We have just sprinted through the birthday/holiday portion of our family calendar, officially ending with February 15th and our youngest son’s birthday. My iBoy is another year older!
As I was pulling through my recipe files looking for the requested “plain yellow cake”, I was startled by the memory of another “plain yellow cake” I volunteered to make almost several years ago. And I cringed.
Yeah, I remember that.
The story goes something like this: 3 kids and many gray hairs ago…
I thought I could decorate cakes for extra money. I learned the basics, loved to bake and like most things (then and now); what I lack in true talent, I’ll make up for with enthusiasm! At least, that was the plan.
What didn’t factor into my delicious money-making plan was the “three children” part of my story. Some reading today have way more children and have done just fine. God bless you. That was not me.
It may or may not come as a surprise to learn that I thought I could handle it all, or at the very least, bluff my way through anything.
It was a relative breeze going from no children to one child. And child number two was not that big of a change either. So, hey, I got this thing!
Enter child three…..whoa Nelly. I can’t explain it but, this third child triggered a veritable vortex in my world which sucked me down and held me under for quite a long time.
All the things I used to do with ease and grace…were not easy and seldom graceful. People, I was a wreck. Nothing could prepare me for the assault on my pride, intellect and vanity to discover inwardly that I could not do it all and, what little I could do, was not going to get done well.
But I’d never confess it.
I expected life to get back to “normal” but there was no such place to get back to. “Normal” had changed it’s address and left no forwarding number!
Cake. This story is about cake. The moment of my undoing began one morning as I sat in the middle of “Mt. McLaundry . I was trying to nurse child three to sleep for his morning nap, propped on a pillow held against my knee, while attempting to match socks. The phone rang. It was son #2’s Preschool Director asking me what time the cakes would be ready for the graduation ceremony on Friday.
Silence. Shock. No awe.
I’d completely forgotten about the 2 half-sheet cakes I had been hired to make for graduation… now only 2 days away.
Quick! Bluff! RECOVER! Hanging up, with happy assurances they’d be there…I went into instant panic mode. How could I forget? Shoot, HOW could I remember?!?
Abandoning my tenuous foothold on “Mt. McLaundry”, off to the grocery store I went to buy supplies before the afternoon carpool run. So much for nap time.
Bah. I could do this. I would do this.
People. I was an un-holy cake-baking terror for the next 24 hours. On a mission to preserve my reputation (more like salvage my ego), I undoubtedly wreaked family destruction in the process. Those cakes got made by glory.
Step one done:
Frost and set. Check.
The cakes were placed in the garage/office area allowing the frosting to “set” while I mixed up the decorator icing; one on the workbench and one on the chair. Check. Husband would keep an eye on things. Check.
Who knows how long it took. All I recall is the “NO! Don’t sit….” followed by “Uh-oh”: the “shot heard round ” my world that night. My dented cake and middle son’s frosted backside was all it took to take me down…..down….
I didn’t cry; I howled. Fists banging and screaming, I collapsed in a heap. Ugly cry time. No time, money or ingredients to start over. Bondo.
I quickly whipped up another batch of frosting and filled that moon-crater with as much as it would hold. A huge, disgusting glob fleshing out a whole corner. Mmmm. Then decorated with lots of squiggly stuff everywhere and acted like it it never happened…the end. I wish.
The cake…was edible if not rather hideous and gaudy. I think it turned everyone’s lips and fingertips yellow. For some reason, there was a lot left over…maybe because my son kept telling people about the “hiney cake” and showing where he sat. Nice.
I found this picture and had to laugh! Oh my goodness. So funny and so terribly SAD! Look at that cake and….look at that poor girl!
See it in her eyes? Pride? Fear? The die-hard people pleaser so far from God and so afraid to fail. Miserable and lonely most of the time. So unsure of herself and too afraid to ask for help.
That was me.
Could be still
if I’m not careful.
Not that I’ve come SO far since then…it’s more, that I’m gradually turning toward home. Maybe accept the challenges as well as my limitations and desperate dependency on God, who I’ve since come to know not only as my Savior…
but as my Lord.
So I can remember this event with humor and compassion, extending grace, love and mercy to that poor girl 13 years ago and love the girl in the mirror now.
I can also choose to see with new eyes, and extend grace and mercy to the struggling women around me…
- some fearful of failure,
- some lonely and young with children,
- some newly married and learning what love really is,
- some broken from the “whatevers” of life.
That’s where the healing is and the power of God’s redeeming, restoring . Over time, as God redeems, these memories soften and what once could have been a source of shame and bitterness is now a sweet source of strength. I’ve learned “humble cake” is really not so bad. I don’t mind sharing!
32 thoughts on “a FAT slice of humble….cake.”
Oh, Lorretta…hiney cake! I love how you told this story and the deeper things represented here. I might love your self compassion for that 13 years ago girl the most…that brings such hope to me today. Much love!
Hilarious! Love your honesty .. and praise God for the work He has done in your life in recent years! I can tell your children are blessed to have you as their mama … Thanks for sharing this story … Definitely comforting to hear real-life motherhood drama! 🙂 Blessings to you.
Oh, I so enjoyed reading this. I smiled. I felt for you. I so get that — that desire to just pull ALL OF IT off when you know deep down that you just need to admit you can’t and let. it. go. I love your journey with Jesus — how you know Him differently now, how He’s brought change, how you can rest in Him. Beautiful. Such a fun, encouraging read. 🙂 xo
Oh! You should have made a hiney cake for him this year! 🙂
His birthday is next Saturday and I just might! Haha!
How come I don’t remember this event? Am I getting old and experiencing selective memory?!? I love you, sister! It’s been a great 23+ years watching the Lord work in your life. =)
Loved this post! I’ve had my share of humble pie too! I’m also a recovering people pleaser. Thanks for linking up at CEO of Me this week!
Thank you Misty! And you know, I’m glad to have a clearer vision and understanding now…and to meet so many others out here who “get it”! Bless you!
Very, humbling and funny…
Had the same experience with 4 cakes for a chapel function and the cat touched part with a paw… I remember cutting out that part and I think adding cake back in, but it was a riot! My cats still don’t disappoint me with their curiosity
Needless to say, I was thankful the kids weren’t going with me … Those kids LOVE to blab LOL
Oh yes….but worth the lesson of every moment now! I am glad God gives us good reasons to smile!
Oh my goodness Lorretta! What a fantastic story! “Hiney cake”… oh man. And I LOVE how honest you are, and how I can relate to that girl in the picture–but I also feel such compassion for her too. Wonderful post. Thank you.
Thank you so much Emily. When I read your “German Curse Prayer” post the other day…I SO felt your pain and frustration and I wished only that I lived a few hundred miles closer so I could rescue you for a few moments! Bless you Sister!
I love the way you shared this story. Oh my goodness, the things we do as women to try to prove that we are worthy. I completely relate to this story. SO glad you are finding your worth in grace and mercy these days.
Yes…I tell you what, I am much wiser but probably not much smarter these days! 🙂
I laughed, but I saw myself in there too… wonderful post!
I’m just glad to be able to look back and laugh! I so wish I’d had a better grip on reality back then but I’ve come to learn that very few of us do. Grace…grace…..GOD’S grace…..!
Great story Loretta. #3 was my hardest to adjust as well. I think we can all relate and can look back with gladness at the things the Lord used to destroy our pride even if it was painful at the time. What freedom we find in Jesus, when we quit striving for man’s approval. It can be lonely sometimes, but always freeing and with a heart at peace.
Thanks Michelle! I have long struggled with guilt over all I didn’t know, understand or realize but am slowly releasing myself from it to see that there were many, many MANY good things that God allowed in addition to these shaping and refining moments. He feels like ALL of them were necessary and so I must trust Him for the outcome! And to this day, my son has NEVER sat on another cake! 🙂
Awww, it both a sad and funny story. Good for your getting it together Loreetta
Thanks Anita! From my “Crazy but True”files….and my “Truth” is ALWAYS stranger than fiction. 🙂
I’m soooo behind on blog reading…but every time I allow myself a few minutes to read one of your posts I am always blessed. Thank you.
I understand Marie…I feel the same way and I’m grateful you include me in your limited moments to read! Like you, I don’t publish as often as some others so when I see something from you pop up, I’ll always peg it for later because I KNOW I’m gonna be blessed by it!
This made me laugh, and cringe a little as I saw my own issues with pride more clearly. Beautiful reminder. <3
Yeah….the funniest part is when I think I’ve come “so far” since then and the Lord sweetly reminds me “Uh….no.”
Well, I’m impressed with anyone who can decorate a cake…cause it isn’t me! But oh how I can identify with the girl in the picture…so often there.
Sweet Friend. I understand and I think what I’ve learned most of all is to stay honest, realistic and connected to reality through the lifeline of friendships like these. Most of my hard days were fueled by fear–of doing “it” wrong, of what others thought of me as a mother and wife, of not being accepted by my inlaws–never once did I really consider or fear what God expected of me–it was always fear of “man”. I needed REAL friends and I needed to get REAL. So stick with me girl…find others near you and we’re gonna walk this thing to the finish line and hear our Jesus say, “Well done!”
I spent some time here today, catching up with your entries and wiping a few tears. I am/have been one of those women you speak of… and thank you for seeing us, for so many days I felt invisable to those who appeared to be ‘winning’. Georgia is often on my mind and those precious few days we met and you spoke The Word of LIFE . I love that I can meet with you here, and what a beautiful place it is 🙂 I love the new look and the sound of your voice is still singing LIFE to me.
Dear Friend Shalon! You know how good God is…that we were brought together for that brief time and even though you were moved on…God MOVED and is moving! Thank you for meeting with me here…keep your eyes open for our others Sisters who need to know and to be known by Him. Bless you!
I love this. I have a picture so much like the photo in your post…of a former me who thought I was fooling everyone, but who so clearly was full of fear and desperation – to be perfect, to be able to do it all, to not let my weakness show, to never ask for help.
It’s awesome to compare the Loretta “then” photo to the Loretta “now” photo – to SEE so clearly someone who has discovered and embraced grace.
Happy Birthday to your son :)!
Oh yes…what a difference a few….like 13 years makes! But it’s what God has done and to be flat out honest? It hasn’t been long–maybe only 2 years, since I walked out of most of that darkness into His glorious light. And there’s a Kim out here! 🙂
“Hiney” cake….oh my sides hurt. Oh girl, I feel for you. I do cakes too and you describe the nightmare. I have a friend who DROPPED a wedding cake on her way to the church the morning of. She ran home, baked more and did a whip stitch job duplicating the first cake. People at the reception were duly impressed. “This cake tastes so fresh, I swear it’s still warm.”
IT WAS! lol This is unlike me who thought I was smart and would decorate and set up a cake the night before…in moist damp April. I came in the morning of and found the icing had cracked all around the cake. Off came the flowers and frills and on went new layers of buttercream. Probably 1 inch cake with 2 inch frostings. lol The humble “cake” is a necessary part of the job.
I had to laugh.
I still have all my “stuff” and can whip something out if I have to but I definitely do not enjoy it as much as I thought I would! Definitely one for the Family History books!