Ed Note: Lisa has a very important message to encourage moms in their high calling as homemakers.
The phone call comes from your church ministry coordinator; a meal is needed for a family in which the mom just had emergency surgery. Your heart wants to serve this family, but if you do, your own family will suffer with no meal. Your frustration and defeat well up inside as you say, “I am so sorry, but I won’t be able to help out…again.” You hang up the phone feeling so guilty. You want to obey God and serve others, but how? How can you serve without your family “suffering”? You know that Proverbs 31:16 says (from the Amplified Bible) “…[and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties].” This is a real problem faced by real women everyday. The answer, as they say, is to “Work smarter… not harder”!
What you need is a freezer full of meals! There are so many ways to accomplish this. Ephesians 5:16 says, “Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity]…” Here are some opportunities to make the most of your time!
1. When you make a family meal, multiply it by two, three, or four times to make extras, to put into your freezer for a later time.
2. Take a little time to make huge pots of soup, multiple soups, or stew. Let them simmer on the stove all day. Cool them by pouring them into smaller family-size containers. Make sure to label them and leave a little room on the top for the liquid to expand when frozen.
3. Take a day and assemble your family’s five favorite meals. Be sure to make at least two of each (a little more work for even greater benefits)! A couple of days before, get a vote from your family on their favorite meals, make a grocery list, and go shopping. On cooking day, get the kids together and assemble your meals. Be sure to wrap the finished meals well and also use gallon size zipper-type bags so that you can fit more meals into your freezer as they freeze flat. Don’t forget to label with a permanent pen the name of the meal and any special directions for cooking or reheating.
4. Call up a few friends to see if they will do a Meal Swap. Each person picks a recipe and makes enough meals for each person participating. Don’t forget to make at least one, if not two, meals for your own family! There really isn’t too much extra work in making a few more meals when you are cooking anyway. Again, be sure to label the meal and add any special instructions.
5. Do the same as above, but do a Soup Swap. This is especially wonderful for autumn and wintertime!
6. For a little more work and planning, but for a HUGE return, do bulk cooking with friends (also called “Grande Cooking”)! Get together with girlfriends and assemble 10-15 different recipes on one day. You go home with 20-40 meals to put into your freezer that will last for a couple of months! You will save a ton of money, have a full freezer, and experience a great and much needed time with some friends, and you don’t have to worry about cooking dinner every night again!
(For step by step instructions, go to www.GrandeCooking.com.)
These are just a few simple ideas, and with a little planning you will be able to minister to others, including your own family! Also, be sure to have your children participate in the ministry process by helping prepare the meals. “She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good.” (Proverbs 31:18)
Now when the phone rings, as Proverbs 31:20 says, “…she reaches out her filled hands to the needy,” and you are “…rendering service readily with goodwill as to the Lord…” (Ephesians 6:7). The guilt and frustration are gone, your family IS first, and meals are in the freezer for ministering. Go and be fruitful with your hands!
Lisa's book Grande Cooking has been a huge blessing to many busy moms with information how she and her friends together get hundreds
of meals ready in one day of cooking.