This post is real life. Baking’s a light topic and Bible study enriching; and then there’s the stuff of life that forces you to stop.
It was nineteen years ago. Nineteen years ago, yet my eyes sting and my jaw tenses at the memory.
Are there some people who so deeply impact your life that the thought of them, decades after they’re gone, still causes an ache in your chest?
Mimi was that person for me.
When I was a child, she was one for whom the mere imagination of life without her would have me falling apart. Mimi, the joyful one whose smile would spread itself into my far-too-serious-for-my-age mind. Mimi, the Southern one whose salty, fried chicken and Lipton lemon tea would make my mouth water. Mimi, the fragile one who empathized with my physical struggles yet infused me with endurance by the stroke of her arthritic hands through my hair. Mimi, the Godly one who taught me how to pray with relentless dedication and to iron every wrinkle out of my Grandy’s white handkerchiefs with nearly equal fervor. Mimi, the delightful one who dreamed my dreams as dreamy-eyed as if they were her own. Mimi, the remarkable one whose faith was rivaled by nothing – save her fear – and both were gigantic. She taught me how nothing compared to knowing the gift of God’s Word as she obeyed it, shared it, was held together by it and loved it limitlessly everyday.
Three things about grief
1. Grief is weird.
It hits at the most unexpected times and ways. Grief is as unpredictable as the loss that spawns it.
I’ve cried the cries that wrench my gut and make me crumble in a heap, yet force their way up and out long after all tears are shed and dried. I’ve cried the type that demand of the grieved every ounce of strength remaining inside the void left from saying goodbye. Have you?
For me, it’s been three grandparents, Mimi, Grandy and Pawpaw and my baby sister, Joy. Although I was too young to meet Joy, there are moments I mourn the absence her life would have certainly filled in our family. I loved them all more than I realized and thank God for their lives.
See, whether you were blessed with one hour or one million hours with your loved one, their life’s imprint on yours is indelible.
2. Grief is insensitive
The other thing about grief is how savagely it requires the ones you love – those who are still with you on this side of the veil – to endure the agony of goodbye. Grief collides for them, like you, in inopportune and completely unfair ways. Sometimes I struggle identifying which is worse: mourning the loss of your departed or contending for your living loved ones to pull through their own post-traumatic wake of grief.
Time eases the acute agony of grieving, but a chronic, ebb-and-flow ache remains. Grief is synonymous with living and loving.
3. Grief is temporary
In all this, as 1 Thessalonians 4:13 exhorts, I do not grieve as others who have no hope. Because my loved ones and I were followers of Christ, I have take-it-to-the-bank hope that we will be joyfully reunited in Heaven. Grief is temporary, HOPE IS ETERNAL.
Mimi’s highlighted words of 1 Peter 3:11 in her well-worn Bible are poignantly telling. We are only visitors here in this world. Our real home is Heaven. Our hope is an eternal, Heavenly reunion.
Do you have a special someone who left you with a feast of memories?
Food is inextricably centric to our lives, our upbringings, our memories. Food is a binding thread weaving families together through the cycles of life – weddings, holidays, baby showers, birthdays, breakfast tables and a bowl of soup near the end.
In Mimi’s honor, I share with you her Tea Cookie recipe. She usually had a fresh batch on her kitchen counter beckoning family to devour.
Is anything about this recipe healthy? Nope. Mimi didn’t know much about trans fatty acids or inflammatory sugar. In her day, few did! Healthier suggestions are in parentheses, but the recipe is given in keeping with her traditional preferences.
Sometimes even a never-let-up-eat-clean Health Coach misses her Mimi and her Mimi’s cooking.
Believe the Truth about Loss
The truth is that nineteen years come and go, yet…
Jesus remains the same.
Hebrews 13:8 reassures us of that Truth. Jesus felt grief. He loved and lost. He wept. He poured His heart out to His Father. He moved ahead with His purpose. I want to follow His model.
There is a time and a season for Godly sorrow.
God is near the broken hearted. He bandages their wounds, soothes their ache and gives them strength for one more night’s sleep…for one more step forward. I thought I’d fall apart, without Mimi, but I didn’t. I haven’t. The faith she modeled caused my roots to establish more deeply in God. Instead of pointing me to herself, Mimi pointed me to her eternal source – the Heavenly Father. I’m stronger and better for being hers…and being His.
Weeping may endure for a night, But joy eventually returns.
Are you grieving?
Simply choose the next right response.
Which, the next right response is always pouring your heart out to the Lord.
…And then, do what Mimi would do.
With love and butter,
MIMI’S TEA COOKIES
- 1 cup Butter Flavor Crisco (half coconut oil, half butter)
- 2 tablespoons milk (may use raw milk or any plant based milk)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (scant half of cup honey or 15 packets stevia)
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (freshly milled soft white wheat flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (Real Salt variety of sea salt)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream Butter Flavor Crisco, milk and almond extract in large bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Beat in granulated sugar.
3. Combine flour and salt, then slowly mix it into the wet mixture.
4. Shape dough into balls using one level tablespoon for each and roll them in your warm hands. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes. (Cookies will not brown. Do not overbake!) Remove to cooling rack. Makes about 3 dozen tea cookies.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 MEV