So, I was making apple dumplings for the first time last weekend. I grew up watching the Apple Dumpling Gang, so I have always known they are a thing, apparently worth mining for gold to get, but actually never knew what they were. Perhaps you share my ignorance, so let’s do a brief public service announcement before moving on to the meat today.
They are literally apples piled with brown sugar, spices, and butter and wrapped in pastry, like a pocket of flaky magic, baked to golden. Like a pie pouch. Forget gold mining — in my weaker moments, I would probably rob a bank for a lifetime supply of these.
The process of making pie crust is peaceful. I don’t understand folks who make it with a machine — they miss out the sensory of delight of smashing up chunks of butter into a bowl of sugary flour, feel it collapse between your fingers. Which puts me in mind of the time we moved into a house infested with German cockroaches (this is an important distinction — German cockroaches are small, about the size of a pinkie nail and can be killed with a shoe, whereas American cockroaches are roughly the size of small rabbit and blow raspberries at you when you come after them with a shoe).
Casablanca was far from being the most original house name we ever came up with (it was a white house. Yep. We were young), but it was tucked down in the middle of orchards and vineyards, away from roads and neighbors, overlooking a valley and I will never forget the day we moved in. Tall trees encompassed it round about and you might say it was teeming with life… and I am not so much speaking of the infant and toddler we brought into its walls.
It was a house owned by the mother of our new boss at our first ever vineyard management job. After attempting a shower in the house for the first time, and discovering that the plumbing system was apparently designed by a former practitioner of Chinese water torture (have you ever tried filling a bathtub 2 drips at a time? I have), we called our new landlady. She snorted and said that was good enough for her shower. It should have been a sign. Quail the second was 4 months old, and the oldest was not yet walking, so my hands were full, and we were blessed with much help in moving.
The menfolk had already been moving furniture in by the time I arrived with the kids. I wore one wrapped to my chest with the other balanced on my hip and as I walked into the rundown 1950’s era kitchen (as in, that was when it was remodeled from a shack with no plumbing into a kitchen), my old upright piano was pushed up against a wall — and the impact sent cockroaches fleeing up the wall. I froze and my eyes scanned the small house. The black menaces were EVERYWHERE. Moving in the furniture had disturbed them from their hidey-holes in my walls and the degree of infestation was now disgustingly apparent.
I am ashamed to admit that I whimpered something very un-Ma Ingalls… something like, “I want to go home!” My husband, nervously grinning, answered, “You are home.”
Amazingly, we stayed married.
It took months and the Beloved’s skill in administering deadly chemicals to get the nasty roaches eradicated, and even after they had stopped crawling up walls and into baby bassinets (it was every bit as gross as it sounds. I about flipped my lid), there was still an unexpected aftermath. In my kitchen, I started having trouble with breakers flipping, appliances getting shut down mid-operation. God in His kindness worked it in such a way that I was not at home when my husband pulled the outlets out of the walls in order to explore the cause and found that they were packed so tight with cockroach carcasses that their dead bodies were actually forming an arc for the electricity… my outlets were like ancient burial sites for vermin and the unrespected dead were flipping my breakers.
The thing is, whatever you work into your heart is what comes loose when your furniture gets moved.
If you have steeped your mind and heart in the word of God, then when He moves to rearrange your life, that is what will show up in your house, and conversely, if you have left your soul as fallow ground for the world, the flesh and the devil to plant what it will, then when everything you knew and trusted gets shifted, what you will find running all over the place is worry, fear, anger, bitterness. And, man, those suckers are hard to chase out.
Thank God if He has shaken your walls. If your heart sinks at the sight of what has been hiding in your sockets that is now exposed, then praise God — now you get to repent, now you can receive forgiveness. In Christ, those sins die and you begin again. This is a pretty good day to begin working the word, the grace of God into your life. Dig in — work His words into your thoughts and your days with all your strength, push it into the corners, saturate the crumbs of your life, because it is His gift to you. He has equipped you for the fight He is bringing to your day. He is the Rock. Let it shake.