Monday, March 22, 2010

God's Cake

Let me just warn you now... right up front. I am currently suffering from a disorder. Not so very rare, from what I understand. I am suffering from a condition a friend today affectionately nicknamed "Spring Break Brain" or "SBB". Busy moms and teachers alike were counting down until last week. We jumped into that heavenly little preview of summer (ok, I was in south Louisiana, so we didn't get the snow) and left it behind MOST relectantly today, kicking and screaming all the way back into the "real world". How many more weeks 'til summer??

I warn you up front so you will understand that I don't really have a well-planned topic today, I am sorry to say. So if you feel as though you are reading several disjointed messages with no overarching theme... well...welcome, my friend! Welcome to SBB-Land! My apologies in advance.

First of all, I wanted to just share with you that I am currently on Day 34. (You might wonder by my introduction if I am referring to "days on a nicotine patch"!!) No, no... You see, I gave up Facebook for Lent this year. And yes, I am currently on Day 34 of that particular journey. Has it always been easy? No Did I go through some withdrawals? Yes Do I still have them from time to time? Yes Is it getting easier over time? Yes Has it been worth it? Absolutely.

Though I am not Catholic, our pastor urges us every year to seriously consider giving up something important to us over the Lenten season. This way, whenever we want to reach for or have some of whatever "it" is... we can use that as a prompting to focus on what is most important: Christ's sacrifice for us... how He died on the cross for us. It does make our smaller "sacrifices" seem like ashes in comparison. But, though it has not always been easy, it truly has helped me to focus on what is most important, in this time leading up to Easter.

Secondly, I just wanted to say that when I was in Louisiana this weekend for a friend's birthday, I had a minor revelation that I wanted to share here. After we celebrated her birthday with dinner, my friend divided the guests into two teams and we were sent on a very interesting scavenger hunt through the French Quarter in New Orleans. We had to track down facts about local landmarks, answer questions to see how well we really knew my friend, and, in what proved to be one of the night's toughest challenges... we had to find a coin dated "1960" (my friend's birth year).

Now, if I may be so bold... WHEN is the last time that you actually looked at the dates on the coins that happen to be in your possession? There were many we found from the 1990's.. from the 2000's. A few random ones from the 70's and 80's. Some surprises too.. that shiny nickle that you would just know was minted last year that turned out to be from 1956. That crusty old-looking penny that HAD to hail from way back in the 40's... nope, try 1997.

I know that I could not even remember the last time I actually looked that closely at a coin in my possession. It made me think, for a brief second, how glad I was that God does not let us slide so casually through His fingers, as most of us do the coins we encounter daily. He knows not only our year of origin, He knows every tiny detail... all our shining moments.. all our tiny (and not-so-tiny) imperfections. All our glittering splendor... and all our rough, crusty edges. Regardless, He always values us as rare treasure. Nothing about us escapes His notice. He loves us that much!

Finally, I have many friends who have been experiencing some very rough times lately. Divorce, job loss, illness and death of family members.. and the list goes on. It is so hard to try & make sense of it all... all our day-to-day struggles.

I received an email from a dear friend that helped put all these things into such perspective today. I wanted to copy and share the main message of it here:

Sometimes we wonder, 'What did I do to deserve this?' or 'Why did God have to do this to me?' Here is a wonderful explanation! A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.'
'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers.
'Yuck' says her daughter.
'How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!'
'Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?'
'Mom, those are all yucky!'
To which the mother replies: 'Yes , all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! '
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good. We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful. --Anonymous

Friends, I hope that whatever struggles you are experiencing today, you will think of how God truly treasures you (and even those of us with seasonally-induced temporary mental issues) when you see those "random" coins in your purse this week. And I hope that if you see a big, wonderful-looking piece of cake, you will keep in mind that just as the baker brought those ingredients together in an almost magical process... so does God work all together for good in our lives.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

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