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  • Writer's pictureTara L. Banks


It's a Tuesday, and I'm in my kitchen. I reach into the deep bottom drawer next to the sink and fumble through containers with no lids, pieces of the blender, and a few random what-does-this-even-go-to-anyway items and put my hands on it. My grandmother's sifter.

She walked into heaven when I was in college, and I'm sure she was met right at the gates with a skillet of hot cornbread, a cup of cold buttermilk, and an armload of garden flowers. I have a handful of items in my house that belonged to her that I picked out when the cleaning out commenced and regularly use with joy. Some belonged to her mother. Some passed down from her to my mother and then to me. None of it would be considered precious in any antique or vintage auction, but if you've ever lost someone you love, you know it's all priceless.

So this particular Tuesday, I was preparing to bake a cake. My tribe has this thing for chocolate, and my aunt has this killer chocolate poundcake recipe that they love, so I thought - let's do this. Let's throw caution and calories to the wind and make it a pound cake day.

I pulled out all the ingredients, and the *pound* of butter that makes a pound cake a pound cake - Lord help us - and got to the part where it was time to put the sifter to good use. It's a one-handed sifter, and even though I'm not sure how old it truly is, it still works like a dream. The flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder all went into the sifter, one after the other, and as it combined and passed through the screen into the awaiting bowl, the Lord began to speak.

"This is how a life with me should look. There shouldn't be separation of work and worship and family and school and hobbies and play. When you walk with me, I'm in it ALL and want to be irreversibly united with you in every part."

Have you ever sifted flour with cocoa powder and tried to get just the cocoa powder back out? Clearly, you can't. It's the same with the Lord and how he wants to be so engrained in all we're doing that we simply can't separate him from any aspect of our everyday lives.

One baking website* I read said this about sifting flour and its importance.

"As it is packaged, shipped, and stored, flour settles in the bag. Sifting lightens it up again. It also creates space for the other components in the recipe to get in between the flour particles and do their work. Cakes become fluffier, pancakes lighter; you get the idea."

So it is with the Lord! When we get settled in our lives and forget to partner with Him in all we do, we will not be at our best! Instead, seamlessly uniting every part of our lives with him actually allows us to 'create space for [the Lord]... to get in between [all the other parts in our lives] and do [his] work.'

Can all the parts of our lives be done without him? Sure, in the same way, you can bake a cake without sifting the flour. However, speaking from experience, this always leaves me soul-hungry and spiritually famished. Our lives actually become better and richer when fully integrated in his presence.

On this Tuesday, an hour and twenty-five minutes later, as the last bit of flour was being wiped off the counter and the cake was coming out of the oven, the sweet aroma of the ingredients irreversibly combined reminded me that his life in me should smell just as sweet to those around me as I daily sift him into every single part.

He's in it all if we're willing to listen—even in a passed-down pound cake recipe and an antique sifter.


So we know that God loves us. We depend on it. God is love. Anyone who leads a life of love is joined to God. And God is joined to them. - 1 John 4:16 (NIRV)


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