Here's the new novel I wanted to tell you about this week. It's Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck. Here's a bit about it in Rachel's own words:
Thanks for having me today!
I’m no genius in the kitchen, but my heroine, Joy Ballard, finds herself doing a job she can’t do for all the right reasons. She’s a cooking show host who can’t cook!
When I started this book, that premise got a good laugh from those who heard it. Then, I’d ask, “But what’s that story about?”
The person would shrug. “I don’t know.”
“Yeah, me neither.”
I had to ask a lot of questions about what a woman hosts a cooking show when she can’t so much as fry eggs. I didn’t want an insincere, lying heroine. She’s not a manipulator or conniver.
Joy simply found herself filling a job she was asked to do – by her father. She was great in front of the camera. Just not behind the stove.
Not long ago, I stood on stage at church with my worship team praying before the service started. Head back, eyes close, I said in my heart, “Lord, help us. You have to help me. I’m so weak in leading worship. I cannot do it without You.”
While I’m a decent singer, and I can lead the people to worship Jesus, I’m not a musician. I’m not one who can skillfully bring the band and the worship sound together. And until I found myself with a “starting over” band, I never realized how gaping this weakness was for me.
A few days later, I was thinking of all the great worship leaders, singers and musicians. Of great writers. And I just felt weak and inadequate in the two main callings of my life.
Again, I went to the Lord. “Why can’t You find a good worship leader for church? Why can’t you help me be a more successful writer? I see people who are good at what they do, succeeding.”
This is what He said to me. “… most people won’t give me their weaknesses.”
I was stopped cold. I understood that a lot of times God invites us on a journey to participate with Him in some aspect of our lives or others, but because we are not good at that thing, or because we are weak with fear or shame or whatever, we say no.
It’s in our weaknesses His strength is manifest. God is not looking for mighty men and women, He’s looking for weak men and women in which HE can show His might.
Don’t misunderstand, God loves excellence, skill and devotion. While leading worship practices, I have to be excellent as I can be to bring the team and songs together.
I’ll never have a recording or national ministry as a worship leader, but for our little church in Florida, I’m God’s girl. For now.
That, in some ways, is Joy’s journey. She said yes to her father’s desire.
Can we say “Yes?” to our Father’s desire for us? Offer Him all of our strengths AND weaknesses? He’s more than willing to overcome.
In my story, Joy’s secret is revealed and takes a pretty good tumble, but love is waiting to catch her. In the form of cowboy chef and hero, Luke Redmond.
Sigh… Love wins.
One of the things Joy discovers along the way is her father’s banana bread recipe. It’s delish!
Here it is:
Charles Ballard’s Banana Bread
From Connie Spangler
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1t. baking soda
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup plus 1 T. buttermilk
1/2 cup choc. chips
1/2 cup p.butter chips
In a large bowl stir together flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in chips. Pour into a greased 9-in. x 3-in. loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until it tests done. Cool on a rack 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Tips for baking banana bread:
DON'T over mix the batter, just until moistened. Banana bread is always best if after its cooled to wrap up and serve the next day.
Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and writes books from the second floor of what she calls her “turret tower.” A gift from the Lord. Besides “Dining with Joy,” Rachel has written fourteen other novels. Also out is “Softly and Tenderly” which Rachel wrote with country artist, Sara Evans.
Visit her web site at http://www.rachelhauck.com/