Sharing Life….Sharing Recipes

Recently I was tagged in a Facebook post from a precious young woman who has attended several of my Tasting Grace sessions. Her message about a recipe I had taught the women to make blessed my heart so much. Here it is:

So I made the banana pudding for Thanksgiving lunch at work today. One person told me it was the best he ever had. And another said that it was the star of the meal…the best thing there. Thanks for teaching me!! I plan on making it again next week for family Thanksgiving!

She came to my fall Tasting Grace session where I taught the ladies to make two desserts: banana pudding and pumpkin bread. I can’t help it, y’all. I love to bake, but I also just love to cook. Equally important is that I love to eat. You too? Which one or all three…bake, cook, eat?

 

Sharing Life, Sharing Recipes Banana Pudding

Do you know about my Tasting Grace events? Oooooo, let me tell you about them, then I am going to share the recipe for the Banana Pudding.

A few years ago the Lord turned on a lightbulb in my brain after seeing my friend and co-author, Jan, post on Facebook about something she was doing in her home church. Once a quarter she brought women, old and young, into their church kitchen and taught them how to make homemade dishes from tried and true recipes. In the post that brought about my epiphany the group had made homemade biscuits.

I thought, well shoot, I can make homemade biscuits and I bet there are a few women in my area who might like to learn how to make them. So, I tossed out an invite on Facebook and lo, and behold, I had a handful of women who wanted to learn how to make biscuits. It was a tasty success and the rest is history. I try to host Tasting Grace once a month, but it doesn’t always happen.

I charge a small fee for each class…just enough to cover the costs of ingredients. I begin each session with a short devotion time, then we wash our hands, don our aprons, and begin cooking. We laugh and share life while we cook, then we taste our creations. Each woman goes home with a copy of the recipe we made so she can reproduce it in her own kitchen.

I really believe this is what Paul had in mind when he instructed Titus to have the older women teach the younger women. So many young women (and some older ones) did not have stay-at-home moms. Consequently, they never had the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with their mom while she cooked. They likely never learned how to make many of the homemade dishes that are staples in the southern diet.

The Tasting Grace sessions have been such a blessing to me as I share my knowledge of cooking and baking, as well as a bit of Jesus and general life knowledge.

Even though my Tasting Grace Bible study published two years ago, I have not said much about it recently. So, I thought now might be a good time. The Tasting Grace Bible study is a 4 week study focusing on mentoring. It also tells how you can start your own Tasting Grace ministry in your church or home. We included lots of devotions, recipes, and instructions for starting Tasting Grace. Try pouring into the lives of the women in your circle by teaching them something you know….it might be cooking or it might be a craft. See if you don’t find so much satisfaction in touching those lives.

So, now for the Banana Pudding Recipe. This is made from scratch…no boxed pudding in this recipe. I must preface this by saying my family does not like meringue, or as my Daddy called it, “calf-slobber”. Because of that I make a homemade whipped cream for the topping on the pudding. The recipe for this is included below. There is also a download that will let you print the recipe. Mmmmm, mmmmm. This dessert is so good you will make it over and over.

 

Leah's Banana Pudding

 

Leah’s Banana Pudding Recipe        

Pudding:

1 ½ cups sugar

⅓ cup cornstarch

4 cups half and half

8 egg yolks

6 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring

4-6 bananas, sliced

1 box vanilla wafers

 

Whipped Cream Topping:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla flavoring

 

To make pudding: In medium saucepan mix sugar and cornstarch. Add half and half and egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla.

Place ½ of pudding in bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with layers of vanilla wafers and bananas. Repeat using remainder of pudding, bananas and wafers.

Topping: In a mixing bowl beat whipping cream at high speed. Gradually add sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over pudding. Serve warm or chilled.

SDG/FCA!!

This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Living in Not Enough -land?

 

 

Y’all! I found out during my quiet time with Jesus this morning that I have a brother, or should I say, another brother.

I’ve long said that I am the prodigal son’s sister. Truly, I earned that sisterhood years ago. I made some stupid character and lifestyle choices in my 20s that earned me more than one trip to God’s woodshed. Because of the love, grace, and mercy of Jesus and the forgiveness He offers, my sinful choices have been forgiven, and yours can be too, if you know Jesus. I feel no shame or guilt over those choices because Jesus has taken my messes and made them my message!

 

Are You living in Not-Enoughland

 

This morning I was reading in Exodus 3. This is the chapter where Moses happens upon a burning bush that doesn’t burn. Take a gander at verses 5-14 (NKJV).

 

5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.

8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.

9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.

10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

 

Moses, who works for his father-in-law, Jethro, is out wrangling sheep on the backside of the desert. Notice he was not just on the edge of the desert, but he was on the backside of the desert. Lord have mercy, how many times does life seem to kick us to the backside of the desert? Moses was hot, dusty, dodging sheep poop every step, maybe hungry, missing his wife, and just alone with a bunch of smelly sheep. Shew—eeee!!!

May I tell you that the backside of the desert is probably the very place where God will show up in your life and mine? He seems to have a strange affinity for the desert.

Moses happens upon a bush that appears to be burning, but, wait! It is not burning UP. That’s southern for ‘the bush was not disappearing in a heap of ashes’. Suddenly, the bush talks to Moses. Actually, the angel of the Lord was doing the talking from the bus. The Lord proceeds to tell Moses that He (God) has seen the distress and captivity of the Israelites, and it is time to do something about it, and ‘You’re my guy, Moses!’.

This is the point at which I realized that Moses and I are related. Take look at verse 11 again. God is calling Moses to join Him in leading the Israelites out of captivity, and what does Moses say?

“Me? Not me. Although you are G-O-D and have never made a mistake before, there is always a first and this is it. I don’t talk very well. I would not know what to say. I’m not ENOUGH.”  

I don’t know about you, friend, but all too often my words, actions, and thoughts are those of ‘NOT ENOUGH’. I lived in Not Enough-land for so much of my life, yet recently I made a conscious decision to leave that place. I am ENOUGH in Jesus. He would not have died for me had I not been enough. His Spirit living within me makes me worthy and valuable and ENOUGH.

Maybe you have never lived in ‘Not Enough-land’, but I bet some of you have, and you are so weary of always feeling like you are not enough. Would you allow me to whisper something into your heart today?

I AM says that YOU are ENOUGH.

You were important ENOUGH for Him to send His only Son to die for your sin.

If you are a Jesus-follower, you are beautiful ENOUGH because you have His Spirit living inside you.

You are MORE. THAN. ENOUGH.

Now, walk that out in faith and when Satan tries to tell you you are NOT ENOUGH, tell Him that Jesus says you are MORE THAN ENOUGH. Tell Him that you are the bride of Christ, a daughter {or son} of the King, a chosen one, a royal priesthood. Tell Satan that you are called, loved, chosen, adopted, and redeemed by the God of Heaven.

Because of Jesus, YOU ARE ENOUGH! If God wants to use you or me or Moses to do something spectacular, then let’s stop this ridiculousness about not being good/smart/thin/talented/rich/popular or whatever kind of ‘enough’ you routinely use to fill in the blank. You are enough!

Friend, do you live in Not Enough-land? I would love to pray for you. Leave me a comment or send me an email to info@leahadams.org. It would be my privilege to pray for you as you learn to walk in your identity in Christ as one who is more than enough.

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

God Never Wastes a Trial

“God never wastes a trial.”

If I had to choose a motto for my life, this would be one of my top five. You might think, “why in the world would you choose a motto about trials?” Great question! You see, sometimes the most seemingly ridiculous things end up being beautiful and good. Let me explain.

Imagine that I had one of those moments where my life flashed before my eyes and I was blessed with the benefit of seeing a panorama of events, both good and bad. I would see moments of love and joy, sidled up next to moments of pain and heartache. I would see stellar life choices that I made, but also some amazingly poor choices that brought great sorrow and distress into my life. You, too?

But, let me tell you the beautiful thing in all of this hot mess that is my life. God never wastes a trial or a heartache.  Every poor choice, every time those choices brought pain. Shoot! Even when my choices are good and right, there is the opportunity for God to bring something beautiful and useful out of a heap of ashes or bed of roses. AND HE DOES! I’ve seen it time and time again in my life.

 

God Never Wastes a Trial

 

 

Case in point! Years ago I shared about my decades-ago struggles with loving a family member in this video. Frequently, when I speak to women, I have the opportunity to share this same story. I cannot even begin to count how many times women have come up to me and said, What? You too? I thought I was the only one who felt that way! Just last week I had the privilege of coming alongside a beautiful young woman who is walking this very path in her own life. I pray that I was able to speak encouragement into her heart in regard to loving a family member when all you feel is anger toward them.

It is in those moments that the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 comes alive:

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I cannot resist giving you verse 4 from The Message:

 

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

It is true, y’all…..God never wastes a trial. He has purpose in them. He has good in them. They may not feel good or purposeful. You may just have to grit your teeth and think, ‘this too shall pass. It is passing like a kidney stone, but I have faith that it will pass…and that God will somehow redeem it.”

Even as I type this post I am walking a path where another person is slandering my character and reputation with lies and twisted truth, yet I keep trusting that God’s got it and that one day I will be able to use the comfort I am receiving from Him to comfort another person going through similar circumstances.

Do you have a 2 Corinthians 1:4 testimony? Sister, God did not allow difficult circumstances in your life for no reason at all. He has purpose in them, but you must walk by faith toward that purpose until you can see it with your eyes. If you can see above the circumstances to the good that God is working in your heart, are you willing to share it to encourage other people? I would love to read how God has comforted you in a difficult situation so that you can turn around and comfort others going through similar situations. Would you share in the comments or via email?

God never wastes a trial!

SDG/FCA!!

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Here is the link to a book that has brought me great peace in times of trial and trouble. I encourage you to check it out.

A Marriage Expert I am NOT, But Have I Got a Book for You!

I just decided to go ahead and throw it right on out there in the beginning. I’m NOT a marriage expert. In fact, I probably need as much help in the marriage department as the next person. I got an ‘F’ in marriage the first time around. I was young (21) and dumb and needy and sick. Very sick! I had no business saying I do at that time, but it seemed easier than saying ‘I don’t’. So I did. What a mistake!

 

I am not a marriage expert

 

Fast forward to me at the ripe old age of 30. I said ‘I do’ again. This time I made a better choice, but still I went into marriage with unrealistic expectations and unexplored issues. Lord, help me, did I have issues!  And because we did not seek pre-marital counseling I lived with those expectations and issues for a very long time. I thought my marriage would be like that of my parents, but what never hit me until recently is that Greg and I are not Wayne and Barbara. We have different personalities, needs, expectations, and desires than my parents had. Why that never clicked with me blows my mind, but alas, it did not.

A couple of months ago I was reading a book by Chip Ingram called “Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have In Common.

 

 

One of the chapters in this book is about reading great books. Ingram offered several books that have impacted his life. One of those was a book about communication in marriage. In the moment I read what Ingram wrote about the book, the Holy Spirit urged me to immediately order it, because who doesn’t need better communication in their marriage, right?  Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright is the book, and I will shamelessly give you my affiliate link to the book’s page on Amazon. I want you to order it if you are married or want to be married. Do it now! You will not be sorry.

 

Friends, this book has rocked my world. It took me two solid weeks to get past the first chapter. Not because the reading is hard, (it is not), but because the material stopped me dead in my tracks and gave me so much to ponder. The first words in Chapter 1 are “Why did you marry?” As if that was not enough, in the same first paragraph Wright asks this question, “What did you expect from marriage?” Two weeks, people! Two weeks it took me to work through those two questions. Then on page 3 I find this:

 

Commitment is more than maintaining; it is more than continuing to stick it out and suffer with a poor choice of a spouse. Commitment is investing–working to make the relationship grow.

 

Before you assume I made a poor choice in a spouse, please hear me loud and clear, I DID NOT. Greg is a wonderful husband. He may think he made a poor choice in a spouse, but I clearly out kicked my coverage when I married Greg. What got me from that quote is that all too often husbands and wives just stick it out rather than invest in their marriage. I want to invest in my marriage. I want to up the level of our communication and make our marriage even better. I want the next 22 years to be even better than the past 22 have been.

If I could give every married and planning-to-be-married couple a copy of this book, I would. It is that good, y’all….or maybe I am just that slow of a study when it comes to marital communication. There are some young couples in my sphere of influence who will be walking down the aisle soon and you better bet your sweet bippy that I will be giving them a copy of this book.

This book by Emerson Eggerichs is another one that I recommend and will be giving:

 

 

If you feel like you are talking to an alien when you talk to your spouse, if you feel like your husband never listens to you, if you feel like your man never shares his feelings with you, if you just have a desire to have a better marriage, then Communication by Wright is for you. Order it today!

I know there are other wonderful books on marriage and communication out there. I would love to hear your recommendations for books about marriage and/or communication. This is truly one way we can be iron sharpening iron for each other.

 

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: Affiliate links are present in this post.

 

When Life Looks Different Than What You Had Planned

Every week I am privileged to spend an hour or so of private time with my pastor’s sweet wife, Becca. We talk, we share, we cry, we pray, we simply do life together. She is young enough to be my daughter, and I love her as if she were. She is a beautiful, honest, all-out-crazy-for-Jesus young woman. Her heart is very much for seeing those who do not know Jesus come to Him, and she is a blessing to me in a dozen different ways.

Recently we were talking about how God’s plans often end up looking very different from the plans that we make for our life. I shared with her how true that is for me, especially in regard to ministry.

 

When Life Looks Different Than What you Had Planned

 

I told her that when the Lord called me into ministry in 2007, He made it so clear that I was to speak and teach God’s Word. He confirmed it through several avenues, and so I stepped boldly into that calling. To be very transparent, I secretly hoped I would be the next Christian teacher ‘star’….’the next Beth Moore’, as so many told me at my speaking engagements. I know….ten years into this wild ministry ride, I see how ridiculous and prideful that sounds, but I’m just being honest with you.

For about seven years all of my dreams seemed to be on track. I spoke at ladies events all over the southeast. I was blessed to write and publish four books. Ministry life was good and going according to ‘my plans’. I held on tightly to a quote I read on a flip calendar somewhere. It said something like this: It can take ten years to be an ‘overnight sensation’.

As Becca and I talked, I shared with her that when my ministry began to change, at first I was not happy with God about it. I saw other speakers going on to bigger and better things, while God seemed to be drawing down my ministry. Oh, He was not pulling me out of ministry. Rather, He was changing what ministry looked like for me. Instead of the big stage, it was more one-on-one and small group ministry. Instead of preparing messages to be delivered to a few hundred women, I was pulling together ingredients for making biscuits and pound cakes and chicken and dressing. Instead of spending time writing more books, I am spending face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder time loving on, mentoring, and doing life with women. And you know what, now I love it and I cannot imagine doing anything else.

 

God uses broken things

 

 

I had a choice about how I would respond when God changed up ministry. I could have been angry with Him and pouted. (yeah, that would have worked out well!) I could have been jealous over the speaking opportunities and book contracts that other people received. (hmmm, that would have been pretty!) Instead I bent my knee to God’s plan and have found incredible peace and satisfaction in ministry. Don’t misunderstand me, there were fleeting moments of ‘why, God?’ questions and green-with-envy jealousy, but those were only for a moment. I knew that God sees the big picture, and whatever He ordains for me is for my good and for His glory. I realized that to grasp for anything else is relational suicide as far as my relationship with God goes.

Sometime after Becca and I shared that conversation I received a text from her that made my heart so full of love for her and gratitude to God for how He is allowing me to serve His kingdom.

I love you so much, Leah. I’m so, so, so, so thankful God didn’t make you the ‘next Beth Moore” because our time on the porch feels like the closest thing to Heaven on earth to me. I am so glad you’re in my life. Thank you.

I do not always do life and ministry perfectly, but I love that He trusts me with it at all. Me! A woman who has made her share of mistakes and oopsies in life, but who falls so heavily on the grace and mercy of Jesus.

Part of the ‘new’ look for ministry for me is the upcoming Come Away retreat that I am hosting in September. I’d love for you to pray about attending.

 

Come Away Retreat

 

Come Away will be an intimate time of leaning into Jesus through worship, Scripture study, and prayer. We will set aside tweets and posts and hashtags in order to hear from Jesus about how crazy He is over us. The retreat will be held September 15-17, 2017. Pop over HERE to learn more details.

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

7 Ways to Study the Bible ~ Bible Study Methods By Arabah Joy

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

In late 2000 the Lord placed within my heart a ravenous hunger for studying the Bible. Honestly, I had no idea how to do it and do it effectively. Oh sure, I had been in church since 9 months before I breathed earth’s air, but had only spent a year or so doing any sort of study of the Scriptures. Yet, in those days in 2000 I knew that I MUST begin to study God’s Word.

Thankfully, I had a friend who had done a Beth Moore Bible study and she, too, was experiencing the same hunger as I. We prayed a lot and with the Lord’s leading organized a small ladies’ Bible study group. We began with Beth Moore’s study, Jesus, The One and Only.

Y’all, I was like a starving person who had just pulled up to a banquet table laden with every food imaginable. I was like a dry sponge who had been submerged in a sink of water. I could not get enough of the Word of God. I would spend at least an hour a day drinking in the sweet taste of Scripture. My faith began growing and my heart began changing into one that looked more like that of Jesus.

That is what the study of God’s Word will do for you. An expanding faith and softened heart.

Seventeen years later, I still cannot get enough Bible in my heart. God’s Word is living and active and speaks into any situation in my life. It is my corrector, my comforter, my teacher, my encourager. In good times and bad I run to Scripture for sustenance.

Over the years, I have used many different methods for studying Scripture. That is why I am so, so excited about my friend, Arabah Joy’s, new resource Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days. Because really, Burger King was onto something when they used the “have it your way” slogan for 40 years. Bible study is not a one size fits all thing. The method that I use to study God’s Word may not appeal to you and vice versa. AJ has put together a resource that I believe will be the BOMB to many people who are unsure of how to study the Bible. It will also provide new and different ways to do Bible study for those of us who are Bible study veterans and anything in between.

 

Bible Study Methods 7 Way in 7 Days

 

Let me tell you a bit more about this exciting resource.

This 7-day course will:

  • teach you 7 different Bible study methods
  • streamline the learning process so you don’t spend weeks or months figuring it out
  • give you tools for going deep into God’s word in as little as ten minutes a day (perfect for busy moms!)
  • provide ready made templates and printables you can choose from
  • show you exactly how to do each method with the daily videos
  • revolutionize your time in God’s word and discover fresh intimacy with God in the process.
  • equip you to nourish yourself with the Scriptures
  • teach you how to develop your spiritual senses
  • help you establish a Bible study habit!

Plus, you can go at your own pace and you’ll have lifetime access to the course materials.

What’s not to love about that!

Bible study is one of those things about which I am dogmatic. There is NO OTHER WAY to grow your faith and develop a relationship with Jesus than the study of God’s Word. Period. It just will not happen if you do not study the Bible. You will remain a spiritual baby without Bible study.

So, are you ready to learn new ways to study the Scriptures? If so, I want to invite you to purchase Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days and get started on your own journey to intimacy and vibrant faith in Christ. Simply click the links in this post and you will be taken to AJ’s website where there is lots more information about this resource.

BONUS: Arabah Joy is offering a BONUS for everyone who purchases Bible Study Methods this week. It is a 6 week Bible Study Plan for the book of Ephesians using the 7 methods taught during the course. How awesome is that!!

 

Study the Word Ephesians Plan Arabah Joy

 

I, too, want to reward you for taking a step toward a deeper walk with Jesus and here is how I am going to do it.

First, if you purchase Bible Study Methods using my links in this post, I have a FREE resource that I will send you. It is a listing of 11 Bible studies that I recommend. All you have to do to get it is send me (via email: info@leahadams.org, direct message, text, carrier pigeon!) proof of purchase of Bible Study Methods. That’s it. Then I will email you the 11 Bible Studies resource.

Second, everyone who purchases BSM this week using my links will be entered to win a copy of any of the Bible studies that I have written (you choose the study): HeBrews: A Better Blend, Tasting Grace: A Mentoring in the Kitchen Bible Study, or Legacy: It’s What You Leave Behind. In order to be entered to win, however, you must leave me a comment here telling me you purchased or email me at info@leahadams.org.

Sweet blessings, friends, as you study God’s precious Word!