felt good to be able to do something tangible for them.
I’m continually blown away by how God has used the Funky Freezer Girls. What started out as a group of moms who were looking to simplify their lives a little bit has become one of the greatest experiences of my life. I started out by being lazy and needing help making dinner each night, but God has taken me on a journey that has changed my heart forever and, in my mind, the least important thing about my freezer group is what I stack inside my own freezer each month.
Among the lessons I’ve learned on this journey is that blessing others through food is not about being a great cook. You’ll never see me on FoodNetwork and I’ll never publish a cookbook. I’m extremely intimidated when I need to cook for others and I’m not a fan of most cooking websites because I’m not a “foodie”. I can follow a simple recipe, but if it calls for more than a handful of basic ingredients or something from a special market you won’t find it coming out of my kitchen. Despite all that, I’ve learned that, as Dr. Meeker said, it’s about the intention. Whether I slaved for two days over a pasta sauce and homemade noodles (not going to be happening at my place) or I whip together a casserole in 15 minutes by adding together what’s in my pantry, it doesn’t matter to the family who is being loved on. What matters is that food was lovingly, thoughtfully and prayerfully prepared . . .