Thursday, March 22, 2012

Birthday Cake

1 John 3:2—Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

I make our kids birthday cakes every year.  It has become a fun tradition to seek out the perfect combination of yumminess and their interests to create  a cake that that tells about them.  Last year the experience was not all it was cracked up to be yet I learned something form  it.   Savi and I poured through pictures of cakes and she decided she had her heart set on one that looked like Belle the princess, dress and all.  I stared at the picture and thought, no problem!  With the cakes made and set into their form, I began to ice the yellow ball gown.  Well, I didn't freeze the cake quite long enough and the frosting would not go on as smooth as I had hoped.  With tiredness setting in and my perfectionist form setting in, I was frustrated.  I wanted the perfect cake for her.  After completing it, I stared at it and thought " that was definitely not what I had envisioned" and I went to bed discouraged. Finishing it in the morning seemed the best plan of action.   The next morning I woke to squeals of glee as Savannah and her older sister found the cake in the kitchen!  They were hollering for everyone to come see the cake I had made - the cake I had gone to bed so dejected about.

I guess whether or not a cake is beautiful all depends on what you are looking for in a cake. If you’re looking at the cake as it is, it may or may not be beautiful at the moment. But if what you see is what your cake is on the way to being—in other words, the finished product—then it probably does look beautiful. Savannah saw her cake was beautiful because it was yellow and sparkly and looked like Belle, and because she knew it would turn out to be exactly what she wanted. That was enough for her.

Too bad it’s not enough for us sometimes when we look at ourselves. As women and as moms, it’s particularly easy for us to look at ourselves and see nothing but the imperfections. We know what we’d like ourselves to be, but we don’t trust the Maker that that’s possible.

What if we saw ourselves the way God sees us? What if we trusted Him to make perfect beauty from what looks imperfect now?

God knows that even though we’re not there yet, we’re at least on the way to being what He wants us to be. He sees the finished product He’s in the process of bringing to completion, not the imperfect intermediate one. He sees the beauty of the work He’s put into us, not the blemishes of the ways we’ve messed up. Sure, He knows we’re not perfect—but He also knows that one day, we will be, because of what He’s done in us.

One day we will be sinless. One day we will get things right—all the time. One day, we’ll be what we’ve always dreamed of being—glorified and beautiful, though physical beauty won’t hold the same importance for us anymore.

If only we could begin seeing ourselves differently right now—on the way to becoming, rather than messed up or imperfect. I wonder how we might treat ourselves differently as well as those around us. You see, they’re in the process of becoming, too. Maybe if we realized that we’re all still in process, we’d be able to give ourselves and others a little more grace. Maybe even a lot more. And maybe instead of reacting negatively to our imperfections, we could rejoice at God’s creative work in us as He gradually shapes us into the perfection He has is mind for us to be one day.

The crumby cake is not what we ultimately are. It’s not our final identity. It’s merely a stage on the way to becoming the beautiful cake God envisions—and it may even be beautiful at the moment. And just like God did for me that day, He may sometimes send us a little reminder—maybe even in the form of a delighted four-year-old excited about even the in-between stages.

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