Summer Heat

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Making salsa is a labor of love for me.  My husband, Brian, who likes all things spicy, is especially fond of homemade salsa.  I’ve made it for years, although last year my tomato crop failed (or should I say I failed the tomatoes?) and the winter’s cold was intensified by the alarming lack of spicy summer heat on our shelves. Once you’ve had homemade salsa made with sweet, vine-ripe tomatoes and flavor packed jalapeno peppers, store-bought just doesn’t satisfy.

“Make the first batch hot,” Brian said.  Well, I aim to please. Twenty-three ounces of fresh jalapeno peppers, combined with tomato sauce, garlic, onions vinegar, salt and water went into the kettle.  I had the fleeting thought that the quantity of peppers might be a bit much, but, I told myself, he does want it hot, and every year, the heat level of the peppers varies slightly.  Perhaps these are milder than normal, I considered. Until the first batch is made, there is a slight and mysterious unknown.

When Brian got home, the salsa was unveiled.  As the steaks cooked on the grill, he sampled the year’s first batch.  “It’s hot!” he said.  One taste was all I needed to realize that his comment was an understatement.   He did, however, enjoy the salsa and appreciated all my work, but I daresay even his eyebrows were scorched by the heat.

The wheels were turning in my head as to how I could save that labor intensive batch.  My best solution is to make the next one without peppers and combine the two. Clearly, I have unfinished business, until it’s right!

It’s frustrating when a gift we work hard at doesn’t turn out like we want it to.  Even if the recipient is genuinely appreciative, as Brian was, a gift that isn’t what we imagined it to be can leave us feeling disappointed in our efforts.  We must chalk it up to learning and head back to the drawing board.

What is it like, then, if we get a gift that disappoints us?  Perhaps we were hoping for something different from what we were actually given.  What should our response look like? Once again, I invite you to step inside the Living Free Series at Family Life Baptist Church, Aylett, to explore that answer.

It’s OK to be chained to your stove by a pot of simmering salsa that needs almost constant stirring, but the chains of insecurity that hold us in place aren’t OK. They need to be broken by He who is the Freedom Giver: Jesus Christ.  Break the chains IN HIM, WITH HIM, FOR HIM.

James 1:17 (NIV)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.


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