My Life is Chopped.

choppedIt’s my fault; I’m sure, and I’m okay with that because I think it’s awesome. Our kids love Chopped. It’s one of very few shows that we (me and the two of them) enjoy together. Their shows, for the most part, bore me to death. My shows, for the most part, do the same to them. But combine cooking, presentation, a stop-clock and competition? Oh, and a giant chopping knife? YES! We’re all there.

Lately my girl, Ellie, has decided to host at-home versions of the popular FoodNetwork show. We don’t actually do the cooking; we certain abstain from throwing knives. We keep it simple (and safe). One person or team (usually it’s guys vs. girls) lists ingredients and the other imagines how to combine them and wow the judges.

If you’ve not seen the show, let me give a quick intro. Four chefs compete in three timed rounds: appetizer, entree and dessert. After each round, judges eliminate one chef. They’re “chopped” from the competition.

The tricky part comes in the baskets. For each round, contestants are given a basket of secret ingredients. Seconds before they must start cooking, they open these baskets to discover five unexpected components that must be utilized in that round. Imagine freeze-dried cherries, quinoa and octopus for the appetizer or bone marrow, cheese-filled pretzels and fresh mint for dessert. Stuff like that. (By the way, they are currently casting for the show, so if you’re interested, check out their website.)

My life is Chopped.

Earlier this week Jamie wrote about tacos and her inability to multitask well. That post was so me. IS so me. I don’t invite an abundance of simultaneous tasks and yet they keep crowding me out of my comfort zone. I dislike unexpected challenges and I’m rarely good at managing surprises with grace. And yet …

I watch these cool-under-pressure chefs and catch a glimmer of hope. These who have studied and prepared for this challenge work through awkward moments, mismatched ingredients and a stressful time crunch to create amazing dishes. Just like Jaime, they’re overwhelmed, but confident that they’re right where they’re supposed to be in that moment. I sit on my couch and judge which ones I like best. I take mental note of the ones I’d like to imitate and which surprising combinations cause my mouth to water. They’re judged and some win prizes, but all of them — all of them! — complete the seemingly impossible task. They survive. They create. And I’ve yet to see a judge vomit from the results.

Life has tossed me many unexpected ingredients. I admit I don’t always know what to do with them. I usually handle these opportunities with more impatience and grumbling than grace and civility. And yet …

I have studied. I have prepared. I continue to study and prepare and — Praise God! — the results are not in my hands alone. He’s helping me become the person who can manage all these things at once, crafting the seemingly impossible into something divine. The challenge exceeds me and I definitely feel overwhelmed at times, but am I where I’m supposed to be? I think so. Regardless of what missteps I might take, I am confident that God, in His infinite power and wisdom will make something amazing from all of this. He promises He will! And I’ve seen it.

My wedding week merged pneumonia, a record-setting blizzard, broken down vehicles, a late florist … and who could forget the veil on fire? Yeah. God took that completely disastrous day to start an amazing marriage. Fourteen years later I still can’t believe how blessed I am. He’s made something absolutely breath-taking from incompatible ingredients.

Remember two years ago when my son broke his leg? It wasn’t my ideal start to summer and yet God turned that into a precious, irreplaceable time for our family. We grew in ways we didn’t even know we lacked. We connected with our church and community in ways I didn’t know possible. Unlikely ingredients turned to delicious memories.

My mother loves Habakkuk. She frequently admonishes me with this verse:

“Look at the nations and watch– and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” — Habakkuk 1:5 (NIV)

My life may be Chopped, but there’s no telling, no imagining, what may become of it.

Talk to me.

What have you seen God do with seemingly impossible the ingredients in your life?

Talk to me!