BECAUSE I DIDN'T SIFT THE FLOUR

Sometimes, I bake at night. The kids are in bed, there's nothing left on my to-do list, and a lot of the time I'm really just trying to manage a serious sugar craving. This is the perfect storm - and how I almost always end up in the kitchen at 11 PM on any given night.

Unfortunately, I'm not Martha Stewart. My measuring cups are more often used as bath toys then for their original design; and my so-called baking cupboard is pretty bare. But, I like to pretend that baking and spontaneity go hand in hand - generally throwing all the rules out for a make it work moment.

One night not to long ago, I got stuck on this idea that baking homemade pumpkin donuts would cure my cravings. And maybe, I wouldn't be tempted to run to Dunkin Donuts for the third time that week.

Never mind that I didn't actually own an official donut pan - I pressed onward anyways.

Per usual, I made a mess in the kitchen as I stirred. Flour flew everywhere, and the final product was looking nothing like it should have. It was goopy and sticky; and there was no form.

Hanging onto a single shred of hope, I decided to put the dough blobs in the oven and said a prayer for their convection resurrection.

Nothing happened.

Except that they were terrible.

And I took the kids to Dunkins' the next morning for a proper donut.

You know, made by a professional.

The point is, somewhere in the baking frenzy I had made the decision to not sift the flour.

And it wasn't the cookbook that reminded me.

I stood rejected and defeated in my glop coated kitchen wondering how I had failed at this simple task, and God gently said to me, "It's because you didn't sift the flour."

I mean, I know if God were to bake a donut it'd be heaven on a platter -  but I really didn't know what He was trying to tell me here. What stock did He have in my baking abilities?

And honestly, who actually sifts the flour?

Well it turns out, God's people do.

When we're feeling heavy; we must sift the flour.

When we're feeling without purpose; we must sift the flour.

When we're feeling disconnected from God's Truth; we must sift the flour.

Sifting is not the same thing as stirring, as stirring blends and sifting aerates. Sifting takes what could be dense and makes it light. Stirring makes a mess; indistinguishable and unable to separate. When we stir ourselves into the chaos of the world we lose all sense of our identity - we become formless. We're overwhelmed by our lack, our sin, and our disappointment.

When we don't sift through our thoughts, things get messy and we begin to forget who we are in Christ. We forget how to embrace this season of life we're in.

Sifting then, becomes the physical act of surrendering my perception and filtering it through God's truth. It's seeing the world through a Holy and sacred lens. It's exchanging our heaviness for easy and light. It's learning how to be transformed by the Lord, and not the world.

Should we sift the flour? Absolutely. It will transform our lives-  and it'll also make really good donuts.

Tabitha PanarisoComment