Missing Ingredients

Written by Rhonda Alstott

My love and reputation for cooking I owe to my two grandmothers, Mary and Ellen. I grew up cooking alongside them with the coveted privilege of licking the beaters when a dish was complete. As I grew into adulthood, I asked for the treasured recipes. One dish in particular was a holiday dessert Grandma Ellen affectionately called “Gone with the Wind”. I must have made it 3 or 4 times, each one not turning out right until my mother, hearing me complain, confessed “you know she leaves out ingredients so no one can replicate her specialty “……. I learned a lot that day and I am happy to say I eventually got the secret ingredient. I have also learned that my grandmother isn’t the only one who has purposefully altered their special recipe.


As a parent, there have been several times in my experiences that I have believed I had followed a “recipe” only to believe “my cake” wasn’t turning out as I had envisioned it.  I read all the best Christian Parenting Books, I had a list of family rules, and I instituted a bedtime routine.I asked the right people for advice, homeschooled for a season and even removed the family TV. As hard as I tried, my children could not escape the same condition that other families had fallen into. Tony would often respond that the cake was still baking and not to lose hope, but as I have aged into this parenting role, I realize that more times than not, I may have not added the right ingredients.  


There is something so freeing when you are able to look at your adult child and confess that you are sorry for all the ways you have misrepresented the love of Christ to them. There is freedom in accepting the responsibility that you have cared more about right behavior and somewhere along the way lost sight of the right heart, which has the real opportunity to shape true behavior change. And following a true confession of your remorse, the wish that they find a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe and His Son Jesus and their Spirit, followed by a genuine hug is the most redeeming feeling in the world and gives hope that faith may win out after all. After all, God is still pursuing my child, despite and in spite, of me being misguided and directed as a parent. There is a true hope this Christmas that Jesus will come in new ways and not disappoint, that He will be real in the lives of all of us, even if we have failed and left out some key ingredients in the faith we’ve tried to pass on to our families.


In Colossians 3:12-15, Paul gives us the key ingredients in a recipe to follow:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”


In my parenting quest for holiness, I forgot that holiness is only possible because of what Christ has done for me and my children through His death and resurrection. I cannot follow a list of rules in an attempt to have a recipe for holiness…but I can certainly add compassion, kindness, patience, forgiveness and especially love. If we really want to have a great “dish” when it’s all said and done, maybe we need to pay more attention to the quality of the ingredients we are putting into our recipe. There are certain ingredients that cannot be substituted or left out if we want our finished dish to taste good.  I’ve also realized that this recipe for faith is too important for shortcuts. Right ingredients with patience and a dash of God’s amazing grace can give us the homes of peace we all long and hope for.


May God’s Presence and Peace Be Present in Your Life as Well as Those You Love this Advent Season

9 Responses to “Missing Ingredients”

  1. Holly VanTyle says:

    Great thoughts Rhonda,,

  2. Jessica Carranza says:

    Loved this!

  3. Connie Frink says:

    Very well written and insightful….that said, it also explains why you kept insisting I had left an ingredient out of my bread recipe 😁 love you, dear friend!

  4. Michelle Hamiltom says:

    Well said, we parents try the best we can…

  5. Michelle Hamiltom says:

    Well said, we parents try the best we can…

  6. Erica Lawrence says:

    Brilliant! Thank you for sharing this.

  7. beth White says:

    well said again Rhonda , you always inspire me!!
    God is good!

  8. Bill Schuppert says:

    Thanks Rhonda for this post. I think that the number one thing that a parent can pray or wish for is the salvation of their children.We are challenged to use the right ingredients but too many times we fail to include the wooing and guidiance of the Holy Spirit to convict and to lead each person to accept the gift of salvation that Jesus provides.

  9. Janice says:

    Beautifully written. Sincere honesty reaches hearts every time. Thank you.

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