Grace and Jury Duty, Part 3 (and Chicken Tortilla Soup!)

The second day of Jury Duty concluded with a vote at 5 p.m. in the deliberation room. Since the votes were not unanimous, we knew that we would have to return for at least one more day. I think it’s safe to say that many in the room were disappointed that we had to return for another day.

As I drove home that night, I felt angry when I considered the possibility that the final outcome would be a hung jury. This presented an opportunity for me to recognize my pride from a new angle. True, I cared about justice being served.

 

However, after a little thinking, I realized that I also was angry about the possibility of a hung jury because I felt as if I would be part of a failing effort if we didn’t reach a verdict. I didn’t want to be a part of “losing” team.

Since I couldn’t discuss the topic with anyone outside the jury until after the case closed, I reasoned with myself. (Yes, I talk to myself under other circumstances, too. 🙂 Don’t you?)

 

Anyway, just as I had meditated on God’s Word on Day 1 of Jury Duty to counteract my anxious feelings arising from fretful thinking, I reminded myself of the truth to assist in addressing my anger. The truth was that I was only responsible for my own decisions, not the decisions of other human beings. I was only responsible to God for how I voted based on the evidence presented in court and the judge’s instructions to the jury. How the other jurors voted was their responsibility. I was being prideful in thinking that I should be in control of, and responsible for, the final vote of the jury.

The possibility of a hung jury also cast in a new light my prideful feelings that I deserve always to be on a “winning” or “successful” team. My feelings of shame at the thought of being a part of a “failing” effort were evidence that I was prideful. I needed to repent of my sin of pride. In the event that we never reached a verdict, I needed to be prepared not to feel shame for having served on a hung jury.

 

As far as the more noble reason for my anger, that of justice being served, I made myself remember that God is the ultimate Judge.

I reminded myself that even if a human being “gets away” with breaking laws during his life here on earth, God sees everything and each of us will give an account to Him one day. Hebrews 4:12-13

 

Furthermore, God may graciously choose to grant even the “vilest offender” repentance of his sins here on earth, and that sinner, like me, will praise Him for His grace in saving us. All of us humans are sinners before God, and our only hope for a relationship with God and eternal life with Him is in God’s mercy and grace.

 

At the end of the 3rd day, we jurors concluded that further deliberation was not going to change the outcome. We took a final vote and informed the judge that we had been unable to reach a verdict. Shortly after that, we were all done with our responsibilities as jurors and were free to go our separate ways. One of the attorneys still remembered that the court had changed the schedule to allow me to take our trip, and wished me “Happy Anniversary!” as we parted. 🙂

 

Brody and I were able to take our trip as planned for our 5th anniversary. I was sick before the trip and afterwards, too, but during the trip, I was headache-and-respiratory-infection-free! God was gracious to give us that special time to reflect on the gift of 5 years of life together. We really enjoyed our stay aboard the Queen Mary, even with the excitement of a fire alarm at 7 a.m. the last morning we were there. We’ve returned a couple of times to visit the Queen Mary, and we are always pleased with how the restaurants on board the ship work with us to accommodate Brody’s dietary restrictions. Here’s a picture from our stay on the ship:

Our 5th Anniversary Aboard the Queen Mary

Looking back on those 3 days of Jury Duty, I am now thankful for the experience.

  • Now I’m glad that God didn’t give me my first choice of reading a good book in the jury assembly room for a day and then being sent home since I wasn’t needed to serve on any cases. Had I missed out on the experience of being on the jury, I would have missed out on all the ways that God showed His understanding of my physical limitations.
  • I am glad that I had practice in using Scripture to take control of my growing anxiety – anxiety that was making me physically ill!
  • I am thankful for another view of my sin of pride so that I could become aware of it and repent. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is working in my life, gradually using the truth of Scripture and the circumstances of my life to mold me into the image of God’s Son, Jesus.
  • I am thankful that one of the jurors purchased a copy of A Recipe for Survival! 🙂
  • Finally, I am thankful for the courtroom experience giving me a fresh view of God’s grace in His redemptive plan. I’ll write more about that soon!

 

I hope I remember for a long time how anxious I had been on Day 1 of Jury Duty in contrast with how God showed me through the next few days that He’s at work for my good. And while He’s at work for my good, He’s lovingly making it possible for me to endure the troubles and grow in my relationship with Him.

 

Recently I thought about Chicken Tortilla Soup and decided it’d be fun to try making a version that would work for Brody. I reviewed this recipe to get a starting point for making the soup.

Then I considered the recipes I already had been using for Brody that could serve as building blocks for this tasty meal. In time, I came up with two different ways to achieve this final state of yumminess.

 

The first way helps me use up some leftovers from a Chicken Taco meal. Often, cooking the chicken in the skillet as described in A Recipe for Survival (page 123) results in some very flavorful drippings that would soak the tortillas too much to use in the tacos. We use a slotted spoon to serve the chicken on the tacos, leaving behind the drippings. Instead of throwing away all that good flavor, I now use those drippings, along with the leftover Sister’s Salsa (page 155) to be the base of my Tortilla Soup. I add some water, if needed, to make the final product “soupy” enough along with some cooked chicken and bring the mixture to a boil. The leftover tortillas from the Chicken Taco meal are an excellent chewy side to enjoy with the soup. Or if I have time, I enjoy frying up those leftover tortillas in some grape seed oil to make our own chips.

 

The second way I make this soup is to cook some chicken in the crockpot, along with salt, pepper, minced garlic cloves and water. I save the liquid from the crockpot and use that as the chicken broth for the base of the soup. If I don’t have leftover salsa, I simply add some frozen or fresh tomatoes along with the seasonings from the Sister’s Salsa and Chicken Taco recipes, along with some cooked chicken and bring the mixture to a boil. If I don’t have leftover tortillas, I can prepare a batch of Tortillas (page 115 in A Recipe for Survival) and then instead of cooking them on a griddle, I roll out the dough and then cut it into strips and fry them up in a little grape seed oil. The resulting chips are fantastic!

Either way, we enjoy topping our soup with cheese, fresh cilantro, and avocado. We munch on the chips as a side to the meal instead of placing them at the bottom of the soup bowl since we don’t want soggy chips.

 

One day I wanted to prepare a photogenic bowl of our tasty soup to have on file for whenever I got around to posting the recipe. I specifically bought avocados and carefully sliced them for the presentation. Then I prepared the bowl of soup and took several photos so I could select the best one. I thought I was done, and then turned around and noticed the avocados hadn’t made the photo shoot!

A tasty way to use up leftovers from a Chicken Taco meal!

A tasty way to use up leftovers from a Chicken Taco meal!

By then, the soup was cooling off and I wanted to eat, so I tossed them on the soup in a most unceremonious fashion, took one more shot and then joined Brody for our meal. That’s why the avocados are not posing as well as they perhaps could, but I am sure that they were smiling for the camera as well as any inanimate portion of food can. 🙂 This Chicken Tortilla Soup is now one of our favorite meals!

Avocados make anything taste better! :)

Avocados make anything taste better! 🙂