Some days are harder than others. Thankfully we have a good God even on bad days.
For a few months the Lord has been teaching me to pray a certain prayer, "Lord, what is my response." I've learned from that prayer that the "right response" is the one that looks like Jesus. I've found that there is a time to laugh and dance in faith, and also appropriately, a time to mourn with the Lord. There is a time to speak up and be bold, and a time to sit down and keep silent. Some seasons we need to stay and plant, and other times we need to go and grow. I think many people come to Jesus and think He is a two dimensional drawing in a history book or stain glass window in an old church. We depict him as somber and serious, with a disconnected heart to culture and our lives. But this couldn't be farthest from the truth. Our God, Jesus Christ, is FULLY God and FULLY human and FULLY alive. He FEELS. He laughs and yells, He grieves and rejoices, He builds and tears down. He speaks in truth and also at times lets people ridicule Him to His face. He understands discerning the times and acting appropriately to reflect the heart of the Father in every moment. Our lives too should reflect different responses. Our lives should echo the heartbeat of Heaven. And personally, I had (have to) learn that. I had to learn that grieving and celebrating are both holy responses to life events. I had to learn that feeding my family in the privacy of my home and preaching on a stage to hundreds are both forms of worship. Jesus Christ has a statement in Matthew 11, when He is talking to a group of people about "discerning the times" (aka understanding what the Lord is doing in a moment). He says, "What should I compare this generation to? You are like a group of children playing to each other saying, I played the wedding song and you didn't dance, I played the funeral song and you didn't lament." You'll need to read it in context to understand it fully, but in this season of my life when I've been praying, "Lord, teach me my response" and I read that it was as if a ton of bricks hit me in the best way. I don't want to be negligence of the times in the body of Christ, in my home, or in my heart. I want to partner with Jesus' heart. If He says “it's celebration time”, I don't want him to find me in my prayer closet mopping and mourning. If He says “it's lamenting time”, I don't want Him to find me giggling in the corner of sad realities . (Obviously these are vague parable-like examples but you get the idea. I think sometimes we can get so good at Christian culture that we forget to ask The Lord what to do before going into muscle memory). I think of Martha in scripture, who instead of sitting at Jesus' feet decided to be busy working and cleaning. That isn't a bad thing, but it was the wrong response at that moment. I think of the parable of the Virgins who decided to go, and used up all their oil instead of saving it for the wedding. Going isn't bad, unless it's a season to be still and store.
How many times have I missed a moment with the Lord because I was doing something "good" instead of doing something "with the Lord"? Well.... all that to say. On this certain day from the cake picture above, I was having a really really hard day. It was sad and full of crying and lamenting. I paused and prayed, "Lord, what do I do with this? What do I do with these emotions and memories and moments?"
In His quiet, kind voice I heard Him say, "Savor my goodness." I wasn't sure what that meant so I asked Him. Then He gave me an idea to bake a cake. (Recipe below) It's hard to explain here, I'd love to write a blog one day about the different ways to hear the Lord, but in a moment I was given this picture of a chocolate cake covered in colorful sprinkles. So I went on pinterest, put a few recipes together and went to the kitchen. I wiped my tears, put on my apron, and began to sing songs of the goodness of God as I baked. Ryan later came home and smelled the chocolate cake and asked what we were celebrating. I told him, "God's goodness." I explained to him my sweet object lesson from the Lord:
“A Covenant Cake” : a dark chocolate cake to remind us of a "dark day" we may have had; but covered in rainbow sprinkles to remind us of God's promise and covenant to our family. He smiled and hugged me, he knew it had been a rough day. And together we sat at the table and savored His Goodness to me and our family. The Lord knew exactly what I needed that day. A big dose of the spirit of praise and some sweet carbs. (I mean really, how Good is our God?). This cake is now a tradition in our home. If a day has been particularly "dark", or a hard situation pops up, we share this cake as a family to remember His covenant and goodness to our home.
So this week, I challenge you to ask the Lord, "What is my response?"
To the neighbor who just had a baby: do I leave her alone or invite myself over with a meal?
To the virus that's spreading : do I need to walk in wisdom and keep the kids home, or walk in boldness?
To the hurtful text I just received : do I explain how that hurt me, or do I need to just reply with "ok. thank you."?
To the toddler that's throwing a tantrum : do I need to punish with a firm no, or give extra hugs and grace?
To that nagging health problem - do I need to simply drink water, and ride it out, or do I need to go to the doctor?
There are set things in scripture that teach us how to live in truth, but sometimes in grey situations we need the The Spirit of Truth, to navigate us. He knows everything and is always right.
So ask the Lord, He will teach you how to respond in every situation so that you reflect His heart in every moment. And who knows, like in my situation, your step of obedience may be to eat some chocolate cake.... obedience brings blessings, right? ;) In His Joy, Abby ***P.S - Don't forget the Cirkles are cheering you on! Chocolate Covenant Cake [30min | 350 degrees]
Ingredients: (This cake is in no way healthy. But it is full of ooey-gooey deliciousness.) Cake:
3/4 cup butter softened
3 eggs (room temperature) 2 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup whole milk
2 sticks softened butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup powdered sugar
*Rainbow sprinkles to top
1. Greese pans (2 round pans or 1 9X13) and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat butter for 30 sec, slowly add in sugar.
3. Add eggs in one at a time and beat.
4. Beat in vanilla.
5. Add in dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt), beating each addition.
6. Add 1/2 of the milk - beat- add in the rest. ***Mix only until combined.
7. Pour batter into pans.
8. Bake 30-35 min at 350 degrees. 9. While the cake is baking you can make the icing by beating all the ingredients together until smooth.
10. Let the cake fully cool before frosting.