Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Salsa Verde

I made Salsa Verde one weekend. If you are on my Facebook you already knew that. I actually posted a picture because of the volume….

The funny thing is though, that, like so many things I do, it started out so simple. 

At the time Mike and I were volunteering on Thursday afternoons to pick up food at the food bank delivery site. We would take it to the church and unload it. Our church would distribute it to the people who needed it on Sundays. Simple process, right? It really is (for us anyway) and fun!

One week however, there was a case of tomatillos. No one knew what to do with them so I said, “I will take it home and make Salsa Verde then bring it back to the church and whoever wants some can take it.”

Now, to be honest I have a tendency to do things to the fullest…you can interpret that however you want as long as you are nice. Mike and I took it home and Mike put the case into the garage. Early Friday morning I moved it to the kitchen. I started husking the tomatillos.

I had forgotten how sticky they were. I had also forgotten that a lot of the donations to the food banks are “less than stellar quality”. There were lots of bad spots to cut out and lots of really sticky stuff to wash off. It didn’t matter. I prayed and sang and watched movies and got a routine going to conquer this continuously-increasing-amount of tomatillos. I also had a few pounds of onions to chop some garlic to mince, Serrano peppers to mince. Fun stuff. I love to cook--most of the time anyway. I find it relaxing, therapeutic in fact. I got out my biggest pot to sweat the onions. On a side note: Do you ever feel chopped up and put into a pot to sweat? Makes you sweeter you know!

I soaked the tomatillos and began to think about how similar our lives are to these tomatillos. We were created a sweet, juicy “full of seeds” fruit. We have several layers of protection too and the longer we wait to come to God and to submit the areas He is talking to us about the more layers there are to remove.

We end up a mess: sticky, husk-covered, bad spots, rotten areas and dumped in a box called life. Often it is a box of rejection, despair, insecurity, fear of man, fear of failure, fear of everything, addictions, promiscuity, failure, pride and a plethora of other choices.  

To keep these tomatillos from wasting someone needs to take the time to husk them and clean them. This is not a job for wimps—it took me 3 days. God has been peeling off my outside coverings for 37 years—makes my 3 days look like a vacation! Sometimes we need someone to help us remove the husks of our lives, the bad spots from sin, the sticky stuff that clings to us from the world. Then they were clean—the fruit like it was meant to be used. Have you removed all the things that keep you from being used like you were meant to be used? ­­ Do you allow others to help you clean what the world has done to you?

Next, I had to plunge the tomatillos into hot water; it was the only way I could find to get the sticky sap off the fruit. Did it hurt the fruit? No. I said plunge, not throw in and cook, not leave it to stay as a punishment because it had sticky junk all over it. It made it useable.

Do you find yourself in hot water? Is it profitable or do you stay there and cook? Notice I said plunge. A lot of times when we feel like we are in hot water we whine, complain, hide from God, blame God and do everything possible to prolong our stay. It is hot water for Pete’s sake. Get in, get the sticky junk from the world off you and get out!

Why do we do that? Why did the Pharaoh keep those frogs just one more day?  

Exodus 8:8-10 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”  9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” 10”Tomorrow,“ Pharaoh said.

Have you ever wondered that? Why did Pharaoh wait another day? Did he like the frogs? Apparently there were so many frogs that when they did die there were PILES of them stinking up the land. That, my friends, is a LOT of frogs. 

What frogs are in your life? What sticky junk from the world is clinging to you, keeping you from becoming who God wanted, creating areas for rot and decay in your life? Why keep it one more day? Plunge into that hot water and get it rinsed off.

One reason the Bible says that Pharaoh delayed was that he had a hard heart. How is your heart?

Another thing I see that happens is that when we are in the hot water and refusing to allow God to do what he wants—hiding in the water--it cools off. We do not feel the heat anymore so we claim we did what we were supposed to do. Then we rename it. We call it swimming.

We go swimming and call it pleasurable. The difference is, when we are swimming we think we are in control. We picked the place. We picked the time. We picked the situation. When God is cleaning something out of our life we didn’t pick any of it and we are uncomfortable.

After I got everything cut and cooking I realized I had more tomatillos than pots and burners so I began the process of cooking it all “down”. Most of the fruit is water and it needs to thicken to pulp. Isn’t it the same with us? By the time we come to God aren’t we full of little of substance? That process took me 2 full days and most of a night. (It is taking God a lot longer with me) I began adding more of this and that, onions, peppers, cilantro, cumin, garlic, and salt. I continued to cook it all together to meld the favors into something new and more unique than any one of the ingredients individually. Isn’t it the same with God? Doesn’t He add gifts and fruit? Don’t we become more than we ever could have been alone?

The next step was blending it all together for a smoother consistency, testing it to make sure it had the correct amount of salt, herbs, and spices. Do you have the right blend or are you lumpy? Do people choke on your words? Do people try to taste your life only to find out you are too spicy? Too salty? Too bland? Or, are you the right blend to add value to other’s lives? Do you bring additional flavor? Can you take a piece of bland chicken (a situation in someone else’s life that is tasteless to them) and make others want to not only taste and see that the Lord is good but maybe add to their own lives?

The cooking process was tedious. I had to continuously check on it. Stirring, scraping the bottom, making sure the burner was low so I did not burn it. When you are going through a “process” do you acknowledge how attentive God is? Or, do you just blame Him? He is putting you through this. He is “teaching” you something. He is “testing” you.Craziness. He loves you. He wants the best for you. There is no shadow of turning in Him.

Maybe it is just a different way of explaining what is happening. One is negative. One is the journey of an awesome and loving God. One is a loving parent holding a child’s hand and teaching them to cross the street. The other is throwing them into traffic so they can learn.

Believe it however you want just walk through the process. Allow it to take the time needed to bring out the richness of what He is doing. I could have taken it off the stove earlier but it would not have been as rich. I could have cooked it faster and scorched it ruining the taste of the entire batch.  He could rush for you but you would not be as rich, as tasteful or as mature as you and He wants…..

What does this have to do with intercession?

Moses interceded for his people, over and over. He saw their plight. He stood up to the evil of the day. That is pretty simple—cut and dried so they say.


If you are not in a relationship with God that refines you how can you bless others? 

If you are not becoming…how can you recognize others need your prayers, your help? 

If you are negative about everything people go through then how can you possible pray them through? 

If you think God “does” things to us then how can we pray then THROUGH a situation.

Food for thought….in this instance salsa verde.

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