Buying the Mixer

Grace Chiu


As I reflect on my time as editor of The Well, I am struck by how many wonderful pieces we have published over the years. For ten weeks, The Well will share some of my favorites from the past in a TBT (Throw-Back Thursday) series. Enjoy! — Marcia

"Buying the Mixer" is not only one of my favorites, but a reader favorite as well​. Writing about singleness, Grace Chiu examines theology in light of expectations and disappointments and then considers what it means to live a rich and full life even in the face of heartache and loss. 

I’m a pretty frugal person. I bring my lunch to work from home. I make a purchase from my favorite clothing store when the item is on sale and I have a coupon. I brew my own coffee at home...except on rare occasions when I cave and buy an iced coffee from a certain coffee conglomerate.

When it comes to home and kitchen furnishings, I’m content with the minimalist setup in my studio apartment. But there is one appliance that I’ve had my eye on for ten years. It’s the KitchenAid mixer. The 325-watt motor, 5-quart stainless steel bowl with ergonomic handle, pouring shield, and a tilt-back mixer head design. It is a thing of beauty. It is also $499.99.

Unless you’re Betty Crocker, a $499.99 mixer is a significant culinary investment. Ten years ago, I mentally categorized the mixer as a “wedding ticket” item. Something to place on a wedding registry one day. Apparently I’m not the only one. “I really want one of those mixers, too,” shared a friend. “Guess I’ll have to wait until I’m married to enjoy one.”

Now, ten years later, many of my friends have married. And yes, they each registered for a KitchenAid mixer.

And now, ten years later, many single Christian women I know stand at a crossroads. They are unmarried, and according to many, with few spousal prospects on the horizon. And they are without a KitchenAid mixer.

At this crossroads, many of us grow disappointed, weary — even angry — with God. We feel that God is unusually cruel by withholding the benefits and blessings of marriage. For refusing us the company of a lover and spiritual companion. For suspending the prospects of raising a family. For denying full rights to a shiny KitchenAid mixer.

Many of us — myself included — can momentarily fall into believing this merit-based formula: “If I do the right things, God will bless me with [fill in the blank].” When we don’t receive those blessings, we feel deprived. This thinking has entrapped many Christian women who find themselves romantically entangled with non-believing men or nominal believers. Knowing a number of women in this situation, I don’t think they intentionally desire to be unequally yoked. Rather, they long for a relationship they believe they were promised. When life doesn’t come to fruition as we desire, the heart is devastated.

Sometimes this despondency morphs into an attitude of entitlement. This sense of entitlement is not exclusive to new Christians. It is a true struggle experienced by mature believers, even those in ministry.

How do we grapple with this struggle? Perhaps we should examine our theology. If we believe that we’re entitled to certain blessings, we need to stand back and remember that God did not even withhold his greatest gift, his Son, from us. When we embrace this truth, we learn that God is not cruel, far from it. When we face rejection, disappointment and betrayal, the life and ministry of Jesus demonstrates that he knows how it feels to be ignored, emotionally abandoned, and uncherished. Christ experienced the absolute depths of loneliness — far from what we will ever experience — for our sake.

This does not negate the fact that many of us have experienced tremendous loss and true heartache. But is our desolation a reflection of the inner struggle of treating good things like marriage as ultimate things? David Powilson and John Yenchko remind us, “Marriage is a great gift. There is no doubt about that. It is a joy to have an intimate partner for life. But there is a danger here. Marriage is not the greatest gift, nor does it provide the deepest and surest joys.”

One of the Westminster catechism questions states that “God created us male and female in his own image to know him, love him, live with him, and glorify him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to his glory.” When we live for God’s glory, we are never living “Plan B,” regardless of which dreams don’t come true.

Yet our hearts still ache. When we do not have the words to pray, we can turn to the scriptures for guidance: “As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.” Psalm 55:16-18

Today, I purchased my first KitchenAid mixer. It comes in my favorite color, it’s on sale . . . with an additional 15% markdown (of course). I felt a momentary pang of sadness that I wasn’t opening the box with a special person by my side. But whether single or married, I am never deprived of experiencing or sharing Christ’s love. We can live full, rich lives that speak of a love that will never let us go: “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” My new appliance will help me extend care by way of the treats prepared with it. Hospitality and community are not “wedding ticket” items. These are gifts that can be extended, received, and enjoyed right now. And for that, I can celebrate!

Find other articles from this series at Marcia's Picks.

Grace Chiu received her PhD in Urban Schooling from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, and her EdM from Harvard Graduate School of Education. A former classroom teacher and literacy coach, Grace consults in schools and districts across the country, committed to improving the quality of public education for underserved children and youth.  During college, Grace worked as a street artist in New Orleans Square at Disneyland. She is currently training a reading therapy dog, Pip Puddleglum.

15 comments

Thanks for writing this and the reminder of God's kindness and love. As a 38 yr old that is still waiting I need the reminder often. :). I bought my wedding ticket item about 8 years ago (cuisine art kitchen aid food processor) and have used it to cook meals for others ever since.... Since I have no family of my own I attempt to create community and family wherever I go.. And cooking is a great tool for that!

May 7, 2015 10:53PM by T

Thank you so much for this post. My long-term boyfriend and I recently broke up, and I have definitely been struggling with those feelings of disappointment, doubt, and anger at God. It seemed cruel for Him to have led us all this way, only for things to end. But He is good, and He is faithful, and I will continue to trust and follow Him even when He leads places that I don't particularly want to go. This season of life has definitely taught me a lot about my heart, and I am so thankful for that. I appreciate this encouraging post!

"And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you."
Psalm 39:7

Aug 9, 2013 9:42AM by

Oh thank you for writing this article! I'm turning 28 this year and was starting to get very disheartened in my yearning for a spiritual and life partner. 2 of my 3 sisters have gotten married and one just welcomed her first child, many of my friends have married and are having children as well. I was feeling as if I had fallen behind or was forgotten. Your article renewed my faith that I am not made whole by an earthly family, but by Christ alone. :)

Thank you,
Julia

Jul 10, 2013 12:46PM by

Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I married young and poor -- pre-college for both of us. I eventually invested in my Kitchenaid when we both had good jobs. When God called us to sell house and most of our "stuff" to go to the mission field, the Kitchenaid was one thing that went with us. It has been a source of sharing with people here that has opened many doors and helped us truly be those "peculiar" people God called us to be. Blessings!

Jun 21, 2013 11:56AM by

Wow... this essay says so much.... I received this mixer about 2 years ago from my (at that time ) fiancée. I wanted it so bad, we were still living at his parents house while we waited for our house to be done. So we did not open the mixer, because we wanted to wait till we had our place, it was to big for my mother in laws kitchen, however i was happy to know it was there waiting to be used at the right time. One of our very good friends also got married and added the mixer to her registry, so my first thought, even though a bit hurtfull was to give it away.... she wanted the red one and i had it in a box. So i told my fiancée that we could give it away and that when God thought it was time, we would get one again. About a year went buy, we are now married and moved into ur house , it's full of love and cupcakes! My husband got me a new mixer, a blender and a processor. All red, all kitchen aid. There is no grater gift than God blessing you and your marriage. I thank God for being by my side everyday and I thank him for rhe amazing partner he has allowed me to live my life with. This mixer story just gave me lots to think about at 5:14am.LOL. I thank my friend for sharing it.

Jun 21, 2013 5:18AM by

"When we live for God’s glory, we are never living “Plan B,” regardless of which dreams don’t come true." Love it.
Thank you for your honesty! As there are no promises in the Bible about everyone having a spouse, this is one of the areas where I too, quite literally don't have the words to pray. I appreciate that there are simply other women who can empathize in (the sometimes pain of) knowing that He alone is enough.
By the way, your small biography is incredible! Working at Disneyland and serving underprivileged children by teaching them how to read? No wedding registry can ever aspire to those lifelong gifts!

Jun 21, 2013 1:31AM by

Thanks, Grace. The Kitchen Aid is so symbolic of the way life is "supposed to happen." My husband and I received our Kitchen Aid as a wedding gift almost 15 years ago, and we've used it almost weekly since then. This post is a really helpful reminder not to take either the wedding or the gifts for granted. Thanks for giving me this window into the hearts of those whose journey has taken them down other paths. That honesty is something I treasure.
I wish you many happy hours of baking and the fellowship that it will bring!

Carmen Imes
www.seminarymom.blogspot.com

Jun 11, 2013 9:54AM by

Wedding registries are kind of an odd tradition, aren't they? As for me, I am (finally) getting married--but in another country--so, no registry items. And no crazily perfect romance, either, just, as Tolkien puts it "companions in shipwreck." Thanks for the post.

Jun 4, 2013 7:15AM by

Congratulations on your engagement!! I hope you find the David Powilson and John Yenchko link helpful in your preparation for marriage. Love the Tolkien quote, perhaps you should share your story with the Well! --Grace

Jun 4, 2013 11:36AM by

I got married when I was 47 -- and still haven't bought the KitchenAid! But when I was single I realized the points in favor of buying something was not whether or not I was married, but whether or not I could put it to good use. Hence when I had the money and the choice, I went for a combination microwave and convection oven for my oven-less apartment instead of the KitchenAid -- so that I could bake all the goodies I wanted to make in the mixer!

Jun 4, 2013 2:38AM by

great post! thanks!

Jun 3, 2013 10:32PM by

Thanks for this great post. This was a much-needed reminder to me [a married woman who returned the KitchenAid to Target to get the more ordinary household items we really needed instead :) ] who still longs for what feel like other unfulfilled promises. I so appreciate this wise nudging about God's total generosity and mercy to us.

Jun 3, 2013 8:01PM by

I am newly married (almost 2 years), but was married later than many of my friends. I'm not yet too far removed from singleness to forget having these same feelings. About KitchenAids and other things :) Thanks for sharing!

Jun 3, 2013 4:24PM by

Wonderfully written Grace! What color did you buy it in? Can't wait to have some of the treats you make! Thanks for sharing this meaningful journey in your life.

Jun 3, 2013 2:42PM by

Aqua Sky, as pictured. :-)

Jun 3, 2013 9:38PM by

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