pillaging the pantry

I’ve been referring to last year as our “rice and beans” year after going through the excruciating process of paying two mortgages and eventually having the only option to be to foreclose on our house in Michigan.  Last year was rough, the roughest in my life and marriage. But out of suffering, God births good things. Quite literally in my case since I was pregnant with and gave birth to our second son Oswald last year! Not only did I have a ridiculously adorable son, God birthed things in my life that I didn’t expect to come from suffering- gratitude, empathy, contentment and freedom.

One of the things God taught me was to not take what we have for granted. As God taught me to depend on him in new ways, I realized how often I find myself thinking that I “need” certain groceries or justifying purchases that I don’t really need.  When we were chose to adopt a more austere lifestyle so that we wouldn’t go into consumer debt I found a lot of freedom in using what we had and becoming creative with our pantry options.  I found myself growing in empathy for people who have nothing to eat, wonder how they’re going to feed their families, or have to subsist on what they receive in refugee camps. Choice is a luxury- many people across the world and even here in Cleveland don’t have the choice between five different kinds of crackers in their pantry let alone gouda or brie to top those crackers. Even making a sacrifice on the amount of money spent on groceries in order to provide funds for someone else to eat can literally make the difference between life and death.

This week’s act:s of challenge is to “sacrifice what feeds you.”  In times of plenty it is easy to forget that we are utterly dependent upon Jesus providing for our needs.  To forget to be thankful that he does provide our daily bread and to pray for and serve those who have none. This week, I’m accepting the challenge in the form of not buying any groceries and using what we have in our pantry instead.  This will mean we eat canned fruit instead of fresh, that we’ll be eating many meals without meat, and we’ll likely be trying some new things this week as I work to creatively come up with menu options. There will be no running out to the store to pick up that extra ingredient that I need for a recipe. What will you do to sacrifice what feeds you. Want to join me in pillaging your pantry?  This might mean inviting friends over for a potluck to share your resources, to eat more simply, or to try a winning combination of beets, white beans and spinach (I seriously am thinking about putting these things together in some sort of salad).


  • Susie VG

    Oh Jess, I am sorry to hear about the foreclosure you had to go through, after all the work and stress to end in that is tough. Thankful for what God has birthed in you. I appreciate what you’ve said about the luxuries we have in the US, and the luxury of choice. And all the food waste we create in our country because we expect perfection in our produce, or the liability for companies to put conservative expiration dates on food, and for grocery stores to dump food because its damaged on the outside. In our house we are planning on doing a no grocery shopping, only dumpster diving week to experience some of what you are talking about-being creative with what we will get and being grateful for what we have. Can you believe I am an advocate for this? How God has worked in my heart to let go of many things.
    And… I would eat your beet, bean spinach salad. =)

    • Jessica

      Thanks Susie- it was pretty rough to go through but we’re glad it’s over. So cool that you’re doing a dumpster diving week! I really can’t believe that you’re doing it- very cool 🙂

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