As women, have you ever thought of how similar we are to bread?
Some of us are Sweet:
Like a streusel topped coffee cake… warm from the oven… mouth-watering, delicate crumbles melting, drenching taste buds with delight…
like chocolate-almond biscotti for dunking in your coffee,
or a cinnamon roll dripping with icing,
a lemon-blueberry muffin or cranberry-pecan scone.
Sweet breads bring an immediate response of (*eyes close*) Mmm… pure pleasure.
As do sweet people… everywhere they go they spread sunshine, a joy to be around, a woman everyone loves… rarely disagreeable, never angry, never contentious.
Some of us are more Savory:
Like parmesan-herb bread,
buttermilk cornbread with chunks of diced onions, green chilis and whole kernel corn mixed in,
focaccia bread with rosemary, walnuts and garlic, drizzled with olive oil,
herb dumplings atop a bowl of meaty stew, or
artisan bread made with whole grains, sourdough, soft on the inside and deliciously crusty and chewy on the outside…
These women have a strength, substance that lends stability to their surroundings… some may not be drawn immediately to their opinions, but for those who take the time to get to know them, these women are satisfying to be around, just not in an overly sweet way… usually with a pungent touch… yet providing joy.
And some of us are plain:
Like simple sliced bread encasing grilled ham and cheese,
a flat tortilla… might become breakfast (filled with eggs, potatoes, cheese, etc.), lunch (a wrap with slices of meat and cheese and veggies), dinner (shredded beef and beans and cheese and sour cream and guacamole and more), dessert (sliced into strips, fried and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon), or
like a buttermilk biscuit… could be spread with honey or jelly (sweet), or topped with sausage gravy (savory).
These women may see themselves as having little of value, less to offer, perhaps feeling overlooked when God distributed talents… but in the right situations they become a valuable part of whatever they’re involved with… a work-related project, as a family member, on a ministry team, supportive, encouraging, uplifting, comforting.
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As I get older, though, I’m starting to wonder what kind of older woman I will be,
what kind of mother-in-law, what kind of grandmother, etc.,
and because friends and I have been baking bread lately—
and because my daughter tells me all the time
that I can find a spiritual analogy in anything—
I’ve been doing some thinking…
What happens to bread when it’s kept confined, all wrapped up in itself, inside plastic, with no space to breathe? When it’s not shared?
It breeds mold, and gets tossed.
(Although I recently learned, moldy bread does have one redeeming quality: chickens love it.)
As women when we’re too close, too warm and cozy, co-dependent, if we spend loads of time together being unproductive, for too long, or we become gossipy, possessive, insecure, clique-ish…
then bacteria grows, and we become useless in God’s kingdom, even unhealthy to those around us, detrimental.
What happens to bread when it’s left out in the air for too long, uneaten? When it’s not shared?
It becomes dry and crusty inside and out, stale, rock-hard.
As women if we’re left alone for too long, either by our own choice or by our circumstances,
If we keep to ourselves or we feel left out… we can become hermit-like, fearful, unfriendly, stingy, grumbling, proud (leave me alone, don’t need no help from nobody).
Yet, when bread gets stale, there’s still hope.
It can be dipped in olive oil, made into croutons, used for stuffing a turkey, or combined with gooey, buttery ingredients to make a delicious bread pudding.
Because dry, crusty bread just needs a little lubrication… a little love poured into a life.
Bread is meant to be shared and enjoyed, slathered and savored,
to avoid becoming moldy, inedible, dry, crusty, rock-hard…
Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.
Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,
For you do not know what evil will be on the earth. – Ecclesiastes 11:1-2
He that hath a generous eye shall be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor. – Proverbs 22:9
Like good bread, disappearing as quickly as it is sliced and buttered, Godly women have so much to offer—made in His image. Possessing a variety of flavors and textures, we too are meant to be shared. We were created for relationships, for the ultimate relationship.
Of course, time and labor are involved in making bread. But it’s time well spent and work that brings pleasure to those sampling the finished product. (*eyes close*) Mmm…!
Work was not given as punishment. From the beginning God designed us to be productive, creative, fulfilled by exercising the abilities He placed within us. God gave Adam and Eve work to do, before the fall ever took place. And good work is always blessed by God.
Laziness, though, is not.
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. – Proverbs 31:27
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We are like Bread, created in His likeness.
Jesus is Bread—the Living, all-sustaining, Life-giving Bread.
I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst. – John 6:35
His example is ours to follow…
He gave of Himself to meet physical needs—
John 6… the miracle of little boy’s lunch that multiplied in Jesus’ hands, feeding thousands, having food leftover, imagine his mother’s surprise as one dozen baskets of bread were delivered to her door…
With His words He met spiritual needs—
John 6:68… when followers turned away, Jesus asked the disciples if they wanted to leave also… but Peter said, Who would we go to? You’re the One with the words of Life.
Of course, He met our greatest need, becoming the Sacrifice that provided Pardon—
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:13-14
Then someday all who receive the Living Bread will sit with Him at a banquet table in Heaven, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7), the official celebratory start of eternity.
While residing still on this earth, you and I have a responsibility to be like Christ, to be Bread-like, daily offering ourselves as nourishment to those around us, to meet physical and emotional and spiritual needs.
Someone once said, and I’ve never forgotten it:
Sharing the good news of salvation is like one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.