What have I learned in 2016 y’all? In summary: God gives us immensely lots to handle but, in turn gives us abundant grace and strength to endure… to overcome. It was a year of acceptance and transition and hurt and grace and joy. It was a year of realizing that my life is in God’s control and I had no choice but, to trust Him fully. It was a year of cooking a lot and baking even more. So today’s post I write to share His grace and the way He uses our friends and their families to wait for Him. We celebrate His plans with a lovely cookie recipe because afterall, sugar cookies are completely a gift of grace from the Lord!
My sugar cookies are perfect for decorating and also perfect to eat as is. The recipe is also easily halved in case you don’t want to make as many but, since I usually roll these out for Christmas decorating I like to make a full batch! Through this year I had a season of love and heartache and blows to my pride and control being yanked out of my hands. Someone once told me that God will wave his mighty hand and knock us down if we need it. Well, I admit- I needed it. I may never have taken the chances, the adventure I see coming in 2017 if it wasn’t for this grace disguised as bruises and loss.
Through this year of learning and questions I was blessed so much by seeing friendships I already had really grow and encourage. Today I am joyfully getting to write about my sweet friend and her family, Jamie. I was able to spend sweet time with her the last couple months especially of this year and learn so much about the season God has me in. and also a way fun afternoon of making Christmas cookies with her girls, Livvy & Penny! I mean, just look at the cuteness that these girls are! I promise they are two of the smartest and most well behaved loving children I have ever met!
Through 2016 I was dealt with so many challenges that I didn’t know how I’d begin to see the way out. I realized however, that God has blessed me with some really genuine and special friends who keep it real and love Him and pursue Him everyday. Friends who will see me in the middle of my sin and love me enough to help me be strong enough to overcome it.
Raise your hand if you are single and praying for the grace of a husband and kids? I don’t think it’s always an easy thing to get close to other ladies who are married with kids or married and pregnant, again, and feel our hearts long. It’s so hard to see God showing us that we are here for Him and Him alone and if we get the chance to be a wife and mama we are so blessed but, accept that if we do not get those opportunities we are still, so blessed.
About 2 years ago my heart was absolutely broken and maybe slightly bitter if I’m honest, that I wasn’t either of these things. I had gone most of my life without knowing God and never wanting to be a wife. I didn’t like kids very much and I would never have thought I’d long to be Mama. All of a sudden I was full of desires I’d never had and absolutely sad that I’d not had them until I was 34. During that period I avoided my church friends – especially the ones who were pregnant because it was like an immediate punch to my heart and reminder of what I didn’t have when I saw them and their sweet baby bumps. I cried more times than I’d ever admit until I finally realized how much God was going to make me wait as long as He chooses. Even harder is trying to accept He may never do those things. With God’s grace and faithfulness I have overcome most of this. I still want and hope that one day I will have those gifts but, they no longer define my life and my emotions.
He uses our friends who are married and their sweet families to remind us of His faithfulness. He creates bonds with dear friends and their kids that we long to have one day. He uses their daily lives to show us it’s not always easy to be a parent or wife and that it’s actually the hardest thing you may ever do. It’s not just full of laughter and cookies. It’s full of selflessness and sharing and lots of cleaning and being really tired. I know in my heart though- every moment of that is worth it because it’s joy at the same time.
The love of a child in any form is such a sweet and important thing y’all. If a kid will come sit with you and hug you or ask you to read to them or play – that’s the real deal. That’s trust and grace and joy all from the Lord packaged in sweet babies who think you’re awesome and love you just because. That’s also exactly what Jesus does for us.
So, to all you married girls who have kids and single friends: Embrace them. Invite them over for lunch and dinner with your families. Include them in random trips to Target or the Library and love them well. God is using every single part of your lives to help others endure. Don’t mistake their longing for a family or desires of what they may never have as something that should keep you from loving them fully and sharing your messy life with them. Encourage them to trust the Lord’s timing and plans and remind them that there are so many ways God will use them in your own life as well.
Single ladies of all ages: Serve your married friends well too! Take them random treats of coffee and offer to watch their kids so they can do things like run to the store alone and breathe a moment. Let them help your hearts while you wait with the love that God has poured into your life by their gifts to you!
Finally, please bake these cookies soon! They are so much fun any time of the year honestly and bring so much joy to little ones when you sit down and spend this time with them! I’d love to hear your comments on how you’ve worked through a period of waiting in your life or how much you’ve seen the Lord use others to help you overcome! Prayers and hope for a year of laughter and surrender to us friends.
- 6 Cups of All purpose Flour-Sifted
- 2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
- 2 Cups (4 Sticks) of Unsalted Butter (Room Temp)
- 2 Large Eggs (Cold)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of Vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon of Lemon Extract
- In large bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg.
- Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and lemon extract and blend.
- Remove dough from bowl, make 2 balls.Place each ball on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter. (I prefer press and seal) Wrap over the dough & then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2" thick. Wrap tightly and Chill dough for about 45 minutes
- Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness & cut cookies.
- To keep their shape I usually return them to the freezer for 15 minutes before I bake but, if you skip this step they'll still be lovely!
- Preheat your oven to 325° F. Slide your cookies to parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake 14-16 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
- Cool cookies on pan 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.
- Eat them or decorate them!