Finding God at the Kitchen Sink: Search for Glory in the Everyday Grime

Finding God at the Kitchen Sink: Search for Glory in the Everyday Grime

by Maggie Paulus

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Overview

Did you know you can find glory everywhere?

Finding God at the Kitchen Sink is a collection of reflections for those seeking solace in this fallen, confusing, and disorderly world.

Did you know you can find glory everywhere—in God’s creation, in His Word, in relationships, and in the details of everyday life? Maggie’s gut-honest perspective will help you see that God shows up even where we least expect Him, like in the pain and ache of life.

With stories that teach us to pay attention to His Presence, to the God who is always here and is always for us, Finding God at the Kitchen Sink changes the way we see everything. Those with bruised up hearts who are plodding along, simply existing, will come away with a heaping amount of hope that there is indeed purpose in the mundane and glory in the grime.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802411808
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 08/01/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Maggie Paulus is a wife, momma, writer and lover of Jesus. She confesses to scarfing down
ramen noodles late at night, hiding chocolate from her husband and children and occasionally
prank calling her friends. She’s also a beauty hunter. Maggie looks for God each day in His
Word, in creation, in the people He has given her, in the ache of life, in the humdrum—at the
kitchen sink—everywhere! When she’s not capturing life in words and photos, or cleaning up the
messes around her, you’ll find her digging in the dirt or wandering through the woods to enjoy
all the wild things. Maggie lives in Michigan with her handsome bearded husband, three
rambunctious kids, and one cat.

Read an Excerpt

Finding God at the Kitchen Sink

Search for Glory in the Everyday Grime


By Maggie Paulus, Bailey Utecht

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2014 Maggie Paulus
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8024-1180-8


CHAPTER 1

A QUIET COFFEE MORNING


I GET UP EARLY AND ENJOY A quiet, coffee morning because I miss God. Something in me wants to be with my Maker. I want to sit beside Him and hear His voice. So I open up His Word to Matthew 5 where Jesus teaches about life to this great big crowd of people, and I listen to Him talking.

He speaks.

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. MATTHEW 5:1


Just one verse. That's all I need for now. This is Jesus talking to me. His words nourish my heart, and I think about what He means. He saw the crowds ... when Jesus looked out into a crowd of people, He didn't just see a sea of faces. He saw each individual person standing there with all their soul-ache. He knew where each one had come from, all they'd been through, and He looked deep into every single heart. They could hide behind each other if they wanted, but they couldn't hide all their insides from Him. Not from the God who sees past all the skin into what makes us who we are.

Then I think about the crowd in my own heart. I mean, don't we all carry a crowd of people around in our heart? I look inside and I see a myriad of people who I love and pray for, and I carry them with me and wonder if God sees them. He does. He sees and knows—intimately knows—each heart and He aims to speak into their life.

I ponder more of His words. He went up on the mountain ... He sat down. This God who made the mountains, now humble like us, was climbing up all the dirt and rocks so He could look out into all the faces. He sits down. God sits down. He's not too busy. He's not too rushed. He doesn't have too much to do. This is His important thing. To sit and speak words that help and heal whoever will sit still enough to listen. And all their lives these people had missed God. Something deep inside them had always wanted to be with Him and now here He was. So they sat a while and spent time with the One who could see past the facade right into all their brimming ache. They were hungry and His words fed them. They were soul-shattered and His words made them whole.

The disciples came to Him. Am not I His follower, too? So I come to Him on a quiet coffee morning and sit at His feet. Because I miss God and I want to be with Him. He's my Maker and He's also my friend.

And this Jesus, He still looks out across the world and sees the crowds of people. And in a sea of faces, He still knows the heart behind each one. He still sits and speaks words that nourish and bring life to whoever will stop long enough to listen.

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. PSALM 46:10-11

CHAPTER 2

WHAT GOD IS LIKE


SOMETIMES MY HUSBAND, BRENT, SCOOPS UP OUR daughter and cradles her on his lap. He gently lays Hope's little head down on his chest and holds her close ... just because. Just because he's her daddy and she's his little girl.

And that's what God is like.

Sometimes Hope picks up her doll and takes her for a stroll. She wraps her little blanket around her and tucks in all the sides, just so. She feeds her and rocks her and gives her a kiss—smudgy cheeks and all—because she loves her baby doll.

And that's what God is like.

Sometimes my son Gideon notices when someone is sad. He knows what it feels like to have a hard time, and in his concern he wants to make it better. So he says things like, "Don't be sad. I'll take care of you." He means it with all his heart.

And that's what God is like.

When my littlest guy, Samuel, sees his brother or sister nearby, he squeals with a raucous delight. He's so happy they exist. And when their face is anywhere close to his, he reaches out, takes hold of their cheeks, and pulls them in.

And that's what God is like.

Sometimes in the night, I wake up and look over at Brent and enjoy him here with me. I lie quiet. I watch his chest rise and fall with each new breath. And I smile, thankful.

And oftentimes I get up to go peek at little ones asleep in their beds and marvel at the beauty of their faces, full of peace and rest. My heart fills up with delight and I love them immensely, because they're mine. I know without a doubt I'd lay down my life for my children.

And that's what God is like.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 JOHN 4:8

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 JOHN 4:16

CHAPTER 3

HUNGRY STILL


TODAY I WATCH THE SKY MOVE. TURBULENT clouds swirl and eddy across the marvelous deep above me. Something about it reminds me of the underside of a seashell. The way the ripples and whirls curve under and smooth out all fluid-like.

And when I look up at the sky, I think of big things. High things. Long things. Like eternity and never-ending life. I imagine one of those clouds peeling back so I can see through to the other side. To forever. To the God I can't stop longing for.

On this stormy July morning, I attest to this—I entered this world with a ravishing hunger. A yearning for something. Someone who will awe me. Undo me. Overwhelm me with His breathtaking beauty. And the purpose of this craving is to drive me to the Source of deepest satisfaction. To my chief delight. To Him. So I may know Him. Touch Him. Taste Him. Be filled up to the brim and overflowing with Him—Him in all His heart-stirring wonder.

And if I was made to be filled up with God, then it makes sense why everything else leaves me empty. I can never get enough of all the stuff of the world. Never enough clothes. Or money. Things. Never enough entertainment. Always needing something—one more possession that will surely make me happy at last. But I'm left disappointed because it's all so fleeting, so temporary. Like the one cloud already spreading thin. I can barely trace the outline. Like this earthly existence—this one life we've been given that we think is all there is. How quickly it passes, spreads thin, and then is gone.

So I lean forward. I take steps toward Him: to the One who one day these very eyes will see. My heart leaps when I think of the reality of this. And when I look over the horizon, I barely catch a glimpse. His kingdom light bleeding through, seeping into my here and now. I worship. And I am filled.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart. ECCLESIASTES 3:11

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. EPHESIANS 3:14-19 THE MESSAGE

CHAPTER 4

WHEN YOU'RE NOT EXACTLY A SUPERHERO


GIDEON WAKES UP WAY TOO EARLY, AND I groan. I'm not mentally prepared yet for all the loud, and I was desperately hoping for some more quiet. Quiet to think. Quiet to pray. Quiet to read and meditate. Quiet to soak in God and let Him fill all my empty, aching places. But not this morning. Mr. Tasmanian was alert, alive, and enthusiastic. So I roll my eyes and brace myself for another rambunctious-boy-energy whirl of a day.

He cant help it. He's a curious little fella and he's got all these questions. I mean, he needs to know the life cycle of a corn stalk and where the milk truck actually goes after it leaves the barn, and where were going after breakfast, and then what we're doing right after that. I repeat an awful lot of "I don't knows." We stir pink cream of wheat because he wants to color it red but instead it turns out pink. I look up at the clock and it's not even eight. I'm already worn out. This could be one of those grueling days.

Then he asks to go upstairs and pat Hope's back, which is actually code for, "I want to wake up Hope so she can play with me," which actually turns out to mean, "I don't want Hope to actually play with me, I want her to stand supportively next to me and cheer me on in all my endeavors." I refuse to let him go pat her back. He cries. I could cry, too.

The house is a wreck again and I have this hilarious mental picture of myself. Basically, I'm standing in the living room in some overly tight spandex, looking a lot like a superhero. Only I don't have any superpowers or any superhuman strength—just a hopeful disposition I could conquer this place with my vacuum and squirt bottle and my flapping cape. It helps, this mental picture, and I grin because I'm a superhero on the inside, making everything right again.

Brent hugs me before he leaves for work and prays for us and for this day, and I don't ask God for superpowers but for a new heart ... a thankful one. The cloud lifts. And I've still got my flailing shortcomings, but I remember that's the point of Jesus. His righteousness covering all my sins. Today is another gift, and when God sees me, He's looking out through the lens of His perfect Son, so I am pure and I'm spotless and it's like I'm new all over again. I don't need a lot of quiet time to remember that.

I can hear Gideon singing, "He's got the whoooole world, in His hands ..." and I sing it, too. He's got me. Always got me. And He's got all this world, including all the mess. And He's making something good again today. So I take one step at a time, breathe in grace and exhale thanks. All this noise becomes a joyful melody and all this commotion a dance. Thankfulness. It is good medicine.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. PHILIPPIANS 2:14-15

CHAPTER 5

THE SHOUT-OUT


I heard it today. The shout-out. The way God says I love you.

I heard it in the morning, when a group of friends came trampling through my front door bringing powdered donuts and orange juice and gifts for our newborn babe, Samuel.

Again I heard it at noon: kids giggling on the living-room floor building block towers and pillow castles and marching around the couch with their clashing symbols and harmonica songs.

And in the evening, I heard it. Loud and clear. The shout. The I love you shout. God sang it to me in the waves when we drove down to the beach, all those billows rushing in. He exclaimed it in the foam swirling around my feet.

He didn't mention it or touch lightly on the subject. I'm telling you—He yelled it out. Spoke unmistakably through the sky, in case I didn't hear.

And now it resounds through my being. It's hard to believe it's true. That God would love me. Actually know me, really know me, and still would love me.

But He does, so He hollers it loud. To all of His children, He daily clamors it out. His I love you shout.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 JOHN 3:1

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. JOHN 3:16

CHAPTER 6

HOW BEING A MOMMA HAS CHANGED ME


I DIDN'T KNOW HOW BEING A MOMMA would change me. When I quit working at the office and wondered if I'd miss all the grown-ups, I didn't know how much I'd be okay. It turned out Id be fine teaching a little boy his letters and how to make friends and teaching a little girl how to paint with watercolors and build a sand castle and gently scrub the grime from her baby doll's cheeks.

My email box got a lot thinner as the walls of my belly grew out and people weren't writing to ask me to do all these "important" things. But somehow I ended up finding all this delight in scrubbing mac and cheese off plastic Thomas the Tank Engine plates and changing little people's britches for the umpteenth time.

I really, really like being a momma.

I like the part where I get to cuddle up next to the little boy who grew big inside of me and gave me my first stretch marks, who continues to stretch my thinking with his questions like, "Does God ever get hungry?" and "What about sleep? Does God sleep?"

And I love the part where I push my little girl on the swing, even though I'd rather be reading a book or weeding the garden. And while she's learning to kick her legs out, I catch a glimpse of all that radiant light in her eyes and the way her silky, sun-streaked hair whooshes back and forth. I remember again what it was like to be young and wild and happy and free.

And I treasure the part where my baby smiles this great big, lively grin, his eyes glad and full of light, the moment he sees me peeking over his crib to scoop him up.

I didn't know how much I'd be giving my life away. Or that my most satisfying work would be when no one else was looking as I poured out all I had to nurture the lives of my babes. Or that God would be my strength as I learned to craft love, the stuff that lasts forever, a thousand times a day in a hundred different ways.

I didn't know how being a momma would cause me to care more for all the other boys and girls. That I'd begin to see them through a momma's eyes—this concern for their lives and a burden to help and protect them, too. I didn't know how my heart would hurt for the world when everyone else was fast asleep—how much I'd pray for God to push back the darkness. Or how much I'd ask Him to let His kingdom come here to this fallen world, like it is in heaven.

I certainly never knew how much I'd cry. All these happy tears. And how God would use a child's faith and purity to encourage me. How He'd show me anew, through such little people's eyes, how to view the world with all this wonder. Observing a caterpillar on a leaf. Stirring mud with a stick. Throwing rocks in a pond. Running for the sheer fun of it.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror and see how this tummy has warped and how these hips won't ever fit back into my favorite jeans I remember this—I get to be a momma.

And the King will answer them, "Truly;I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." MATTHEW 25:40


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Finding God at the Kitchen Sink by Maggie Paulus, Bailey Utecht. Copyright © 2014 Maggie Paulus. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

A Word From Maggie,
Preface,
A Quiet Coffee Morning,
What God Is Like,
Hungry Still,
When You're Not Exactly A Superhero,
The Shout-Out,
How Being A Momma Has Changed Me,
When It's Hard To Rest,
Light And Why It Moves Me,
When You Wonder Where God Is,
This Life—A Love Song,
When You Don't Measure Up,
The Ways We Love,
Looking For Help,
Why God Does Want Your Messy Heart,
Hunger For Beauty,
What Every Girl Needs To Hear,
Extravagant Love,
When You've Forgotten You're On The Same Team,
When It's Hard To Trust,
What A Family Is For,
Because Sometimes Life Hurts,
How To Really Enjoy Your Life,
The Beauty Hunt,
How Winter Has Taught Me About The Kingdom,
When You're Tired And Need Some Rest,
Perhaps All God Really Wants From Us,
Brave,
A Prayer To The God Of My Life,
When Your Life Is Mostly Full Of Ordinary Things,
Solid Ground,
When You're Afraid Of Being Abandoned,
The Most Important Thing,
When Your Life Is Really Wrecky,
Thoughts On The Kingdom,
Learning To Live Here Unafraid,
The Sound Of Our Breathing,
When Daddies And Their Boys Get Mad At Each Other,
On Hating Yourself And Why You Can Be Vulnerable To Jesus,
On Finding God In Our Broken World,
A Prayer Of Blessing—To The Reader,
About the Author,
Acknowledgments,
Excerpt from Made For More,
Excerpt from Packing Light,

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Maggie Paulus belongs to the society A. W. Tozer called “the fellowship of the burning heart.” She’s on a hunt—a hunt for beauty and rest, for the slaking of those longings and desires that linger deep down in every human soul. And in this gem of a book, she invites us to join the hunt, recounting along the way the brokenness of her past, the ordinariness of her present, and the glorious hope she has discovered in Jesus. C. S. Lewis wrote about finding patches of Godlight in the woods of our experience. Well, this beautiful book is full of Godlight. I hope you’ll read it. 

Brian G. Hedges, pastor and author 

Captivating! Every page breathes fresh gospel hope. Maggie masterfully weaves life-story with His story and then beckons us to imagine the extraordinary, almost unimaginable significance and mission that exists in the mundaneness of our daily realities. I laughed. I cried. And I was drawn to know Him more. 

Carrie Gaul, author, Joy in the Midst: A Study in Philippians

Maggie has a child's eyes, an artist's soul, and a lover's heart. Some books make wise. This book reveals the God who makes good. Grab your coffee, cookies and Kleenex, and (as Maggie puts it) get ready for your Maker to "scribble round the edges of your heart."

Del Fehsenfeld III, senior editor of Revive Magazine, Life Action Ministries

Maggie has been a longtime friend of our family, and I've always admired the way she notices beauty and the grace of God in both nature and the people around her. She takes the time, in her ordinary routine, to thank and praise God, and marvel at the work of His hand. That's a gift. In Finding God at the Kitchen Sink, Maggie shares that gift with us!

Carrie Ward author,  Together: Growing Appetites for God

With homespun stylethat won’t let you go, Maggie lives and breathes God in every detail. She helps us appreciate that there is no humdrum when it comes to discovering God in the daily grind. Real struggles can become real strides forward with Maggie as a reliable guide.

Byron Paulus, president, Life Action Ministries, Buchanan, MI

If we ever needed the reminder that God will meet us where we are in our messy, broken lives, this is it. Maggie beautifully shows us how to see God in the midst of our everyday lives—both in the exceptional and the mundane. A must-read for those desperate to recognize God’s fingerprints on their life.

Natalie Lederhouse, assistant editor, Today’s Christian Woman

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