From French Toast to . . . Faith? Yep.

Kirk Walden Coffee With Kirk, Keeping It Real 4 Comments

In 1997 (has it been 20 years? My goodness, I’m getting old), my cooking prowess extended to whipping up some french toast, but that was about it.

Perhaps I could pull off spaghetti or warm up microwaveables (which, I can tell by the red underline in my proof for this post, is not even a word), but though in my 30s back then, the kitchen was hardly my forte.

The challenge with this however, was that I had three children. And one day I received a call from my then-wife, who was out of town. During the call, she informed me that returning to our family was not on her agenda.

The emotional ramifications of this are for another post, another day. Suffice to say, if this has not happened to you, thank God. If it has, I don’t have to tell you a thing; you know. Pro tip; when you go to church and your pastor tries to smile and calls you “Job,” this is a hint that you’re in a tough spot.

Still, with all of the whirlwind, my children–ages 7, 5 and 3–presented a practical issue for me. They needed to eat. Who would have thought they couldn’t whip things up on their own?

Though Burger King was just three minutes from our home, I–being a wise sage even then–quickly figured we needed more options.

However, finding other eating out opportunities was expensive, even then. And, I was practically broke–so there’s that. Somehow, I would have to learn to cook. Something. Anything.

One of my first attempts at feeding four mouths on my own was french toast. I could do that much. Heck, all I needed were a few eggs (no shells–I knew this already), some milk, a dash of vanilla extract, a poof of cinnamon, and a contraption with which to beat senseless all of the ingredients.

After that, just warm a griddle and smother it with butter. Almost done. From there, take a bunch of slices of bread, dip them in the bowl of goulash; toss ’em on the griddle. You might burn a few in the beginning but it all works out in the end.

French toast is great for breakfast. And it can be a dinner, too. Yet, french toast doesn’t work for all three meals, every day.

I was stuck, and with so much going on at once it wasn’t easy for me to take a cooking course. And remember, there was no “online” to find a YouTube video in 1997.

But a funny thing happened on my road to desperation and frustration. Hope showed up.

A few days after receiving the news that I was now a single father, I got a call from one of the women of my church. “Kirk, we’ve figured out you’re probably not a great cook,” she told me. “So you have those children home every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday night at 6:00, and we’ll have dinner for you.”

Three nights, every week. On a fourth, we visited another local church for Wednesday night dinner and participated in Bible studies and whatever they had the kids doing (which mine loved). It was a great way to build new relationships and strengthen my faith at the same time (let’s be real; things were a bit shaky at that point).

On the other four nights each week we figured it out. On some Fridays we were out at a ballgame and ate hot dogs or whatever was at the concession stand. Another night we might eat out, or I could drum up something. And of course, we had French Toast–usually once a week.

For months, we would be home and food would arrive right on time . . . giving me plenty of time to figure things out on my own.

This gift was was amazing, and, a perfect picture of what people of real faith do when one of their own is struggling.

It’s been said that Christians are the only group who kick their own when they are down. This was not the case with me.

In our family’s situation, those wanting to help surrounded us. They discerned exactly what we needed, and when we needed it. Because of these people–showing me what the Body of Christ looks like–“me and three” not only survived, we thrived during my nine years as a single dad.

During this time I learned–through every day moments–how faith works. Faith is not always just the “big” moment when we see God do the amazing, though it can be.

But faith often grows in those seemingly small moments when someone brings over dinner, or says, “Let’s go get lunch” and actually listens to us when we need to vent.

Because of so many who walked with me and those three during those difficult years, my trust in God grew. Though there were times when my faith faltered, over time I could say, “It doesn’t look good right now God, but I know you’re there somewhere.”

For me, that’s real faith.

I started this journey with nothing but french toast. But in the process of watching others show me their faith, we–our family–found the recipe for building our trust in the God we now know better than ever.

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Comments 4

  1. What a great description of 1st Faith Kirk. No one sojourns in life for a long period of time until he or she experiences at least a portion of the emotions and pain that Job did. Job went from suffering to believing to deliverance. When our Faith in God is sure, He supplies our every need, and many times that comes from His own people because their Faith is driven by their love for God as well. What a great family to be a part of!

  2. Can I just say this again, even though I did have the privilege of telling you in person, tonight, at University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield, Missouri.. I have heard SOOOO many speakers, preachers, teachers, etc. I have NEVER been as impressed with a speaker as much as I was with you, and your speech.. It was entertaining, it was therapeutic, we laughed, we cried. Just SO grateful, that you stepped outside of yourself all those years ago, when they asked you about your strength and your weakness… and you said yes. And now? Well, the rest is history, and history in the MAKING! AND WOW! What a powerful thing that you have your book THE WALL.. at this exact time! PROVIDENTIAL! I thought you were kidding about french toast recipe, but now I have read it, and it’s awesome as well. Just thanks again… From an adoptive parent of two children, a boy who was rescued from abuse at the age of 18 months, and a girl that was born with spinal meningitis and not expected to live, and we got her at 3 months of age! The Lord healed her, and she is now a teacher in the Springfield Public School System, with 21 handicapped children! Our son has a boy that is 17 years of age, with autism, and he has been in the hospital almost 3 months. We’ve been through a lot, and we see the Lord’s hand in the situations we have gone and are going through. Kids are a blessing, like you said. Thanks again, Twyla Menzies

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