Your Presence is Requested

Since I finished my six-week cooking course, I’ve been thinking about inviting a fearless adventurer {I mean guest} to sample my newly acquired culinary skills. I thought of the only person who would eat it even if he didn’t like it. Who would tell me it was great no matter how bad it tasted. 

My dad. 

He thinks everything I do is top-notch. He thinks I should be the president and CEO {of something}. I knew he would certainly applaud my chef-ish endeavors.   

But when I told him I wanted to cook for him, he vehemently protested saying it was too much trouble. Until I said I just wanted to practice and all I really needed was his presence. 

I wanted to try out my new grill pan so I planned a menu of chicken with a side of pasta and fresh tomato sauce, cheesy biscuits and tossed garden salad.

I pulled out my new ceramic chef’s knife {a gift from a friend} and chopped up the tomatoes and onions. I remembered a few of the techniques I’d learned and oh, what a difference a sharp knife made! I had them diced in no time. 

In my cooking class, the chef told us to toss an onion, a few tomatoes, some spices and garlic in a pot, and in 20 minutes we’d have fresh tomato sauce. But I think I must have missed something crucial in the recipe because my sauce wasn’t anywhere close to tasting delicious, even after 30 minutes.

I put the chicken on the grill pan, but after a few minutes it started to sizzle and smoke. 

I put the biscuits in the oven, but promptly forgot about them in my efforts to snuff out the smoking chicken.

Then my smoke alarm went off. As my dad silently eyed the chaos in my kitchen, I took the chicken off the stove and shoved it into the oven, too.

My ambitions of dishing up delectable cuisine went up in a puff of smoke. {More like billows of smoke, actually.} 

When I realized the chicken wasn’t going to be completely edible for a while, I just sliced off the cooked-through ends and put them on my dad’s plate. 

{I was hoping he couldn't detect raw chicken through all the smoke anyway, although he seems to have a sixth sense about under-done meat.} 

In the end, the only part of the meal that was truly tasty was the pre-made salad I bought at the grocery store. 

Maybe if I cooked for myself every night my skills would improve, but that’s not really why I wanted to learn how to cook. I was hoping to serve up some culinary goodness while savoring the presence of my friends and family.

This is what I want from God too. 

I want to experience his presence. Delight in it and savor it. 

I'm beginning to understand that I want God’s presence more than I want whatever it is I’m chasing after and praying for. 

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if my prayer were answered. The one that moves me to request his presence.

I'm wondering if maybe you have one too? A prayer-plea that wrings your heart and stretches your faith more than you ever thought possible. A heartfelt prayer-petition that requires his presence.

I wonder if I would still desperately long for his presence or would I tune out his whisper? Would I continue my quest to know him more or would I stop being struck by his wonder?

Sometimes I wonder what God thinks when he answers a long-prayed-for request of mine. Although I know that he knows everything, I wonder if he expects me to go off on my merry way until I need him again. 

Because I've done that before. 

I’ve abandoned my prayers for the trivial pursuits that distract. I’ve slacked off and quit seeking. 

Until the next crisis comes along that I can’t quite handle on my own. Then my passionate please-help-me requests are rekindled. 

But now my heart is sure. I know that my words are entering the very presence of God because I’ve experienced him breathing life into what I thought was dead. I've watched him turn what I thought was impossible into modern-day miracles.

And I'm praying that it's here in this sacred, radiant presence that I'll always want to be.

My dad and I eventually sat down to dinner. The chicken wasn’t finished, the tomato sauce tasted terrible and the biscuits were burned. 

My dad graciously ate it though, and declared it good. 

But I know that it wasn’t. 

Maybe cooking's not my gig. I eat mostly salads in my single-girl kitchen anyway. 

Or maybe I just need more diners to practice on. 

Anyone care to swing by for a bite to eat? I'd be honored by your presence.

But you might want to BYOD {bring your own dinner} because I'm still airing out my kitchen.

I’ll take care of the salad.

Grace. Love. Hospitality. Family. What word has God put on your heart this year? 

Check out the new Letterpress blocks by (in)courage at

I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for Your Heart. Join me there for more encouragement!


  1. Valerie,

    This is such a wonderful post. I loved your analogy with savoring food and God's presence. It really touched my heart. From here on out, I will think of this reminder every time I look at food. Thank you for a much needed reminder that truly touched my heart.
    ~Lovelle from DaySpring

    1. Lovelle,
      Thank you so much for stopping by! And I'm so grateful for your kind words!

  2. This is hilarious! I can see it now, Valerie fluttering around the kitchen! It sounds like you treated your father to dinner and quite the show!!

    1. Yes, he was a good sport about all the chaos! I'm still trying to get the lingering aroma of chicken out of my kitchen and I just don't have enough candles!

  3. So funny... Adventures in the kitchen! So true that when God answers our prayers sometimes we just go on our merry way because we don't need him anymore.
    So applicable....

    1. Thank you! Staying close to God's heart is something I think about often . . .

  4. I really enjoyed this story and LOVED the spiritual analogies that went along with it. Wonderful!

    1. Jennifer,
      Thanks for stopping by -- I so appreciate your encouragement!

  5. Such a funny and thought provoking post! And I would LOVE to join you for dinner sometime. Maybe we could cook something together. Although I have a knack for kitchen catastrophes myself. It sure would be fun though :)

    1. Christy,
      Cooking together would be amazing -- I know you are already a good cook and I'd learn so much! :)

  6. Sweet sentiment (and I love that your Dad was your victim. Er I mean guest.)
    I have been trying to get rid of junk lately as I have been wanting to simply be in God's presence undistracted more often. Things just get in the way. And you don't have to cook for Him! :)

    1. Sarah,
      Love that -- we don't have to cook for God! :)

  7. I loved this post! I loved the story of your cooking attempts and how you tied it to your walk with God.

    1. Elizabeth,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so grateful you stopped by!


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