We have a sweet picture book called The Lord is My Shepherd that paraphrases Psalm 23. My favorite page is this one:
I love the sheep’s peaceful expression while she eats. It’s not because the danger is gone – it’s because she is cared for, fed, and comforted in the midst of stress, fear, and trouble.
Minus the wolves, I have felt the blessing of that kind of care on so many occasions. In 2013, we had joyfully announced my second pregnancy, and then I had a miscarriage at 14 weeks. At first, I thought that having shared our news would compound our grief – having to talk about it, knowing that everyone knew – but the outpouring of love and grace from our friends and church community was very much like a meal and a moment of comfort in the middle of our loss. So, so many people prayed for us.
I’m so thankful that people didn’t shy away from caring for us when things were hard. They showed up. They brought us doses of comfort and peace, tangible reminders of the Lord’s love and provision and faithfulness. And they brought us food.
I won’t bore you with the list, but I remember every meal people brought us that week as I recovered from surgery. I think that’s my weird food love at work, but the point is that even if normal people don’t remember what you showed up with, they remember that you cared. A meal doesn’t change dark and wearying circumstances, but it can be a comfort in them.
That’s really the reason that I share recipes here. I know that on any given day, so many of you are facing exhausting, insurmountable days and seasons and years. Or you’re walking with loved ones who are. Or you’re making your dinner table a place of peace and connection for your family. Or you’re intentionally creating community with people so that when the valleys come, you can walk together, point each other to Christ, and help each other see his provision in the midst of them – and while you do it, you eat together.
Last night, I got a text from a friend who had just made Nana’s potato soup for a group of people she and her husband are reaching out to. She told me their guests had all just finished an over-12-hour shift at work and that it was the perfect thing to feed their weary bodies, and that they had had sweet conversation around their table. I know I had a big dumb smile on my face, because Jay was like, “What?” and I read him the text and then he had a big dumb smile on his face. We just really love food, and loving people with it, and getting to have a tiny, tiny part in our friends’ evening brought a lot of joy.
It’s not just food, right? It’s showing up, it’s pursuing others – and it’s letting others care for you when you’re the one who is burdened, lonely, grieved, or just hungry. It’s grace, and it’s from the Giver of grace, who “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)0