Tomato Paste

When we got married, the church I was working for gave us a "Pantry Shower" which basically meant that members of the church contributed non-perishables for our cupboards.  It was such a neat idea and for 6-8 months we were set with so many useful items.  In fact, it took us a little over a year to use all of the pancake mix given to us (thanks to Cosco).  But there is one item in particular that has followed us to all 4 of our homes and looks like it may be enduring year 3 of marriage.

Tomato Paste.

There is this one little can of Tomato Paste that has withstood all of the moving, cupboard clean-outs, and meal prepping.

What is Tomato Paste?  Why does it come in such an awkwardly small can?  Can it do anything special that tomato sauce or a can of tomatoes can't do?  Obviously, these deep and thoughtful questions reveal to you my advanced cooking knowledge.

Maybe I'm just not that adventurous in the kitchen, because I have yet to have a need for Tomato Paste.

And randomly, the other day while I was searching the cupboards for something to make for dinner, that can of Tomato Paste stood out to me in a different way.

Lately, I keep telling my husband that "I don't have any real skills".  I'm not an artist or a creator or great in the kitchen.  I'm not fantastic with numbers like an accountant or crafty in the home like my carpenter husband.  Though I enjoy writing, I wouldn't consider myself a writer.  Most days, my dreams and goals and ambitions are quickly doused by heaps of self-doubt, wondering how all of my scattered qualities will ever come together in a cohesive way.

My skill set slightly resembles Tomato Paste.

It's random.  It doesn't seem to be needed often.  It feels pointless 73% of the time.  But every once in a while, it is needed.

That ability that few others possess.

Those random facts we keep in our brains.

The passions we have that most people don't understand.

The dream we've been clinging to that doesn't seem to make sense.

Our unique way of seeing the world.

But God doesn't see those things as random at all.  Every quality, passion, dream and desire has been intentionally positioned in us for a unique place and purpose.  

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart"                                                                                               -Jeremiah 1:5

Who we are isn't by chance.

Our interests are not a design flaw.

What captures out attention isn't accident.  

While I have yet to use our Tomato Paste, I believe that one day I'll stumble into an occasion perfectly in need of what it has to offer, and in that moment, be so thankful that I didn't get rid of it simply because I didn't think it mattered.

"You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. 
You are more than dust and bones.
You are spirit and power and image of God.
And you have been given Today.” 
― Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

Ashley Sider