January 15, 2012

Man does not live by bread alone

It happened nearly two weeks ago today.  I had spent the better part of 20 minutes going through the ritual of readying myself and my 14-month-old daughter to run errands, just to get out of the house.  I don’t even remember where to; that part seemed insignificant.  It was a particularly cold day for the mild Alabama winter we were having and I was feeling restless because it was too cold to go for a walk and I was getting “stay-at-home mom” stir crazy!  I had put on my coat and bundled Amelia up with an adorable new toboggan squeezed down over her tiny ears, when I heard someone on the other side of the door.  For a moment I was confused, not expecting my husband home from work until the evening, then half worried that an unwelcome stranger might be on the other side of the front door.  Before I could process these thoughts, I saw my husband’s face peek out from around the door wearing a pained, chagrined expression.  “I lost my job,” he said as his eyes met mine.  We hugged and I cried, but somehow I believed we would be okay.

Amelia looking adorable just before the bad news hit!  

With that single statement our lives have once again been shaken.  My husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on January 10th and I must say that these few years have been filled with the unexpected: both joyful and painful.  I’ve learned that nothing is certain and nothing should be taken for granted, but our circumstances keep changing nonetheless so God must have something more to teach us.

The day Jeremy lost his job, the ground beneath my feet shifted and the only thing left to stand on was Jesus Christ himself, the only one who never changes.  I needed to DO SOMETHING in my helplessness.  So I decided it was the perfect time to try my hand at baking homemade bread.  There is something about taking a few simple ingredients and turning them into something warm, delicious, and life-sustaining that is quite satisfying.  And who doesn’t love the smell of fresh-baked bread?  I must admit that have always been intimidated by the idea of bread making.  I love baking in general, but bread made with yeast seemed out of my league.  But desperate times call for bold acts of baking!

For my first attempt, I used Jamie Oliver’s basic bread recipe (see page 236 of “Happy Days with the Naked Chef”) with a few tips from Alton Brown thrown in for good measure…and accuracy.  Jamie likes to use words like “bashing” and “squashing” and recommends tapping the bottom of the bread to tell if it’s done, while Alton recommends using a stand mixer with a hook attachment (which I don’t have) to knead the dough, cooking the bread on a terracotta bowl from the bottom of a planter (don’t have that either), and determines doneness using a thermometer (my meat thermometer didn’t really work).  I decided to take these juxtaposed methods and find my own happy medium; so I used my hands, basically went by appearance and tapping for doneness, and baked the bread on a pizza stone.  (Tip: definitely spray the bowl with some non-stick spray before you let the dough rise or the dough will stick to the bowl).

Before Rise
Ready? Drum roll…........ta da!          

After Baking
My results were less than aesthetically stellar, but very tasty!  I think my bread was a bit underdone, but that just made it moist and chewy, not bad at all.  After a few days, I took a few pieces and made an indulgent French toast breakfast for myself.

Over the past two weeks, God has been reminding me of his faithfulness and that He alone is my provider.  I have been meditating on Deuteronomy 8, which I highly recommend if you need to be reminded of God’s loving faithfulness to his children in times of trial.  The next time I bake bread (and there will be a next time) I’ll think back on the way the Lord comforted me and gave me peace as my hands worked the dough and how he met all of my needs during these days of uncertainty.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.  (Deuteronomy 8: 2-3)



  1. Sis, it is so good to read how you both are doing. It seems like God is getting you ready for some pretty intense stuff... no idea what, but I'm encouraged to see how you are handling everything. You are such a great wife/mom for your family and I'm incredibly grateful that Jeremy has you in his life. Amelia looks so adorable in her little hat, and the bread looks delicious. We'll continue to pray for you and get the word out about Jer's job hunt. I can't wait to see how God continues to grow you all and provide for your family, but I pray that relief comes soon. Hang in there.

    -|- Josh

    James 1:2-4

  2. Melissa,

    Love your story and the godly perspective of your heart. You are so transparent, and are not afraid to admit your fears, and yet you heartily embrace God's perfect love and plan for you, not knowing how it will all work out! That I could have had that faith when I was your age! You inspire me! That bread looks so good- something that is so comforting to body and soul to create!

    Love you,