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Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

My Life as an Iron Skillet
Date Posted: May 17, 2009

"Great oaks grow from acorns small."
"Growth takes time, and every stage of it
is part of His sovereign plan."
Minette Allmoslecher

I'd been working for several days trying to get my new iron skillet seasoned. It was an after Christmas gift from my mom who had listened to me complain for a year that my old one was getting too small. It's amazing how complaining for a year can actually result in exactly what you want--a monstrous iron skillet big enough to cook 6 pieces of chicken all at the same time.

So now that I'd gotten what I wanted, I had to make it useable. You can't just whip an iron skillet out of the box and start frying in it. I saw a girl do that once on a camping trip, and I about had a southern heart attack. It took her an hour to get the stuck potatoes off the skillet when she was done making dinner.

An iron skillet has to be seasoned, which isn't as hard as it sounds. You coat the inside and outside of the skillet with oil, turn it upside down in the oven, and bake it for an hour. After it cools, you've got a seasoned skillet, but just barely seasoned. It's really better to do that at least 3 or 4 times before you cook in it.

So that's what I was doing- trying to get a nice, smooth surface that would rival any scratches-too-easy-can-only-use-plastic-utensils Teflon coating. I clutched my new skillet with both hands, brought it out of the oven, and clunked it down on top of the stove. It was getting darker, but not as dark and not as smooth as I wanted.

As those words passed through my brain, I noticed my old iron skillet on the other burner. The contrast between the two skillets was dramatic. That skillet had been a wedding present 18 years earlier!! No wonder it was so much darker than my new skillet. It had passed through the fires of my oven thousands of times, and each time the heat and oil had made it smoother and smoother, and easier to use. I could fry eggs in that pan with no hint the pan had even been used.

I thought of how hard marriage had been those first couple of years, but how the end of each argument brought us closer and made life easier. I thought of how hard it had been to leave the dream of land for my boys and move to the city because we believe God wants us here. Now we are getting more comfortable in this community, more connected, and beginning to see God use us.

I'm even beginning to get more comfortable at my new job that is sometimes overwhelming and more than a little challenging. With each trip through the oil and fire, I know I'll get better, and life will get smoother.

Romans 5:4-5 says: "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

If your life is a skillet, what's your oven right now: A hard time in your marriage; an impossible financial situation; a bitter loneliness; an irritating colleague? Ask God to give you perseverance so you can develop character, so he can give you hope-- hope that life gets smoother, and we get more useable with each trip through the fire.

"Refreshment in Refuge" from Gina Burgess

Pharaoh's hard heart

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Biography Information:
I'm a preacher's kid, pastor's wife, and southern belle who married a Southern California boy. Can you say 'culture clash?' Scott and I have four boys - Max, Mark, Jackson, and Grant who keep us busy with homework and sports.

Scott and I have been married 22 years and currently live in Northern California where we are beginning year five as church planters. I also teach 12th grade English and love it.

I would love to hear from you. Email me anytime at melissa.g.mathews@gmail.com
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