I drop a bombshell of truth in the last chapter of my next book (coming February of 2018!).

This is my bombshell– a fact few people realize about me: I don’t actually participate in my church’s meal ministry. I can feel your horror and surprise from here. I must seem callous and uncaring.

It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I don’t cook.

Not well, anyway. To be precise, it’s not the actual cooking that’s the trouble; the problem is that what I consider dinner is kind of weird. For example:

  • An English muffin with peanut butter.
  • A banana and a cold hot dog.
  • Noodles cooked in butter, and also popcorn for a side dish.


I swear I ate these for dinner moments after I staged the photo.

Obviously I don’t feed my family these freakish combinations for dinner (not usually, anyway). As a mature adult I can prepare a real meal with protein and vegetables and everything. But I can guarantee you that most nights three of the four of us in this house don’t actually like what I make. And with our gluten/dairy/sugar/fat issues, we frequently eat a rotation of raw vegetables, a lean protein, and brown rice.

Still not exactly something you deliver to a new mother. “Here, beloved woman who just bore life onto the earth. I have a dried up chicken breast and a pile of lettuce for you. Be blessed.” That woman would take the lettuce and weep into it a little, probably.

I was part of the church’s meal ministry, taking food to those who were ill or had just had a baby, for quite a few years.

Until the day I had to take food to another family and I had a meltdown when I didn’t have the right containers to deliver soup to the new mother, and that was it for me. I just couldn’t handle the stress of deciding what to make, actually making it, and then locating the proper vessels for delivery.

I opted out.

I said no, and God did not, in fact, smite me.

My stress load lifted considerably, life continued, and I still had loads of other ways to minister to our congregation. I’ve taught Sunday school class, worked with the financial team, scrubbed dishes, and hosted small group at my house.

None of these things have involved crying into lettuce.

Even better– when I’m doing the things I love to do, the cooks in the congregation can do what they do best. They might not enjoy balancing the Sunday deposit from the offering, but maybe they can create an entire meal and then deliver it with joy.

GOOD FOR THEM. Good for all of us.

So this is my encouragement for you today: you don’t have to do all the things. If there’s something really stressing you out about your ministry or home or family life, you get to choose. You can let it go and serve elsewhere.

I promise this is true.

I promise you have options, and serving others takes many, many forms. Serve with your gifts, not with your guilt. You won’t believe how much more delightful life becomes.

What about you?

Do you have a particular thing you hate to do? What would happen if you opted out? I’d love to know.



5 Comments on The curious case of the full-grown woman who completely failed at her church’s meal ministry

  1. Anonymous
    July 31, 2017 at 5:34 pm (7 months ago)

    You are hilariously truthful! Or full of truth with hilarity to ease the pain. I’m no longer mad that you cancelled a meeting because your van broke. So now I’m reading you post and thank you. Wilma

  2. lardavbern
    August 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm (7 months ago)

    That is some weird stuff for dinner! What happened to your tacos? You went through a phase where you mentioned it in every post. I though it was something you ate nearly every day.

  3. Gabrielle Schroader
    August 1, 2017 at 11:51 pm (7 months ago)

    Absolutely. I have learned that cooking is not my gift, nor is coaching soccer or cheer leading, or teaching a Sunday school kids class. But I am good with numbers, marketing events, and stacking chairs. And for a few years, my gift was holding down the homefront with babies while my husband served at our church.

  4. Jessica Morgan Clemence
    August 3, 2017 at 9:51 am (7 months ago)

    Oooh, stacking chairs. Excellent ministry opportunity!

  5. Jessica Morgan Clemence
    August 3, 2017 at 9:51 am (7 months ago)

    We still eat them a lot, and have actually expanded our repertoire to include pork and chicken tacos! 🙂