My husband is a great cook. He can run circles around me in the kitchen. I lean more towards cooking out of boxes and cans…but he creates meals from scratch. I cook because I have to….for him, its therapy. One of his early successes was his salsa recipe (we have several variations) which got rave reviews from friends and family and people at church. So much so, that after a few years people were saying things like, “you really need to sell this salsa in stores.” Or, “when are you going to market this product – its amazing!”. Words every prideful person likes to hear.
So we did what any crazy person does…we researched our options, made phone calls, met with people, and eventually went to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January of 2006. We met and signed a contract with a company that would manufacture our salsa and walk us through the process. Of course, we wanted God to bless our endeavors so we made sure to pray about it, asking God to bless our business, and that He would allow it to be highly successful. Then jars were bought, recipes were perfected, labels were designed, money was invested and we were on our way to becoming the millionaires we thought surely we would be.
Did God answer our prayers? You betcha He did. Just not in the way we thought. One of the lessons in grace that I’ve learned is that God’s story is rarely the same story as the one I write in my mind.
Our salsa was picked up by about 10 stores in Northern California, and for a period of time it was fun to be able to say we were in “such and such” store. Then we realized a few things: we weren’t good at marketing, our product cost more to make than most others (long story…but we used better jars than we should have, better ingredients, etc. which jacks the price up and lowers your profit margin), and if we were going to become the millionaires we imagined in our minds we were going to have to hire a marketing person. Again, more moola that we didn’t have and so after about 4 years we let our dream die. Along with our millions.
Part 2 of the story: I am involved in taking a team to New York each summer to work with inner city kids, working alongside a great ministry there called called Operation Exodus. I’ve been going for 5 years, and in order to go our team has to raise a lot of money, so we have fundraisers. God, in His sovereignty has allowed me to sell salsa out on the porch of our church each year for Super Bowl, Memorial Day BBQ’s, July 4th and Labor Day celebrations and guess where the money goes? Yep…it goes to that mission trip. So, everything we prayed for; that it would be highly successful and blessed has been given to us. Did it match my story? Not so much, but in God’s economy the outcome had a much better ending than ours would have ever been. That’s the blessing.
We all tend to think that God is the bad guy when our prayers aren’t answered the way we think they should be. I’m trying to think more along the lines of if the outcome brings glory to Him, then He’s answered my prayers.