Same kitchen, different pots

By Laura Mihaly

If you come into our kitchen you will find my husband cooking. That’s his new thing! He learns something new every year and is now doing a three-month course on nutrition.

He confessed that he has three new ministry ideas in his mind almost every day. Some he shares with me, others he never shares, waiting in prayer to see if they are to be followed up in the future. 

Living with this man for 18 years, many times I have felt small. I wanted to have his drive and his visionary mind, but reality hit me hard over and over again: I’m not like him. My energy level is way lower than his.

We, especially women, constantly compare ourselves with others. We want to fit in! Seeing my mentor, a wonderful, strong missionary woman, teaching a seminar with one kid hanging over her hip, and my visionary, active husband, I felt that I fell short of God’s calling for my life. It took me some years into our marriage to decipher the pattern and specificity of our life together. 

I concluded that marriages, like individuals, have specific gifts and callings. We have our distinct flavour. As we grow together and mature, as our children grow and as we overcome challenges together, the aromatic blend of our family grows stronger as well. 

Our flavour is a combination of strong peppermint and sweet cinnamon. If you come in the kitchen of our lives you will notice that we have very different personalities. We have learnt to give each other space to walk in our strengths. Even if we work together we have our own ministry focus. Florin has the big pie, holding it all together, while I concentrate on a slice. I contribute to the same vision, but I would not be able to juggle the multitude of tasks the big pie requires. 

Many people ask me: how come you give your husband so much freedom? I answer with a question: Can you tame a big wave? No! You can only surf it! For us it’s a beautiful thing, because as the seasons of life change and our children become more independent, I have more time to invest in the ministry. Guess who is my first cheerleader: my husband! In my slice of the pie I have some wild ideas as well, and he is the one who encourages me to pursue them and helps me implement them. 

I love to hear my husband preach at weddings; not because I hear myself being preached about… no…. (that is the embarrassing part!) I love his “AHA!” Moments. One of the sermons was on Proverbs 31, a chapter that makes me feel small and insignificant.  Who can reach the stature of that perfect and fulfilled woman? One of the points of my husband’s sermon was that a woman reaches her potential only in the measure her husband helps her and encourages her to do so, and it is so true! Florin is not intimidated by my ideas, which are so different from his, but says with all of his heart: “Now this is a great one!”

So, in the kitchen of our lives we stir different pots but on the same stove and under the same roof. We are waiting for our boys to bring their pots as well. Hopefully we won’t be intimidated by their ideas and will create space for them too. Our desire is that the blend of aromas that come from our kitchen will attract our neighbours to have great feasts as we share our lives in community. If our aroma is a sweet one, as the Bible says, and impacts other lives significantly, then we can be grateful to the Great Chef who frees us to have different cooking styles under the same roof. 

Laura Mihaly has been married to Florin for 18 years and together they have two children. They are part of the local and European YWAM leadership and live in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.