For me, opening my recipe box causes me to recall some extremely sentimental moments and friends who are a part of those moments. Recipes are usually simple index cards containing ingredients to delicious food dishes, placed behind specially marked tabs entitled main dish, vegetables or soups . . . not so with me. Oh, the name of the dish is there, along with all the necessary information and measurements, but if you look closely you’ll find — up in the right hand corner — the name of the person or place from which each recipe originated.
My all-around, use-for-anything-requiring-bread-dough recipe has my friend Pat’s name on it. As soon as I see her name my heart warms, I smile and sometimes I even pick up the phone and call her. Pat and I met Jesus together at a campus ministry retreat. I was 18 and she was 20. We were radically changed that weekend. We leaned on each other as we learned about prayer, bible study and living life as followers of Jesus. We were inseparable. If I was struggling I could count on her to pull me up — if she was struggling, I would be there for her. Together we left our “old” lifestyles and bad relationships, and found a little church where God was moving, and where we found more college students who also loved God and wanted to serve Him. Our lives paralleled each other for a long time . . . I married a year and a month before she did. We were in each others weddings. Later, we each had 4 children within the same time frame. (Except she went on to have 2 more after she turned 40 — not me.)
Times were simpler back then, and although we both graduated from the same college, our desire was to be stay-at- home wives and mothers, and raise our children to love and serve God. We could go get jobs when the kids were grown.
We endeavored to feed our families on our “shoe-string” budgets, so we were always trying to help each other create inexpensive yet tasty meals! We would meet for lunch at our homes, feed the kids lunch, send them out to play, then share our hearts with one another over the remaining home-cooked meal. Frequently, we would copy a recipe from one another as we discovered simple, affordable dishes that our children enjoyed.
Another recipe card explains How To Can Peaches — something I didn’t learn growing up. The name you’ll see in the upper right hand corner is Wanda A. Wanda took several of us newly- married girls under her wing and taught us how to can peaches and tomatoes, and how to make jelly and jam. We would go to her home for our lessons, and afterwards we would gather in her kitchen or on her patio for a precious time of bible study and prayer. Although she knew the Bible better than we did, she would designate one of us to share something we had learned that week from our time with Jesus. We probably didn’t even know the scripture “older women teach the younger women”, we just knew we loved Wanda and she loved us and was helping us become godly wives to our new husbands. We would leave her home with our jars of canned peaches or jelly, and our hearts filled with the truth of God’s word.
Just one more card I’ll mention here, and that’s my recipe for home-made french bread. The name on this one is Evelyn Bunn and it makes me cry whenever I see her name. This precious little lady, walked with a limp due to having had polio as a little girl. I never once heard her complain. The only expression she ever wore was a beautiful smile. If the pastor ever asked someone to share what Jesus had been doing in their life, she would stand up with an amazing testimony of God’s answer to her prayers. Evelyn taught me to pray. I watched her from a distance as a young college girl and I knew something was different about her. Then one day the older ladies asked me to come to their prayer meeting. I listened as Evelyn’s sweet spirit combined with her deep relationship to Jesus, and I discovered the reality of communion with Jesus like I had never known. I was never the same. Evelyn went to live in heaven before I wanted her to go, but she left her legacy of prayer in my life, and in the lives of other young women in that church. I am forever indebted to her.
Other names come to mind when I think of my recipes. Names of friends who walked with us when we lost our son Luke, or were there for us as we fought for our premature baby Paul’s life. Other older ladies who taught me about child-rearing, and about various aspects of housekeeping. Friends with whom I’ve laughed and cried. Friends who remain and friends who’ve moved on. Many who deposited truths in my heart and created lasting memories with me. All of them, precious to God and to me!
Maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe I’ll no longer call this box my recipe box, but instead make it’s title reflect the treasure it holds inside.
I know . . . I’ll call it My Friendship Box.