It’s one of my favorite words in the entire dictionary.
And, today, I have the privilege of introducing you to a woman who is inviting others to taste grace.
Her name is Leah Adams, and she’s a precious friend and fellow blogger.
(And, don’t miss the Give-Away at the end of this post!)
Melanie – Tell us a little about you and your family, Leah.
Leah – I was born in the small North Georgia mountain community of Blairsville. My parents were actively involved in the life of my sister and me and gave us a wonderful example of marriage to follow. After high school graduation, I attended a small local junior college called Young Harris College. I moved from Young Harris to Mercer College of Pharmacy where I graduated with a Pharmacy Doctorate (Pharm. D.) in 1987.
During my late teens and early 20s, I struggled mightily with anorexia. One of my pharmacy school professors recognized that I was not well, and referred me to a counselor, which probably saved my life. It was also in my 20s that I walked away from following Jesus after being saved at the age of 15. Thankfully, Jesus never walked away from me, and in my 30s He drew me back with His love and His Word.
After college, I worked in clinical research and clinical medicine at Emory University in Atlanta. My specialty was lipid (cholesterol) disorders. I lectured around the country on the medications used to treat cholesterol disorders and gained valuable speaking experience that would help me when the Lord called me into a speaking ministry in 2007. When my husband, Greg, and I moved back to our hometown of Blairsville in late 1999, I left Emory and began working as a pharmacist. I still work two days a week in an independent pharmacy just over the Tennessee line. I also do the bookkeeping for my husband’s dental office.
Greg and I were married in 1995. We had both been married previously, but God was so gracious to give us another chance at love. Marriage is the hardest best thing you will ever do. Ours has been far from perfect, but we were committed to making it work. In January we will celebrate 22 years of marriage and that is worth celebrating!
Our son, Charlie, is 24 and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He graduated with a degree in finance from Oral Roberts University and is currently working in an optometrist’s office. He will return to school this fall to begin pursuing a degree in optometry.
In 2012, Greg and I became a host family to a beautiful Australian girl who was attending Young Harris College on an academic and athletic scholarship. Only the Lord could have known that Bree would become our daughter-from-another-continent. We love her as if she were our own, and count it a privilege that she would consider us family. Bree finished at Young Harris College with a degree in Business and Public Policy. She is now 24 and in her senior year at Southern Poly/Kennesaw State University pursuing a degree in engineering. We are keeping our fingers crossed that she will choose to remain in the US.
Melanie – How did you end up doing ministry full-time?
Leah – I have always enjoyed public speaking, and my job at Emory afforded me the opportunity to speak to physicians and other healthcare personnel. When I left Emory in early 2000, I assumed my speaking career was over, but God had other ideas. As I drew closer to the Lord through in-depth Scripture study, the Holy Spirit gave me the desire to teach what I was learning to others.
In late 2007, the call to ministry was so strong I could not deny it. I launched a speaking ministry in fear and trembling. My deepest fear was that I would make it all about me, when what I really longed to do was introduce Jesus and His amazing grace to others. Over the years I have had the privilege to speak all across the nation. My hallmark message is about the legacy that we are leaving for the generations that come after us. I am very much in my ‘sweet spot’ when I am speaking, and I feel grateful that the Lord has allowed me to do it.
In the past few years, God has drawn back my speaking ministry to allow me to focus more on writing. Since 2010 I have been blessed to publish 3 Bible studies (The Legacy Bible Study, HeBrews: A Better Blend Bible Study and now Tasting Grace) and one devotion book (When Words Won’t Come).
Melanie – What is your book called and why did you choose that title?
Leah – My new book is Tasting Grace: A Mentoring in the Kitchen Bible study. This book was born out of the event that I host by the same name. In early 2015, my friend and co-author, Jan Morton, posted on her blog about a new ministry she was doing at her church in South Georgia. It was a mentoring in the kitchen ministry that she called, Taste & See. Jan would invite women into the kitchen and teach them how to make one or two homemade dishes. She would offer a short devotion as part of the event and when all the cooking was done, they would taste their creations.
When I read Jan’s post, my heart was immediately taken with the idea and I knew the Lord was calling me to do the same at the opposite end of the state of Georgia. So, using Facebook, I invited a few women into my kitchen to learn how to make homemade biscuits. The rest is history. Each month I host a Tasting Grace session and ladies come. We spend a bit of time in the Word, and then time in the kitchen.
That is where I got the title of the book.
Melanie – Tell us about the book.
Leah – When I realized that Jan and I were doing something that was a) a biblical mandate and b) so much fun, with our Tasting Grace events, the idea hit me that there might be other women who would adore hosting similar events, but just might not know how to plan them. So, I began writing, with Jan’s help, a book that would give a woman everything she needed to become a mentor-in-the-kitchen.
Tasting Grace, the book, is published by my wonderful publisher, Warner Press, Inc. The meat, if you will, of the book is the four weeks of Bible study examining the topic of biblical mentoring. There are five days of homework in each week and each day will require about 10-15 minutes of study. In addition to the Bible study portion, there is also a how-to guide for hosting a Tasting Grace event. This section includes devotions, recipes from mine and Jan’s kitchens, and tips for success.
The recipes in the book are ones that are tried and true like homemade biscuits, my Grandma’s Chicken and Dumplings, Jan’s Chocolate Cobbler, and her Cornbread Dressing (not stuffing!) recipe.
Melanie – What is your co-author like? How did the two of you end up on this project together?
Leah – Jan Morton is one of the most wonderful women I have ever met. She has a mentor’s heart while being so transparent and such a woman of God. She is a wife to Gary, Mother to Jeremy and Jonathon, and GranJan to five little blessings. Jan is the Women’s Ministry Leader at their church in Warner Robins, Georgia, and Gary is the Music Minister. She lives on a farm, grows a beautiful garden, and cans her own fruits and veggies.
In fact, canning is what brought Jan and me together. We first met at a Beth Moore event years ago. I began following Jan’s blog, and one summer saw that she had canned squash pickles. Well, I had more squash growing in my garden than I could say grace over, so I emailed her and asked for her squash pickle recipe. The rest is history…we bonded over squash pickles.
When I got the idea for the book, I knew that I wanted Jan on board since the idea for the event was hers. I was tickled pink when she agreed to work on it with me. Jan wrote several of the devotions, and there are many recipes from her kitchen in the book. Jan was also gracious enough to ask her friend, Beth Moore if she would write the foreword for the book. Needless to say, we were over the moon that Beth said yes!
Melanie – What do you hope women will do with this book? How would you love to see them use it?
Leah – Our hope is that Tasting Grace will become the catalyst and tool that women need and use to begin developing face-to-face relationships with other women, speaking into their lives and hearts and teaching Biblical truths to them. Our social media-driven world has made those face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder relationships increasingly rare in our day. Our mothers and grandmothers knew and experienced the value of them, but women today are, by and large, missing out on them.
Jan and I would love to see Tasting Grace used in several ways:
- As a Bible study to teach women about biblical mentoring; either individually or in a group setting,
- As an event planning guide for women to host Tasting Grace cooking sessions in their homes and churches,
- As a method of outreach to those who have yet to meet Jesus,
- As a way to encourage women to prepare homemade dishes for their families.
Melanie – What has your own mentoring experience been like – both those you’ve mentored and those who’ve mentored you?
Leah – You know, Melanie, one-on-one mentoring is not my strong suit. I’m much more comfortable standing on stage speaking to groups, large and small. Yet, God has called me to mentor in the kitchen in this stage of my life, and in the kitchen is where I AM comfortable in those one-on-one interactions. So, while I only have my Tasting Grace ladies for a couple of hours each session, I believe with all my heart that God is using me to make a difference in their lives, and the lives of their families, through the devotions we do and the meal preparation.
I have been mentored by some amazing women. My Mom, grandmothers, and other older women who speak Jesus into my life. I do not take for granted the blessing these women have been to me. That is one reason why I am such a big fan of our mentoring in the kitchen method….I know it works. I can remember, as a child, watching my grandmother make homemade biscuits. The rhythm of her hands, the softness of the dough, the magic of the rising process…..it was beautiful to me. I remember her Apple Stack cakes and chicken and dumplings and how they did more than feed our tummies. They fed our souls. That is what homemade food does…it feeds the stomach and the heart. I long to help others experience that wonder.
Melanie – Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Leah – I always say that anyone can make homemade food. The only requirement is to be able to read….a recipe. If you can read, you can cook.
The same is true with mentoring. If you have breathed earth’s air for a week longer than someone else, you can mentor, with the help of the Holy Spirit. God allows us to experience things that He takes and uses in the lives of others down the road. That is mentoring. Offering a listening ear, sharing your story, and your heart to someone who is walking a few steps behind you in life.
I want to encourage your readers to get involved in mentoring relationships….in the kitchen, at work, at church, and along life’s path. It will be a blessing.
Leah has graciously offered to share a copy of her new book with one of my readers today.
And, the winner of the book is…
Saved at the age of 15, Leah Adams walked away from God in her twenties. After much heartbreak, and a heaping helping of gentle correction from God, Leah returned to Him in her thirties with a heart set on following hard after Jesus. Her passion is speaking, writing, and living the truth of Scripture in a way that makes the Bible relevant to daily life.
Leah holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is a graduate of CLASS speaker training. She has published three Bible studies (Legacy, HeBrews: A Better Blend, Tasting Grace: A Mentoring in the Kitchen Bible Study), as well as a devotion book entitled When Words Won’t Come. Leah is called ‘Mom’ by two young adults, and she lives in northern Georgia with her husband, who is also her dentist. She can be found at LeahAdams.org., on Twitter @LeahCAdams, and Facebook (Leah Adams ~ Speaker, Author, Mentor), Pinterest (Leah Adams Ministries) and Instagram (leahadams64).
Were you encouraged today?
Would you share this article with a friend, co-worker, or family member?
Maybe you can send it to a friend or family member?
~ This blog occasionally uses affiliate links and may contain affiliate links. Melanie Redd is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. For more on my disclosure policy, click HERE.
~ I regularly link to these AMAZING SITES~
© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.