Burrito Blessings

A few years ago, I was walking through some pretty major depression and darkness.  I was perpetually discouraged and feeling like the things that God had equipped me to do – my gifts, talents, skills, and maybe even my actual PURPOSE were being buried under a great big pile of…circumstances, mostly.  

If I’m honest, it was kind of a “perfect storm” of things – some of which were of my own choosing –  that left me feeling undervalued, unseen, and unneeded, and at the same time, IRONICALLY feeling completely spent, over-expended and exhausted.  My inner ugly spilled out into everything. I was kind of a hot mess. 

In the midst of my darkness, one of my mentors reached out to me. She SAW me and knew I needed…something.  We met for dinner. Truth be told, she dragged me to dinner with her.  She spoke life and affirmation over my giftings and talents and helped me see things I hadn’t seen in myself. (Sidebar:  If you don’t have someone like this in your life, go find one).  

She flipped my perspective that day and gave me three blunt choices;  

  1.  Walk away from it all (she knew I wasn’t willing to do that). 
  2.  Accept the status quo (since we can never change OTHER people)
  3. Change me. 

She asked me if there was anything I could be doing to serve my community that would allow me to flow in SOME gifting that I had, even if it didn’t match all of my…*ahem*…ambitions at the time. 

The answer, she thought, was to lean into my love of hospitality.  I love to feed people, host people, know people, facilitate the knowing of people and all things that make people feel welcome, loved and like they BELONG. 

Sooo…after a little soul-searching (that’s another story), I embarked on a personal, one-woman hospitality mission for our worship ministry team. I serve on a ministry team that is busy together. We serve three days a week together, and sometimes more.  It’s a team that shows up before everyone else to prepare for multiple services. Several of our team members drive from 30-50 miles away to be here or come to serve with us after a week filled with 12-15 hour workdays or late-night shifts. They deserve some love, for sure. 

Something clicked in my soul after that dinner meeting, and I started taking it upon myself to do some simple things in a show of support and affirmation for these – my people and their ministry.  So, I’d do little things, like, make sure that everyone had a fresh cup of coffee at our late night rehearsals if they needed it, or refill their water cup..or remember their birthdays with a cake at practice.  One Sunday morning, I decided to get up really early and cook them a hot breakfast and had SO MUCH FUN serving them a pile of biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs.  I started bringing a hot breakfast for our team every Sunday morning – usually breakfast burritos of some sort.

 It became a tradition for me – a ritual, really – to stand in my kitchen sometime on Saturday, browning tortillas, scrambling eggs, and folding them into foil packages of love. It became my happy place. And with each burrito I rolled, I began to see the faces of the people – my people – who would eat them the next morning. As I saw their faces, I could feel the spirit of God prompt me with reminders of their lives and stories – and it became my call to prayer – for them, and for us as a community.  Pro Tip: Did you know that burritos taste better when they are prayed over? 

It also became a tradition for us to gather together in between services on Sunday to share this humble meal and, as food often does, it encouraged community and togetherness among the team.  Who knew that so many wonderful moments were hiding in a cooler bag of burritos? 

My bag of burritos has taught me so many things these past few years. God took a small, simple thing that I decided to give out of my emptiness and absolutely poured out blessing over me IN it and THROUGH it. Truly, my cup overflows. 

There have been weeks that I really don’t have time to cook, other weeks that our grocery budget is thin and it seems irresponsible to buy supplies for breakfast for 15-20 other people, and still other weeks that I am bone tired or Just. Don’t. Feel. Like. It.  But, mostly, I do it anyway.  Honestly, I have rarely missed a week in several years. And that’s not a brag, because you see, the blessing of my burritos is really more MY blessing than it is for anyone else. 

I’ll show you what I mean. I believe that naming our blessings is good practice for us and pleasing to the Lord, so I hope you’ll indulge me for a moment as I share with you all of the wonderful ways God has given back to me, ten-fold and more than I could ever give.  It’s true what they say – “You can’t outgive God.”  

Those weeks that I think I don’t have time to do this, or I feel “guilty” spending a few hours in the kitchen, cooking for others instead of hanging out with my boys, inevitably – some *thing* will come up that is a perfect reason that my husband can take the boys out for a few hours, freeing me up to find time for burritos.  Perhaps a friend’s birthday party at a pool or an invitation and free ticket to the reptile fair (totally not a mom thing), or sometimes – just a really dirty car that needs washing in our driveway.  I find a few hidden hours tucked away in the day, and, as an added blessing my boys are spending quality time with their daddy.

Time, multiplied.

Those weeks that I don’t feel like it, or have to really rally myself to do it because I’m TIRED, it seems there is always an extra reason to be grateful that I did it on Sunday morning.  We have a gentleman that comes to our church who is a part of the homeless community in our neighborhood.  It’s my privilege to share a burrito out of our cooler bag with Tony each week when he shows up for church. One Sunday morning, after a particularly grueling week, I ALMOST didn’t cook because…ugh…so tired.  We had a few people from our team NOT make the service that week, and I was left with a bunch of leftover burritos, which annoyed me because I hadn’t even felt like making them in the first place. Tony asked very politely if he could take the extras on his bicycle to a group of friends he knew were living by the creek and could really use the food today. Tears.  “Yes…Yes you can,” I said to him, and silently, “Thank you, Lord for using me IN SPITE OF ME today.”  Another day, I accidentally left the cooler bag at home and came home to a bag full of three dozen still-hot breakfast burritos in my entryway. All I could think about was how annoyed I was that my people didn’t get to eat, and how much my time, money and food was wasted and now….what?  Inspired by Tony, my eldest son and I pulled out the brown paper lunch sacks, quickly printed off a bunch of cards that said, “With love from the worship ministry of Evergreen Valley Church” and bagged them up with a bottle of water in each bag.  It was pouring down with rain that day, but those three hours Luke and I spent on a scavenger hunt, looking for homeless friends in the rain that we could pull over and share some love with were priceless. 

Love, multiplied.

Remember how I mentioned that some weeks, I really *shouldn’t* spend money on this tradition. One week, a man at our church pulled me aside and told me that God had laid it on his heart to thank me for my little burrito ministry and also to give me $100. He had NO idea how much we needed that money that week. It was a direct and overt gift from a loving God right to our bank account. The crazy thing is – this kept – KEEPS –  happening – and not just from that same man.  $20 slipped secretly into my hand and a quick whisper in my ear – “Thanks for the burritos.”  But often, it’s anonymous.  That’s what the photo here is –  yesterday, I got home to empty the salsa jar out of my empty cooler bag, and found it.  $40 cash rubber-banded to the jar.  Believe me when I say that THIS week, that money is literal pennies from Heaven.  

Money, multiplied. 

One more story:  A local grocery store has a policy of offering a weekend pickup of nearly expired or damaged packaging food that is literally going to be tossed in a dumpster.  A family in our church does this every week and then offers a free grocery store on their lawn on Saturday mornings for anyone in the community who needs it.  At the front lawn grocery store, there are women from the portuguese immigrant community who come and load their car to take back and share amongst them, single mamas, out-of-work-for-a-while folks who could use a little help to get by, etc.  It’s a beautiful thing they do.  One week, he invited us to come and see if we could use any of the surplus.  Turns out, there is always an abundance of eggs – usually because the cardboard package is ruined by a broken egg inside.  Guess who gets to collect a big ole’ pile of free eggs on Saturdays?  THIS GIRL.   

Food, multiplied.  

Do you see what I mean when I say, the burrito blessings are MINE?  Like the lyrics to the old hymn of the faith, Great is thy Faithfulness… “blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”  

I was given the best advice that day at dinner.  It can be said in a variety of trite ways; 

“Bloom where you’re planted…”  

“Be the change you want to see..” 

“Stop sulking, start serving”

But the truth is that pouring yourself out for the good of others brings GOODNESS back to you. It’s a beautiful design by a loving Creator who longs to see his world live in the perfect symbiotic harmony of serving one another.  

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

In my bag of burritos, I found community, joy, love, and purpose. And it all multiplied. 

That jar of salsa made me cry yesterday, (and not just from cutting the onions) and it was the inspiration to share my burrito blessings with you all. I hope the sharing of this testimony multiplies the blessings of my burritos over and over again in your own hearts and lives.  

A salsa jar full of blessing!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. californiacottonstyle
    Nov 30, 2019 @ 13:23:34

    This is so beautiful!! Everything…the truths it contains, the transparency, and the revealing of the heart from which it all poured. Love you so much, veteran friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Aubrey Schwietert
    Jan 03, 2020 @ 08:18:38

    Love you, Auntie! Beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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