The idea for The Spigot often surprises me. I await a nudge by the Holy Spirit within me. I have been waiting all week. Well…

We celebrated my granddaughter Evangelene’s first birthday on Saturday.

I marvel at the speed of this past year. While you and I experienced life’s ups and downs in the last twelve months, so has Eve. From tough and sleepless nights to the joyous sweet laughter around dogs, the mastery of crawling, and the freedom of first steps she experienced many of the struggles and joys of learning life. Whew – her first year flowed with love, prayer, and growth. She melts my heart and I thank God for her mom and dad.

Reflect for a moment on some of the ups and downs from the past twelve months. In what ways have you noticed God’s presence with you?

For Eve’s birthday celebration some of her little friends and their parents joined the family for playtime, a smash cake, fruit pizza cookies, and a robust charcuterie board. Eve enjoyed the lively interaction and showed off her new talents of standing alone and walking short distances. The events of Eve’s life this past year position her for healthy growth, many adventures, and development in the days to come. I anticipate that a fruitful, fun, and flourishing life lie ahead for Evangeline Peliah Hoag (and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of her journey). She truly is a miracle of God that reflects a full and vibrant life.

Nevertheless, the Lord stirred me to reflect on the charcuterie board. 😊

Charcuterie – SHärˈko͞odərē
A charcuterie board is an appetizer typically served on a wooden board or stone slab, either eaten straight from the board itself or portioned onto flatware. It features a selection of preserved foods like meats and cheeses along with crackers, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spreads.

A beautiful display on brown parchment paper (which resembled a wooden board) revealed Aunt Sophie and Uncle Peter’s gift to Eve and her parents for the birthday party. Sophie developed a plan for the most stunning array of meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, grapes, and spreads: a Charcuterie board.

Sophie set ziplocks containing the elements for the board on the table and began to mastermind a tantalizing display for everyone to enjoy. Initially though, the ziplocks didn’t look like much – they simply contained different cheeses. The bags of nuts and crackers seemed mundane, and the spreads remained sealed in their jars. Yet, as time progressed, the cheeses formed arches across the table tempting the eyes with their variety of colors. Vivid shades popped from the red pepperoni and cooked turkey. Dark almonds and creamy cashews filled in spaces as did the green and red sweet grapes. In the end, the charcuterie board gripped everyone’s eyes and beckoned to each tummy; it was beautiful.

The unfolding of the charcuterie board reminded me of ways God seems to work. Just as a single bag of cheese appeared insignificant or the jar of pepper-onion relish seemed odd or unnecessary to the board, they were essential components to the overall masterpiece Sophie designed and imagined for everyone to savor.Similarly, on a much grander scale, our everyday experiences, joys and challenges, might seem pointless, laborious, or even confusing, yet God purposes a design for each of our lives that reveals His master plan and purpose. (Psalm 33:11) Nothing is mundane or wasted with God. Just as the variety of items on the board made it appealing as an appetizer, likewise, the variety of experiences in each of our lives display the glory of God.

What experiences in your life have caused you to wonder about God’s plan and purpose for you? Rest in the assurance that He does have plans and purposes for you! (Jeremiah 29:11)

In the same way the charcuterie board unfolded under the direct guidance of Sophie, our lives also emerge under the purposeful care of the Lord. This week represents what the Church calls, Holy Week. It depicts the week leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I wonder if Jesus’ first followers experienced confusion and even despair as the master plan for Jesus life progressed? What did they think as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem? Did the disciples feel sick to their stomachs during the last supper in the upper room? Were they confused when Jesus began to wash their feet? How did Jesus’ followers wipe the hot tears from their faces as they watched their dear friend innocently suffer? Each of those instances by themselves might have appeared strange, needless, and bewildering, yet together they set in motion the ultimate price for our freedom from sin and victory over death: God’s master plan. (Matthew 26:39)

How do you acknowledge holy week? Is it time to engage the unfolding of God’s intention with Jesus and contemplate the costly elements of the week?

This week make a simple charcuterie board with a few ingredients like cheese, meat, nuts, fruit, and maybe a dip or spread. As you develop and create the board, ponder with God the different details of your life. Wonder with God about the extravagant and tantalizing charcuterie board He orchestrates displaying your life.

Although we often miss glimpses of God’s broad design, He confidently directs His plans and purposes for our lives. Thank God for the robust and beautiful display of your life through the metaphor of a charcuterie board, knowing that He created others to experience a fruitful, fun, and flourishing life alongside of you. You can trust Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Each of our lives are like a charcuterie board. A charcuterie board displays the creativity and intention of its creator like our lives reveal the creativity and intention of God Most High. While in the moment, we may not understand the pieces and parts of our “charcuterie board, “ we can trust that God‘s design is stunning. (Romans 8:28) Even when we don’t feel like God is working or we feel blind to His movements and plan, we can live confident in God’s presence, power, and purposes over our lives.

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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Psalm 121:1-5 –  I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.

Laurie Short.  Finding Faith in the Dark: When the Story of Your Life Takes a Turn You Didn’t Plan. Grand Rapids, MI. 2014.

Charles F. Stanley. In Step With God: Understanding His Ways and Plans for Your Life. Nashville, TN. 2008.

Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.

Casting Crowns. Desert Road.

Michael W. Smith. Waymaker.

Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.

April 14  – Littleton, CO
Breathe Retreat – A two hour spiritual retreat for women (no cost) – Join us! Email me for more information.