Mama Mia!

Renae Brumbaugh Green Coffee Talk


 make the world’s best lasagna. 

Actually I don’t, but my kids think I do, and who am I to tell them they’re wrong? It might damage their delicate psyches. So being the good mother that I am, I let them continue in their delusion that I am somehow a long-lost Italian who makes lasagna that mafia members kill for. 

If you knew how easy my recipe is, you’d strip away my title quicker than I can say Mama Mia, so I’m not going to tell you. Let’s just say that I don’t boil my lasagna noodles before baking them. And I use at least one ingredient from a can. 

The secret to great lasagna is in the layering, I think. You have to layer a wet ingredient against a dry one, or the noodles won’t soften. You must layer a savory ingredient next to a creamy one, and a starch next to a protein. And you need to sprinkle a good dose of the very best spices McCormick’s has to offer between every single layer. 

Then, you bake it in a just-right oven beneath a tin-foil lid. This allows the steam to stay inside the pan and soften the noodles even more. For the last five minutes, you take the foil off, scatter a hefty dose of grated mozzarella and Parmesan on top, and leave it in the oven just until the cheese melts. The results are ooey, gooey, ribbon-like layers of creamy, salty goodness that could end wars. I think the answer to world peace could lie in a really great Italian dinner. 

Though I’m not planning to entertain any heads of state any time soon, I do think there’s a deeper lesson hidden between those curly ribbons of pasta. The secret to a meaningful, purpose-filled life is in the layering. 

Truth, when it’s not blanketed with kindness, can be sharp and dry. Not very appetizing at all. Compassion given without sound judgment can reap disastrous results. And if there’s not a healthy dose of wisdom sprinkled between each layer, you’re gonna end up with something pretty bland. Finally, everything in the recipe needs to be covered with a thick blanket of mouth-watering, melted love. 

We can control the ingredients, but the Master Chef controls the climate. He’s the one who turns up the heat, and He’s the one who decides when it’s time to cool. When we do our part, and let Him do His part, the results are a life that people hunger for, a life so full of mouth-watering goodness, it can end wars. Or change lives. 

When I review the elements that have gone into the recipe of my life thus far, I can see where I’ve been tempted to take shortcuts, or skimp on the quality of ingredients. I’ve tried to avoid the heat of the oven, or I’ve released too much steam, too soon. Fortunately, God’s not finished with me. He’s still got some high-quality spices to add, and I’m going to do my best to trust Him. 

But I’ve gotta say, I never realized until this very moment that God is Italian. 

“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him,” Psalm 34:8.

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