The first thing that comes to mind when I think about food, or prepping food, or meal planning – is service. My primary love language is Acts of Service, and I’m a solid enneagram two – meaning I find the most joy and feel my fullest when I am serving others, or when someone goes out of their way to serve my needs.
My husband and I just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary (and 5th year together) at the beginning of April and to celebrate, all we wanted to do was sit down and share a meal together. We rarely get to do this anymore due to being on opposite work schedules and having a toddler (plus another baby due in May). But when we do seize that rare opportunity to be in the kitchen together or sit down and eat as a family, it fills us both up with love and appreciation for each other every single time.
When we were first dating and in the beginning of our marriage we would cook and bake together several times a week, laughing as we flicked flour at each other and danced in the kitchen to Frank Sinatra. Making meals for and with each other drew us closer together and strengthened our relationship in numerous ways! Namely, allowing each other to feel seen, wanted, loved, and taken care of.
But for the last 3 years, my husband has worked the night shift – meaning we only get to see each other briefly in the morning when he’s coming home and I’m waking up for the day and then again when he’s waking up for work and I’m in the middle of feeding our toddler. This last year, cooking looks more like me cleaning up a huge mess that our daughter made 3 times a day and microwaving mac and cheese for myself because I’m too tired to cook anything by 6pm.
The silver lining behind the “stay at home mom raising our babies while my husband leaves for his job every day” lifestyle is that I get to be the one who serves our family in this way. Though it’s a lot of hard work to prep a healthy variety of meals, and takes a lot of effort to show up with something for my husband to take for lunch, I remember what the Bible asks of us as spouses. And that is to show up every day, serving each other, and to die to ourselves so that the heart of Christ is revealed.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Instead of grumbling or complaining that I have to cook all the time and get the groceries and meal plan, I choose to see it as an opportunity to take on a servant’s heart and see it as kingdom work. I see it as using my gifts, talents and abilities in service to God’s Kingdom. Though it’s a struggle some days, choosing to intentionally search for little moments every day in which to bring glory to God is what makes it worth it. The Lord sees our heart and will bless us for keeping that mindset!
So instead, I think of it this way: I get to be the one to bless my husband with making his lunch every day. I get to be a hostess and prepare meals for our weekly game nights when our friends come over. I get to experience the challenge of feeding my baby, teaching her to have a healthy relationship with food by being an example and encouraging her to try new things. And above all, having the mindset that I am working to bring glory to the Kingdom is what makes the otherwise hard or mundane or challenging task of feeding my family one that I find fullness in doing.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:17
One thing that has totally saved me in the throws of motherhood and marriage are crockpot meals. If you don’t already use a crockpot at least once a week, you’re missing out on major meal prep shortcuts and delicious recipes!! Crockpot meals last an entire week (or longer if you freeze them), and I’ve created the most delicious recipes from using it on the days I need a break.
The recipe below is one that I made for my husband and myself when I was 38 weeks pregnant with our first daughter. We absolutely LOVED this recipe – it’s filling, super delicious, and leaves enough leftovers for both of us to have seconds and thirds. The good thing about serving this dish with rolls is that those are also super easy to “prep” – I got the giant pack from the bakery at Costco, froze half of them, and saved the other half for meals this week and next.
HONEY SOY PORK TENDERLOIN: CROCK POT RECIPE
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 6 hours on low
Feeds: 6 servings
– 1/4 cup Olive Oil
– 1 cup Chicken Broth
– 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
– 1/2 cup Honey (I used Organic Tropical Blossom)
– 3 Tbs Montreal Steak Seasoning
– 2 Tbs Minced Garlic
– Small pinch of Ground Ginger
– 2.5 lbs Pork Tenderloin
- Either spray the inside of your cooker with non stick spray, or use slow cooker liners (my preferred method!)
- Place Pork Tenderloin into slow cooker
- Combine together all ingredients and mix thoroughly
- Pour ingredient mix over pork tenderloin, coating evenly
- Set slow cooker on LOW for 6 hours
- Serve with warmed Costco dinner rolls (like I did!), and/or a side salad
Featured Photos by Rebecca Allegri