The Best Seat in the House

When we bought our first home a couple years ago, there were many things I loved about it—the open floor plan, that extra bathroom, the big back yard. And I was especially happy to have my own kitchen peninsula and its accompanying stools. To some women, having a kitchen peninsula is no big deal. To some it just provides extra counter space to deposit junk. Or maybe it’s just a good place to feed the kids their cereal in the morning. But to me, having a kitchen peninsula with stools is a special blessing from God. As I sat on one of my very own kitchen stools for the first time, filled with joy at owning our own home, I thought about the stools I had sat on during my teenage years, and I wondered how God might use mine for a similar purpose.

There were two different young mothers who took me under their wings when I was in high school. Terrie and Susan were best friends, and they and their husbands helped with the youth group at my church. They saw potential in me, for some reason, and each of them invited me over often. I vividly remember sitting on a kitchen stool, opposite one of my mentors, while we cut out cookies, formed yeast rolls, or made homemade noodles. And always, we spent the time talking about how things were going for me at home and at school and how I could better handle my problems. I don’t know what it was about sitting on a kitchen stool that enabled me to open up and talk. I was terribly shy and preferred to listen rather than talk when I was a teenager. Maybe the fact that our hands were busy with other things and our eyes were diverted to the tasks in front of us made me feel more comfortable opening up. Maybe the fact that we weren’t sitting down purposefully to have a conversation about me made me feel more comfortable, too. The conversation sprang up naturally as we did other things together.

I learned a lot during my teen years by spending much of my free time on a kitchen stool. Not only did I learn how to make fantastic cinnamon rolls, the secrets to a great piecrust, and lots of other cooking skills, but I also learned how to handle my teenage crises in a biblical way. By watching my mentors in their everyday lives, I also learned how to submit to and love a husband, discipline children properly, interact kindly with people on the telephone, show friendliness to neighbors, and a plethora of other things. I never did an official Bible study with either Susan or Terrie, but I learned much about how to apply the Bible to my life by watching those godly women.

Now, as a wife and mother, I still use the wisdom I gained during my teen years from Terrie and Susan. And, since I know how crucial their friendships were to me during my most impressionable years, I want the Lord to use me in the same way, to mentor teenage girls.

The Lord has already been putting my kitchen stools to good use since we bought our home. My husband is a professor at a Christian college, so we get to know a lot of teenage girls. I’ve had a few of them over to my house on different occasions. One time, a couple of girls came over to make brownies for their dates to a school concert. This time I sat on a stool and greased the pan while the two girls mixed the ingredients together. I wasn’t surprised when one of them piped up, out of the blue, “There’s a guy in my class who I think likes me, but I don’t like him. What do you think I should do, Mrs. Forrest?” We also have two “campus daughters,” and one of them has, on multiple occasions, sat on one of my kitchen stools, nervously pulling her fingers over and over a strand of her hair while pouring out a dramatic tale of woe and asking for advice on how to handle the crisis at hand. I love helping these girls by sharing with them the wisdom I’ve gained only because I was once just like them, and because I had some great mentors who shared the Bible with me at their age.

My kitchen stools have been used as a tool to minister to people other than teenage girls, as well. My 17-year old brother, whom I don’t see often, came to visit us during Christmas break last year. As I put together a chicken enchilada casserole, Jason plopped onto one of the stools opposite me, tipped it back precariously on its two hind legs while holding onto the counter with his fingertips, and started talking. He shared some struggles with me, and I was able to give him some sisterly advice. While I put the casserole into the oven, my back was turned away from him. I wiped away the tear that threatened to spill out, and I thanked God for giving me a comfortable place in my home for my brother and me to have a good talk.

I’ve noticed, too, that whenever my dad comes to visit, he finds a parking space on one of my kitchen stools (whenever he’s not holding or playing with his grandkids, that is!). He occupies his spot with a mug of coffee and a crossword puzzle in front of him. We have great talks while I tinker around in the kitchen.

I live hundreds of miles away from Terrie and Susan now, but my husband, children, and I still make visits a couple times a year. I’ve found that I’m still not too old to need an occasional visit to one of their kitchen stools myself. Just last summer, Terrie and I were making homemade egg rolls. Terrie stuffed and wrapped the wontons while I supervised the electric frying vat. We’ve both come to expect that these cooking sessions are really chances for us to talk, and I’m not timid at all anymore. As I dropped another egg roll into the vat I asked, “Terrie, how did you deal with your children when they…” The egg rolls were done all too soon and our hungry husbands and children were upon us. The stool time talks sometimes just aren’t long enough.

I’m so thankful the Lord provided us with a house that had everything we needed, plus a kitchen peninsula and stools. A kitchen stool isn’t the most beautiful of chairs, and it isn’t the most comfortable either. But in many ways, I think my kitchen stools are the best seats in the house.

Titus 2:4-5 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Published in: on March 9, 2007 at 3:23 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] March 12th, 2007 in Loving Children, Home Culture, Mentoring by dgage This is an inspiring post by Addy Forrest on her new blog, Faith and […]

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