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Encouragement for the Weary Baker

I wish I could tell you the secrets to a consistently perfect baked loaf of bread, but I cant. I am still learning. But I can encourage you. So if you are standing in your kitchen with flour covering your shirt and frustration in your heart, then this ones for you...

One year ago, I resolved that I would learn to make all of the bread products my family needed. With an ever-shrinking bank account battling current inflation prices, I would walk the aisles of our local markets frustrated that I did not possess the skills required to make most of the things I needed to purchase. With a family of seven, I could not spend nine dollars for a loaf of sourdough bread, especially when we easily consumed one loaf per meal. You may be thinking there is plenty of bread at the store for less than half that cost, and this is true. But cheap food comes at an even higher price than the swipe of a card, and my resolution to real food came years before this.

I spent nine solid months failing at every loaf of bread I attempted to make. I would fluctuate from discouragement and frustration to sheer stubbornness. My children would poke fun at me as I spent yet another day in the kitchen, with only sore feet and defeat to show for it. Day after day we gathered together around the table and thanked God for the nourishment we were about to receive; for the flat, tear-filled, over-proofed loaf of nourishment that lay before us. Sometimes we would laugh while almost breaking our jaws, other times we ate a lot of french toast. But it was always a new day, a new prayer, a new loaf, and a new failure.

Until the day that it wasn’t. You would think that the day I finally pulled from the oven a perfectly round, golden crusted loaf would have been more memorable but honestly it wasn’t. Don’t misunderstand, I rejoiced at the beauty of this loaf because beauty is worth striving for. But at the end of the day, it was just another loaf of nourishment. At the end of the day, we would gather and pray and eat this loaf just like all the others. Because at the end of the day, all of those tear-filled failures were still nourishing us, and not just physically. They had been nourishing perseverance, determination, hard work, and hope.

Every loaf bore witness to myself and my children that it is never too late to learn something hard. That it is never shameful to admit we need to grow. And that there is nothing but glory to be found in failure- if we are brave enough to fail. Because failing may just be one of the bravest acts of all. The fear of incompetence or ignorance will steal our dreams and shield us from the glorious and brutal battle we face within ourselves when we fail. G.K. Chesterton said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” Because we are all bad at something until we’re not. We must be brave enough to fail. We must rise another day, apron fastened, and receive the nourishment of another prayer, another loaf, and another opportunity to grow.



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