Perhaps it was God’s grace that our five year plan collapsed after seven months of marriage when we found out I was pregnant with Ava. Had our five year plan actually materialized, maybe I would’ve thought I was ready. And I would’ve fallen that much harder to the reality that I’d never be ready, I’d never do mommying perfectly. Despite my best efforts, I lose my temper, I say things I don’t mean, I serve food that’s not nutritious, and am generally utterly imperfect.
When Ava came to be, I knew from the start that I am not in control. At first I found this to be infuriating and terrifying. Looking back, I’m not sure if I completely surrendered those feelings to God until after Ava was born, and even now I occasionally slip back into them. But I often take great comfort in knowing I’m not in control. I know from experience that God’s plan is better than mine. Ava entered the world because God wanted her here, and we are blessed because of her. (And also blessed by Benjamin, who God also planned, but we were cued into that plan a little sooner.)
I’ve always wanted children. My childhood friend Jenny reminded me of that, while I was still mourning the loss of the future I envisioned. She reminded me that I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do for a paycheck, but I knew I wanted to be a mom, even in high school.
As a the fulfillment of a life-long dream, it’s difficult not to make Ava and Benjamin my reason for living. But when they become my reason for living, we all suffer. When I find my meaning in their happiness and success, my world crumbles when someone doesn’t quite make it to the toilet on time, when one is inconsolable, when one refuses to nap…when anything goes wrong.
If I find my purpose in God, if I look at each day as an opportunity to do the good works God has prepared for me, those challenges are transformed into…something a little less challenging.
Ha, yesterday was a particularly grueling day in the trenches. It felt like my children were each determined to have my full attention, and meanwhile, I was determined to clean the house. My floors were past disgusting and into health-department-hazard territory, especially since my son tends to eat off them. So I purposed to make my floors clean enough to eat off of. And just add icing on the miserable cake, it was over ninety degrees yesterday, and we don’t have air conditioning.
I was grumbling in my heart, but out of nowhere I started humming, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice!” I don’t want to! “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” I could not get that song/verse out of my head for the life of me, and I just had to laugh.
It’s nice to know that God sometimes “speaks” like that.
And it’s nice to have comfort foods like this jambalaya. Next time I’m definitely adding shrimp, but I knew I would be reheating this again and again throughout the week for lunches, and shrimp does not reheat well.
2 Chicken Breasts, Cut into Bite-Sized Pieces
1 Pound of Andouille Sausage, Sliced
2 Tablespoons of Olnm ive Oil
1 Onion, Diced
2 Peppers, Chopped
1-2 Jalapeno(s), Deseeded and Diced (Depending on how spicy you like it, for more spice, keep the seeds)
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
14 Ounce Can of Diced Tomatoes
4-5 Cups of Chicken Broth (Start with 4 and add as needed)
1 1/2 Cups of Rice (Uncooked)
1-3 Tablespoons of Creole Seasoning (Depending on how spicy you like it)
1 Teaspoon of Thyme
1 Pound of Shrimp (Recommended)
Green Onions and Jalapeno Rounds (To Garnish, Optional)
Heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion, peppers, jalapeno(s), and garlic and saute until softened, about five minutes.
Add the chicken and sausage and continue cooking for another five minutes.
Add the un-drained diced tomatoes, chicken broth and rice.
Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low.
Stir in the creole seasoning and thyme.
Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through, adding water as needed.
Remove the lid and let simmer for another ten minutes or so.
Garnish and serve.
Because we have a toddler, I used only one deseeded jalapeno and one tablespoon of Creole seasoning. Ava had no trouble with it at that spice level, but other young ones might because the sausage is also spicy.
I also used the Creole seasoning to make Olga Snackers at the bottom of this recipe.