by Annwen Stone
A few weeks ago a store was closing down in the mall and I bought myself a new gadget. I am now the proud owner of an Instant pot. About time I hear you cry! Well I’m never one to jump onto the ‘everyones-got-one-so-I-need-one’ wagon but after much consideration I decided it was worth the cash. I have to admit I have used the thing at least five times a week and it produces the most amazing stews. However, the thing that tickles me about this gadget is the steam release valve. There is something so satisfying about seeing all that steam hiss out of the pan. Growing up my mum owned an old fashioned pressure cooker, which if I’m perfectly honest, completely terrified me as a kid. When it was time for the figgy pudding to be done on Christmas Day we would all watch as she fought her way into the pan usually burning herself in the process and looking like she was fighting the most terrible hissing dragon at the same time.
Quarantine for many families has felt like living in a Instapot. Right now is a high pressure time. Kids are off school, missing their friends and trying to be motivated to learn. Many parents are working from home with said kids who don’t seem to understand the phrase ‘I’m in a meeting’. Marriages are being pushed to the limits and loneliness is a daily experience for many. The risk of getting ill from coronavirus for many has become a secondary fear to the pressure of the pot. But, here is the thing. Instapots make the best stews. There is something about the pressure environment that the Father uses to bring to the surface things that were hidden. The pressure whilst deeply uncomfortable, reveals to us things that the previous busyness and activity of life ignored and anesthetized. Right now for us as a community at Bridgeway the Father is using this quarantine to purify and purge the things that lie deep in our hearts. The things that are hidden from others and even ourselves.
We have said before on these blogs that this season is an invitation, but what if the invitation isn’t about how you present your family perfectly on social media. What if the invitation is to come to terms with, and accept your brokenness. To accept that there are places that you still need healing? What if the invitation is to rediscover the gospel of grace and truth. Jesus said He didn’t come for the healthy but for the sick. It takes guts to admit you still need a Saviour and you’re not perfect. It takes courage to share that with others. In the Bible Belt we are really good at convincing ourselves that we aren’t really sick. That we were saved and now we have it all together. BUT here’s the thing; if your stew tastes off it’s probably a sign you need some Jesus seasoning.
This quarantine time has shown us things as a community. It’s shown us that the women have been leading when the word clearly calls for it be husbands. It’s shown us that rebellion sits in our hearts and manifests in ways that our culture celebrates but our Lord does not. It has shown us that we ran around in life pretending we had it all together but when you put the pressure on and the stew begins to form, we realize we were celebrating our own works not the cross of Jesus. And here’s the thing. In the past that realization may have provoked shame, but now there is an invitation in the deep dive of experiencing grace. Jesus is not ashamed of our brokenness. He isn’t repelled by it. He calls us to come as we are. Our response is to hold our hearts, warts and all, and let him come to us in a new and vital way.