Jesus With Skin On + Overnight Pancakes

Jesus With Skin On + Overnight Pancakes

I recently read something on social media I posted 12 years ago. It said, “I’m thankful MLK had a dream…we get to live it without much hostility!”

I believe my meaning behind it was that my dark-skinned husband and light-skinned self could be married and live happily without nearly as much hostility than if we’d lived in the US 50 years beforehand.

I cringe at how naïve I was. I shouldn’t have been—I married into a minority culture that has faced decades of unfair hardship! My journey in uncovering things I wasn’t taught in school had only just begun.

I also couldn’t help but wonder if I would dare type anything like that today. It’s still true…kind of. We’re in a different country now with 3 mixed kids and face all sorts of discriminatory remarks, from skin color to covid-carriers. But I also probably wouldn’t post something today that could invite debates in the comments.

Some people would pin me as an avoider of confrontation. You could call it that. Part of it is not wanting to be wrong—feeling inadequate. But deep down I also know debating often doesn’t change minds or draw people closer to Christ. If we’re honest, it often does the opposite—people dig down deeper into their strong opinions and scoff at those who call themselves Christians, yet act nothing like Jesus.

I heard a recent sermon where the pastor described how we are called to be “Jesus with skin on.” (Yes, Jesus had his own, real skin, too. Go with me here.) This simple phrase hit me as he described our current “cancel culture” of endless debates and defriending people just because we disagree. I don’t even know how we got to this point, but it’s a tragedy.

What ever happened to listening, empathizing, and realizing people’s feelings and reactions could be an indicator of something deeper going on? Where did we veer off the path of truly caring about people, no matter our differences?

It’s not easy to imitate Jesus, especially when we disagree with what’s being said. So how do we navigate those conversations?

After failing with some (very gracious) friends over the past several months, I’ve come away with some rules for myself:

  • I avoid debates on social media. It’s just not worth it to me. Tone, emotion, facial expressions (no, emojis don’t cut it here), and body language are all lost.
  • I will occasionally join these types of conversations with people who know me, my heart, and my overall intentions well. That way, if a comment reads “off” to them, they know not to get offended, rather just ask for further explanation.
  • If my heart is racing as I type a response, I need to sit on it. There’s no need to get that revved up in a conversation.
  • If the heart of the comment can’t be backed by scripture, it doesn’t need to be shared.
  • If the conversation is getting too heated and there is too much push-back, I will calmly let the others know I’m finished and let it go.
  • I check my heart often that I’m not angry with or judging those on the other end.
  • Ultimately, if we can plan to have the conversation in person, or at least in a video call, I will always choose that.

Philippians 2:1-5 says:

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”

As believers, we can make a huge impact in the world, even…especially?… through social media. If God calls us to do so, we can display the fruits of the Spirit and unity in conversations that are often dripping in name-calling and bashing. We can prayerfully enter conversations, speaking up when truths laced in love need to be heard, and keeping our mouths shut when our tongues can’t be trusted.

We have opportunities to be Jesus with skin on all around us. Let’s represent Him well.

How do you handle opinionated conversations, especially if not face-to-face?


I’ve shared before I don’t love early mornings. However, in recent years, as my kids have begun going to our company’s international school, I’ve felt the mom guilt to provide them with more filling breakfasts to keep their tummies full until lunch. No more opportunities for endless snacks during homeschool days. However, I still don’t like getting up early to cook something from scratch. I go for simple, fast, and filling. These pancakes fit the bill! The batter is whipped up the night before, ready to cook in the morning. Of course the kids love pancakes, and I’m not spending more than 15 minutes cooking them. If mornings aren’t your thing, or you need a fast breakfast, try these fluffy pancakes!

Buttermilk doesn’t exist here. We only got pasteurized fresh milk a few years ago! My hack for buttermilk: pour a splash (about 1Tbsp) of lemon juice (lime juice or vinegar would work too) into a measuring cup, then fill up to 1 cup with milk. It will thicken within minutes!
I love that all the ingredients use just one bowl. I’m a fanatic about fewer dishes! This may be coming from 9 years of hand-washing every dish.
…after! The yeasty, milky concoction worked its magic overnight to create smooth batter that will soon turn into irresistibly fluffy pancakes.
The fluff is rising!
Slightly crispy on the outside, but oh so fluffy inside. The perfect combo! Bonus: This recipe makes a ton, so I make a batch, refrigerate the batter, and make a few more batches the following days, sometimes adding fruit or chocolate chips.

Fluffy Overnight Pancakes

Makes: About 20 pancakes

Ready in: 15 minutes (plus 8 hours in the fridge)

Recipe from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

4 cups (20 ounces) all-purpose or whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast (see note for active dry yeast)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups buttermilk (see note)

1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (like vegetable, canola, avocado, etc)

In a large bowl (with room for the batter to bubble up a couple inches), whisk together the flour, yeast, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt.

Add the eggs, buttermilk and oil. Mix until evenly combined (don’t overmix, just mix until no dry streaks remain).

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours).

When ready to make the pancakes, uncover the bowl and give the batter a quick stir (just once or twice with a spoon or spatula; don’t stir vigorously or overmix). Cook the pancakes on a hot griddle or skillet sprayed with a little cooking spray or melted butter and serve.


Yeast: if you only have active dry yeast, use the same amount and dissolve in 1/4 cup warm water. Let the mixture stand for about five minutes until it is foamy/bubbly. Add it to the pancake batter with the other wet ingredients.

Don’t Be Alarmed: if you’ve used whole wheat flour and the batter has a slight gray tinge on top when you uncover the bowl the next morning. It is the wheat flour reacting with the baking soda and buttermilk. Just give the batter a quick stir; it won’t affect taste or texture. 

Buttermilk Substitution: pour a splash (about 1Tbsp) of lemon juice (lime juice or vinegar would work too) into a measuring cup, then fill up to 1 cup with milk. It will thicken within minutes! Do this for each cup of milk.

Photo by Raul Cacho Oses on Unsplash

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  1. Ruth January 24, 2021

    Insightful and practical thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Ashley Felder January 27, 2021

      Thanks, Ruth

  2. Phyllis January 25, 2021

    (I feel funny just chatting about the recipe when the post it so serious. I did read it, and I appreciate it. Thank you.)

    Do you think the recipe would work for waffles? I just got a waffle thing, and I want to try it.

    1. Ashley Felder January 27, 2021

      No, I don’t think this would quite work for waffles. It would be close, but you would need to add a little extra sugar and some more oil or butter to make those nice crispy edges. But, fun that you got a waffle iron! We love waffles for brinner (breakfast for dinner)!

  3. Sarah Hilkemann January 25, 2021

    Opinionated conversations are very stressful for me, so I usually avoid them! 🙂 I’ve been pondering a lot how to engage well with people when I disagree with them. It’s so much harder on social media, because it’s easier to make judgments and respond quickly and miss the humanity of the person I’m talking to. So, this is just for me personally, it is usually not worth it to engage in an conversation via the comments in a post. I can also get frustrated quickly, so in the midst of in-person or video discussions that are more passionate, I have to remind myself to take deep breaths, relax my hands, and focus on the person I’m talking to. I really appreciate this honest post, Ashley, and these important reminders for us!

    Also, I love the idea of overnight pancakes! I’ll have to try these. 🙂

    1. Ashley Felder January 27, 2021

      Sarah, yes all around! Missing the humanity of the person on the other end is so well-put! Our last long home assignment, we realized that very few people had opportunities to talk and truly be listened to. While we thought we’d travel around sharing about our lives, we often found ourselves listening to struggles and hardships those we visited were going through. Even if we hadn’t connected in several years, they felt comfortable sharing some very deep stuff with us. Goes to show how we as a society need to work on listening well!

      1. Sarah Hilkemann January 27, 2021

        Ashley, what a great gift to give to your supporters and friends! In some ways it can feel like we are always on the receiving end as global workers when we visit our passport countries. But our vulnerability can create a safe space for others to share and I love that reminder to listen well. To listen intentionally. 🙂

  4. ellie January 25, 2021

    Great post Ashley. Looking forward to trying the pancakes! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s hard to be confronted with our “lack of progress” as a global society in these areas but as I was saying to someone in a small group the other day who believes that the pandemic is going to bring about great things, I think that the rather common idea that we’re all on a steady track of progress is erroneous. – the trouble is we’re all still human and dealing with personal responsibility although there can be great personal love and sacrifice exhibited (some of it around the pandemic) there are also many selfish choices and my growing realisation when we consider so much damage done to each other that it’s only with our father that we are able to be changed. Love your rules. I’ve actually found my challenge recently has been to speak up when I feel my heart beating super fast and know I’m going to be shaking from actually speaking out about something I think it important/true/necessary afterwards (thankfully mostly concealed by zoom at the moment! ;))

  5. Ashley Felder January 27, 2021

    It’s hard to say what God is doing through this pandemic. I continue to have my eyes and ears open, ready for His revelations! So far, it’s still a puzzle. But, yes, so true, there have been some ugly things to come out of this hard year. I pray as we work through them, we can learn from the mistakes we’ve made and by God’s grace be better for it on the other end.

  6. Bayta Schwarz January 27, 2021

    It took me a long time to get there but eventually, I did unfollow a few people. It wasn’t so much that they had a different opinion (I do want to be mindful not to surround myself exclusively with people who think as I do) but the highly emotional and aggressive way they were communicating. That was stressing me out and with all the other stressors in life right now, I just didn’t have the energy. Also, none of them were people I had a real relationship with anyway.
    I’m thinking as well that the current situation might contribute to the polarisation. Not only is the whole world under a lot of stress (which doesn’t tend to bring out the best in any of us…). But also, many of those occasions we would normally encounter new people, potentially people very different from us, and maybe gain a little understanding and empathy for where they’re coming from, have been eliminated from life. Apart from those close to us, people are far more anonymous, making it easier to judge and attack. I’m sure there is a lot more going on but it might be a factor.

    1. Ashley Felder January 30, 2021

      Yes, I agree, if people are toxic and influencing your thoughts or attitude, time to take a break. Facebook has a nice “snooze for 30 days” option I have used before. And as you said, the whole world is definitely under more stress, making people share their knee-jerk reactions instead of waiting and processing what they should share first. Anonymity definitely adds to this as well. Great points!

  7. Spring January 28, 2021

    I am excited to try the pancakes 🙂

    Thank you for your insights regarding confronting conversations and best ways to respond. My mentor had reminded me to remain curiouus. I feel that this has aided me in not making quick statements. I do tend to avoid online conversations because of what you mentioned. Also I am often sure I can’t convince the other party of my perspective, so what is the point?

    I am learning that conflict isn’t always bad. It is okay to disagree, especially in love. To me relationships are more important than convincing the other party. I do believe that conviction is the job of the Holy Spirit. I have to constantly bring my opinion back to him, and entrust the other parties to his care.

    1. Ashley Felder January 30, 2021

      So many great thoughts, Spring! Stay curious. I love that! No need to approach every situation as if we know what the other is thinking or where they’re coming from. Everyone has a story, so best to start by asking questions and listening. Conflict, hard discussions, even debates aren’t bad. But you’re right, the HS has to do the convicting. As I look at Jesus’ life, He had many times where he laid the hard truths out there and left them for people to chew on. Other times, he shared less direct stories where they would have to chew again. Either way requires humility to have ears to hear the truth and the Spirit to guide towards righteousness.

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