Ratatouille? It's Spiritual?
by Angela Breidenbach
Did you ever feel you didn't quite belong? Not anywhere?
Quite a lot of my life felt that way from a very young age being born a person who loves to speak and write. Last year, however, was the worst.
After experiencing malnutrition and the inability to absorb food, I was diagnosed with a very severe form of colitis. I spiraled down into poor health and lost hope I would eat again without pain. I wondered how long I could hang on without absorbing food. I felt cut off from family and friends as every meal caused intense reactions. I began to avoid meals with my family and outside social activities. I avoided any situation that would put me near food and people at the same time because it was a perfect disaster. No one understood what was happening to me, including me.
I'd love to say it was all super natural and magical, but sometimes God chooses to work in simplicity. I think when He does that, we are most surprised. I know I was! I'd been praying for six months when my friend from church, Tod, suggested trying a different approach. All the research says to eliminate foods that bothered me. Unfortunately everything bothered me. My digestive track was inflamed. I was in constant pain and often privately in tears, doubled over.
Tod prayed with me and he was given wisdom to share. He suggested I fast, drink electrolytes during the fast, allow my system to rest, and then start eating as if I was an infant. Now lest you think this is some ludicrous baby food diet, stop right there! We came up with what I call the Addition Plan.
The simplicity is that after resting my system and balancing the electrolytes, I started eating only white rice. I had no idea if I could even hold food so I started with only a few bites. Then every couple of hours I added a few more bites. To me the fact that I held food without pain was a stunning miracle.
All this experimenting seemed to match up with Ratatouille's kitchen disaster that created an amazing, critic-pleasing pot of soup. Once again my life had paralleled a cartoon rat! But I built up a really nice list of delicious recipes I could actually eat with my family and I knew foods I could eat out at social occasions. I felt like I'd gained back my joy and wanted to share it with others that might be going through the same experience.
But a funny thing happened along the way. Other people wanted the recipes but didn't want to buy a book that said colitis on the cover if they didn't have an IBD problem. Hmm. So I went back to the drawing board. I kept hearing over and over how people thought I could make elegant dishes and they wanted to know how, but were afraid of the expense and difficulty. Yep, I found a solution.
Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance debuted the beginning of June for people who want to create simple, elegant, and inexpensive meals. The tips in this cookbook are all about simplicity. Little cooking tips I've learned over the years as I cooked and baked for a very large family.
So what is the spiritual lesson? Each of us is uniquely and wonderfully made. Each of us has difficulties that lead us down a different path than we may have suspected we'd travel and often didn't want to follow. (Poor Ratatouille raced through a rainstorm in a sewer to end up smack dab where he needed to be to become who he was intended to become.) I didn't want to travel the path of illness. I'm sure there's something in your life you'd rather not have dealt with either. But here we are. And here is who we are with what we've been given, good and bad.
I chose to write some really cool cookbooks to fill an unusual niche with both the gift of cooking and curse of illness. You know what I found out? Some curses are really just a gift in disguise. Just like Ratatouille's enhanced ability to scent spices and freshness, I have an enhanced ability to understand other people's needs from what I've been through. I think it's a great gift from God to have the opportunity to bring joy back into other people's lives and I don't think I'd have found this part of my calling without having gone on the terrifying journey. It sure wouldn't bring me as much joy if I didn't understand the complete absence of joy.
Have you traveled that path? The one you didn't want and found a special gift?
What are you doing with that unexpected gifting?
(Please leave a comment with your e-mail address, such as name (at) email(dot)com. I'd love to give away one of each book. Please know these are e-books, and I will e-mail them to the winners.)
May your table be filled with joy!
Confidence Coach & Purposeful Living Educator
Come uncover your gems of wisdom at www.MyGemofWisdom.com
Personal growth = Powerful living!
Interact with or learn more about Angela Breidenbach at these sites:
http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com/ on Wednesdays each week
Giving away a free cookbook every 50 new friends!
“Angie has amazing passion and mission for helping others achieve their goals and live healthy, fulfilled lives. With her eye always on the Big Picture, she is an unending source of inspiration, energy and empowerment for others.”~ Tosca Lee – Gallup Organization Senior Consultant/Performance Coach & Christian Author of Demon: A Memoir and Havah: Story of Eve
“Any cause Angie supports is truly blessed. She has so much energy and passion.” ~ Linda Bauman – Owner, Market Place Media