We Write to Make Bread


Anais Nin said we write to taste life twice. Today, this thought has pushed itself to the front of my chest: We, followers of the Way, those of us who quest to know Spirit and dwell in Love, we write to make bread.

I know, for me, this is my serving. This is my offering.

Most days it feels like I have nothing. Most days, I would say to Jesus and his disciples when they come around in the crowd asking, “What do you have?” I feel like I don’t have much to offer. Many days I would point to others and say, She has something. Go, find her! She has something that will feed the crowds today. But I don’t have much.

I am learning I don’t need much. In Jesus’ economy those few tuna sandwiches go a long way. What matters is that I fill up, peek into my cupboards and bless those ingredients as worthy.

Like the widow at Zarephath, I don’t actually have nothing. I have something. I just need eyes to see what I have as worthy–stories old and new, words, the ponderings of my heart, the scribbles in my journal. These are the treasures in my cupboards; oil and flour that could make bread. Bread that might perhaps even, like that widow, feed a hungry prophet.

My cupboards are not empty. I simply need to take time, make something and bring it. Offer it up to discipled hands and give it away.

I have to remember: My few loaves and fishes–the little that I have–become eucharisteo and miracle in Jesus’ hands.

He holds my offering in crowd-loving hands and lifts it up to Heaven in thanksgiving and then more hands, available and ready, serve it up to hungry bodies-with-stories.

What rises in me today is this: thinking through our lives, mixing ingredients with faith and hope, kneading stories and watching words grow, in partnership with the One who Loves and asks, What do you have in your heart? is beautiful Theology. Mary-with-her-apron-on Theology.

This making of bread and baking of bread is fragrant, holy work.

Most Fridays we celebrate a Messianic Shabbat in our home. I make bread and light candles and we toast with blessed grapes–communion cups with juice for the kids;  sweet wine for the adults. We bless children and guests, identity and future. What we see now and what we see with our Love eyes into the future we hope for them.

We don’t do these Shabat Fridays religiously, but when we do, the week feels rightly celebrated. On those Friday afternoons when I mix one egg and four cups of flour with yeast and milk and a tablespoon of sugar, those Fridays press pause and invite in the holy.

It doesn’t just happen. This making of bread and baking of bread requires intention. And faith.

Every Friday when I bend and place the tray into the hot oven, I pray and say, Bless this bread, Lord. Bless this loaf to the mouths who will sit down at our table tonight and eat with us.

I also pray, because there has been a Friday when Scott had to drive down to the IGA and buy a baguette. Making this bread requires faith that it will rise and shape the way I hope it to. It doesn’t always. My hands shape the braids differently every week. It rises uniquely every time. Even with the same ingredients, no two loaves taste the same. Ever.

But when they do rise, we taste the miracle.

I think about this bread now as I open the doors to the words in my pantry heart today. As I mix and sift and crack and pour. As I watch the rising and wait for the braiding. As I put the bread into the oven and set the timer.

And today, I bend my knees, just like on a Friday, and offer these words up as prayer: Lord, bless this bread to the hearts who will sit down and eat at this table today. For what we are about to receive, I am truly grateful.


These thought have been inspired by Kelley Nikondeha’s post on Doing Theology … Second and Holly Grantham’s comment on my Sabbath post on SheLoves, writing about her “holy minutes on a Sunday” and Ann Voskamp’s extraordinary work “One Thousand Gifts” …

PS: This past May I was part of a Women’s Theological Intensive at Amahoro Africa, led by Ruth Padilla and Rene August. Those hours on those five days with my sisters was Holy Ground. As part of our discussion, we used this life-changing text called Doing Theology with Mary (<<<–A PDF download for you.) // Talk about Bread.


I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  • http://www.walkingintheslowlane.blogspot.com Holly

    “My cupboards are not empty. I simply need to take time, make something and bring it.”
    Let’s get about the business of bringing it.

    • idelette

      Hi my new friend … (I like how that sounds.) Thank you! Yes, let’s do it!

      • http://www.walkingintheslowlane.blogspot.com Holly

        “There is no word for old friends that have just met…”

        • idelette

          Ahhhh … // Maybe a sound then? :)

  • Shekinah

    Dear Idelette,
    This piece is exquisite….your work is fragrant and holy. So inspiring and uplifting, thanks. Sorry to gush, but loved every morsel :))….the choice of words, the central image, the flow of thought, and a fresh breath of air at its core.

    • idelette

      Shekinah, your words blessed me so much. Thank you! Gush any time. :)

  • http://fionalynne.com/blog/ fiona lynne

    Idelette, this is so beautiful and so full of holy truth.
    I loved this line – “Bread that might perhaps even, like that widow, feed a hungry prophet.” So many beautiful images here, of the widow, of the fives loaves and three fishes, of your weekly Shabbat. The words that come from a heart that says “I am enough, what I have is enough” are life-changing words.

    • idelette

      Dear Fiona, I love that you are far away and yet you are here close. I’m thinking: Unlike that widow, most times we don’t know who the prophet is we are feeding with our words. We don’t always get to see how the Spirit sparks fly … But sometimes we do. Like I got to see today in your words. Thank you for that. xoxo

      • Chervelle Camille

        Wow! Idelette, these words spoken right here just light inside of me! They are so true and I pray to walk in this perspective.
        “I’m thinking: Unlike that widow, most times we don’t know who the prophet is we are feeding with our words. We don’t always get to see how the Spirit sparks fly … But sometimes we do.”

        • idelette

          Hi Beautiful Chervelle Thank you so much!

          Btw, you know now that you’ve been eternalized on my wall, you are family. I love seeing your sentence every day.

  • http://www.walkingintheslowlane.blogspot.com Holly

    I had another thought this morning while I walked my dog…
    these gifts he gives us, no matter their shape or size or color or pizzaz…
    all of them are packages of hope–
    for the world.
    As if the whole of creation, in all its beautiful gorgeous technicolor, wasn’t enough,
    God chooses us to be heralds of his hope.
    Because some ears don’t hear like all other ears and some eyes look through different lenses and God, He wants the all of it to KNOW.

    • idelette

      That is so true! I’ve been thinking along similar lines … [I love this echoing thing Spirit is doing here]. That thing we keep telling ourselves–that it’s already said or someone else could tell it better–no! If it’s in my pantry to pull out and shape into bread, I need to bring it to those who come and sit at my table.

      I love how you say it: “He wants the all of it to KNOW.”

  • http://www.carisadel.com Caris Adel

    This is beautiful, and as someone who is in the middle of the mundane all the time, it’s inspiring to think that all these little nothings can be something. And, I’ve had some bananas thawing for a couple of days and am motivated now to go make some banana bread :)

    • idelette

      Caris, thank you! Yep, find myself in the middle of the mundane often right now. Just finished Jeff Goins’ “Wrecked” tonight and I am thinking a bit differently about this mundane season. There’s lot of slow, deep growth here plus a time of building and I am thankful for it.
      PS: There’s bananas thawing on my counter too. Maybe one too many days now, but they’re there. Maybe tomorrow! :)

  • http://www.sarahbessey.com Sarah Bessey

    I think I want to print this off and tape it to my mirror. Love you. (And would you believe me if I told you that I have a half-finished post in my drafts about how we are bread? Girl, we are a team.)

    • idelette

      I love that you have a post in your drafts–of course you do! And I totally want to read it! I love those words: “Girl, we are a team.” YES!


  • alie

    Love this. Pure and holy words. A simple pantry is turned bountiful just by changing one’s perspective ! Thank you for helping to change mine.
    A xo

    • idelette

      Hi friend

      Thank you for that wave from across the street tonight … I needed to just breathe with someone. :) // Thank you for your words. You are SUCH a wonderful encourager and I treasure you.

  • Daniela

    Beautiful idelette. Thank you for your words. xo

    • idelette

      My friend … thank you for being here. Love you. xo

  • http://theconsolationofmirth.wordpress.com/ Heather

    These words are exquisite. So rich. So full. I have read this three times (three helpings?) so far. Yes. Bread indeed. Thank you.

    • idelette

      Heather–I love that you had three helpings! Whoop-whoop! I love a woman hungry for words, eh, bread. So thankful for your encouragement. It means a lot. A lot.

  • http://janetchanson.com Janet Hanson

    You captured it well–the daily offering of a writer. You blessed me today.

    • idelette

      Hi Janet, thank you so much. You blessed me so much in leaving a comment. #communion

  • http://www.spiritualglasses.me/asharedmeal Jennifer Upton

    The tears forming within me are making it hard to type what it is your offering has done for me on this morning. I have struggled all week with this heart cry I carry to share stories old and new. Your words have brought forth perspective, an image I will carry with me always. Never again will I see my journals, scribbles and posts the same whether read by one or many. I will give them as an offering, yes an offering to help feed and to serve. I will write to make bread. I have done this all along, but not taking time to see it as such. I will even look at the meal I recently shared with someone, the meal that was hard to digest, as an offering, the making of bread. Oh, you are beautiful and I am so thankful for the offering you gave this day to me, to others.

    • idelette

      Jennifer, I realize I’m coming to this comment a bit late–we’ve been talking and I am so thankful this has inspired and nourished your heart. Yes, please, keep bringing your offerings. I did read your post about sharing a very difficult meal … I don’t quite have words yet to respond. Much Love and a big sisterhood hug. So glad we’ve connected.

  • http://www.wynnegraceappears.com Elizabeth @ wynnegraceappears

    Sarah Bessey pointed me to this post. I am grateful. And I am simply amazed at how beautiful this is. So nice to meet you. Thank you for THIS loveliness. Art. Fine.

    • idelette

      Thank you so much, Elizabeth! It’s really great to meet you. I clicked on your link yesterday and love your thoughts on “crossing the wake.”

  • http://redefiningfemale.wordpress.com/ Melissa

    After 7+ years of full time ministry, God has given me a time to breath–and in this time, He has lead to bake lots of bread and to write.

    In ministry I so often felt “Most days it feels like I have nothing”…and even in this–at times dry–place…He SO multiplies what we have.

    thank you for this beautiful post…

    • idelette

      In your seventh year–how perfect to take a rest.

      I am so thankful how God multiplies what we have, YES … I find I’ve been sitting with these Bible stories of having “nothing”for a long time–eg. the widow and her mite, the widow at Z. I think I need to really get this. Holy Spirit nudge-nudge. I think it’s coming.

  • http://delightfilledart.wordpress.com Nancy

    Thanks for this beautiful post. We also have started marking Shabbat on Fridays at our home; we try to have a nice meal and light candles, which the children love. At our house, it is my husband who makes the bread, tends the dough starter, makes the jam, carves out holy for us.

    • idelette

      O, Nancy–I’d love to see a picture of your Shabbat. And of your husband braiding and baking. I love that image of him doing it. I definitely enjoy making a special meal on a Friday night. I grew up in South Africa and our Sunday lunch was the big meal of the week. My husband who grew up in Canada, knows Sunday dinner. But our Sunday evenings are usually low-key (read: tired) and we prefer popcorn rather than a big meal. So, Friday nights work really great for us. Thank you for sharing and coming by. I really appreciate it!

  • http://www.neritia.wordpress.com neritia

    Your words filled my empty-pantry-heart this afternoon!
    Your offering of words here, on SheLoves, on twitter and facebook feeds me and many other!
    Thank you….your words blessed me.

    • idelette

      Thank you my friend. Your encouragement means so so much. Sometimes you bake and you just hope someone will come and eat … Your words blessed me right back. oxoox

  • http://redemptionsbeauty.com Shelly Miller

    I found you through your post on Canada Day @shelovesmagazine,and I’m so glad that I did. I just got back from two weeks at our family cottage in Ontario btw. So much of this resonates. I love Lauren Winner’s, Mudhouse Sabbath and the way she encourages Christians to incorporate Jewish tradition into their worship. I love the whole idea of Shabbat, even bought the candles but haven’t been good about carrying it through the way you have. You’ve inspired me. And that word Amahoro, it makes me smile. I’ve been to Rwanda many times, my life will never be the same. And I love Sara too, but you have your own bread that tastes just as good as hers, just different.

    • idelette

      Hi Shelly Thank you so much for coming here! I haven’t read Lauren Winner’s book yet–sounds fascinating. We started implementing some of the “ancient ways” after participating in a seminar called The Ancient Path probably ten years ago. Then a friend of mine who attends a Messianic church and always talked about shabbat came over one day and showed us the ropes. I was hungry for more ritual in our home and I loved the blessing of the children. I love the intentionality of it and the rhythm it gives to family life… So many of our friends have now joined in these Friday feasts. My favourite part is seeing the children’s faces when they get blessed. They light up … Like their little souls are drinking it in.

      Amahoro Africa is such a beautiful gathering … This year it was in Burundi, next year it will be in Uganda. I read “Strength in What Remains” when I got back from Africa this time and it was such a powerful read. The word gained even more meaning.

      PS: I haven’t bought the candles yet. :)

      • http://www.africakidandtheworld.blogspot.com Laurie

        Thanks for this post–very encouraging! So often I feel I have so little, but that’s not what matters, it’s my faithfulness in using that little bit.

        Oh, and I loved “Strength in What Remains” too. Amazing story!

  • http://thebeautyofthishour.wordpress.com/ Christiana

    Idelette, I love this post. Is it a woman’s plight to feel this way…that we have nothing to offer? I feel this way so frequently that it brings me to my knees like nothing else has. Thank you for your honesty!

  • http://chicagomama-brenna.blogspot.com/ Brenna D (@chicagomama)

    This morning, I thought I used up the last of what was left in my cupboard. Now, I look and I see it has been replenished. Thank you for that. And thank you for reminding me that in this sisterhood, in this community, it is now my privilege to help restock someone else’s shelves. The sun is shining a wee bit brighter now.

  • http://jasonandkelliwoodford.blogspot.com/ kelliwoodford

    Such rich words.
    They sure do nourish.
    (funny, i wrote on bread this week and then i come upon your post! no coincidence ;))
    A sweet place you’ve got here — my first visit.
    Bless you and all your Mary-with-her-apron-on Theology. I get that. I really do.

    • http://www.idelette.com idelette

      Hi Kelli
      So lovely to meet you here! I have not been the most prolific blogger, but you can see more of my heart over at SheLovesmagazine.com We publish there daily. I work mostly behind the scenes, working to call out other women’s voices.

      I’d love to see your post on bread!

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com Renee Fisher

    I love this. How simple and yet profound. If we want not to feel empty and sad (or say like a failure) we can bring Christ and those around us an offering. For me that’s my words, my arms, and my heart. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.idelette.com idelette

      Dear Renee–thank you so much for your words …xoxo

  • http://robinstanley.org Robin Stanley

    Life rises even from a lifeless womb when surrendered to the Giver of the gift. Your words live and breathe and move. In them I see the untapped expressions of my own heart. Thank you for revealing them to me so exquisitely.

    • http://robinstanley.org Robin Stanley

      I’m a slow riser. 😉

    • http://www.helplog.ca Constance Mary Knighton

      These words touched me, Robin. I never bore children, but I have given Life, I know, because others have told me so. What a wonderful thought is engendered here.

  • http://www.heathercaliri.com Heather Caliri

    Making the effort to see what we can make with our little loaf and fishes means seeing everything with true gratitude. It means seeing the magic in our tiny little speck of a gift. It means honoring who God made us to be, and accepting who we are.
    Thank you for reminding me of this. Creating (something small) is giving thanks.

  • http://anitamathias.com Anita @ Dreaming Beneath the Spires

    What a lovely thought–the little oil and wheat and tuna of our talent and experience can stretch indefinitely when placed in the Master’s hands. A lovely piece–and so well-written

  • Michaela Evanow

    I’d like to be in your home on a Friday eve. It’s a precious, holy thing knowing that bread making happens in this city we live in, community happens and people like you plant here, harvest here, make a difference here. I’m so glad you are here. Vancouver needs you!

    • http://idelette.com idelette

      Strange thing is it feels holy. You’re right. I’d love for you to come for dinner on a Friday night, Michaela. Who knows what the future may hold … xo

  • http://www.helplog.ca Constance Mary Knighton

    Sounds lovely. Your brilliant mother-in-law will know these words by Albert Orsborn: “My life must be Christ’s broken bread,/ My love his outpoured wine…that other soul’s refreshed and fed, may share His life through mine.” Rich.