Call it newlywed naiveté, but when Wade and I were first married, I just knew my vintage aluminum cookware was causing him premature dementia. When the honeymoon phase was over, I realized he’s a typical representation of the male gender: frequently forgetting the needed items that sent him to the grocery, or finding it difficult to multitask past watching sports and snacking (bless his big, wonderful heart). I’ve since parted with my robin’s egg blue pots and pans, but not because of any dementia diagnoses. Rather, I’ve gone back to my roots: cast iron.
Cast iron (CI) is basically indestructible (necessary for my kitchen, considering all the moves we made as baseball gypsies). I also love that when well-seasoned, CI is a chemical-free alternative to nonstick manufactures. My parents hardly ever cooked with anything else, but my fascination and appreciation grew when Wade and I lived a couple summers in Erie, Pennsylvania. Freezing cold Erie is home to the Detroit Tigers AA-Affiliate team (Go Seawolves!) and the former cast iron cookware producer, Griswold Manufacturing. Griswold products are renowned for their quality and are collector items in many a kitchen… just ask any dealer at your local World’s Biggest, Best, or Most Awesome Flea Market.
Many cooks, including my own mother, designate one cast iron skillet for delicious, southern cornbread. The idea is that the greasy skillet will remain seasoned for flawless bread. I’ve not used the one she gave me specifically for cornbread for any other purpose, but I’ve been tempted. Like Eve and the apple, it looks so good and perfect for cooking. Forbidden Fruit… Interdicted Iron…. Same thing?
Just as my mother knows best concerning skillets and cornbread (and about everything else, but that’s how mothers are), so our Heavenly Father knows best concerning our wellbeing. More than any prized pots and pans in our homes, God set us apart.
Examine the struggles you endure daily. Perhaps you are dealing with a difficult co-worker, financial constraints, failing health, aging parents, unruly children, or so on. Though it is never easy, St. Paul says to consider the problems “pure joy.” Each adversity and trial provide an opportunity to become more “seasoned.” If we stay true to who we are–set apart, made in the image of God–we will emerge refined and far more valuable than gold.
As followers of Christ, we have been set-apart. That gossipy co-worker, your impressionable kids, and the whole world see how you respond to the inevitable troubles of each day. They are watching, waiting with anxious anticipation on how you will react. Be holy. Offer grace. Be set apart for something good and special. Be a tool for God’s purpose. Need help? Just ask Him.