When the Cake Crumbles| By Tori Savoy

Running a cake business can sometimes be scary. You spend hours on a cake, unsure if it will turn out exactly like the client requested or whether it will stay together throughout the day.

I will never forget transporting a cake that had several elements to it. I had spent hours working on it. As I drove, I heard a thump come from the box.

My heart skipped a beat.

Once I stopped at a red light, I opened the box to discover that the fondant shapes on top the cake had began to wilt, and one of the pieces fell over and down the back side of the cake.

“Oh my goodness! I can’t give this to the client,” I thought.

I ran through my mind how I was going to explain to the customer that her cake was ruined. I prayed that she would be understanding.

Once I pulled up, I began to explain and tried to quickly mend as much of the damage as possible as she walked toward my car. I even offered to give her a discount.

She smiled and said, “Well let’s see what happened.”

And as she took a look, she said “Oh, just give me that piece that fell. I’ll take it to the trash can. The cake looks beautiful without it. You wouldn’t even know it was missing something.”

“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.” Jeremiah 18:3-4

Somehow, I felt like this is what happens when I am too afraid to come to God with my broken pieces. I see the parts that are “wilting” and believe my complete self is ruined, unworthy to be an offering for God.

However, He looks at me and asks me to just hand over those bad parts for Him to dispose of. He says, “See! Look how beautiful you are without that.”

Just like my cake customer, Jesus did not need a discount. He paid the full price for our broken souls right there at the cross. He takes our mess, throws away the bad parts, and makes a beautiful masterpiece of what is left.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

God does not ask that we bring a perfect product to Him. He takes us in as we are and only asks that we let Him handle those broken pieces. I charge you today to come before God just as you are.

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Bring Your Brokenness| By Rachel Lukinovich

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Do you remember back in your childhood days, when you were just learning how to color?

Wasn’t it fun to scribble all over that white paper and make whatever your little heart so desired?

But then, all of sudden, you accidentally pushed down on that crayon a little too hard and maybe a little too fast. Then pop, your crayon breaks, and man are you bummed. You’re a smart kid so you ask for some tape and voila, the crayon is back to its former “whole” self. Or, maybe you don’t have any tape, so you just throw those crayon pieces right where they belong – in the trash.

Does this bring back any memories?

A few weeks ago, my 2-year-old daughter Ava, and I were making creative little pictures. Just as she goes to finish the round edge of her circle, snap — you guessed it, her crayon broke in two. She, like most small children, feels very similar about her crayons, and within minutes, this was our dialogue-

Ava: “I can’t use these crayons, mommy, they are broken.”

Me: (not wanting to waste and throw away anymore crayons) “You can still use them, even though they are broken.”

If the Holy Spirit didn’t slap me in the face, I don’t know what did! Instantly, it was brought to my attention that too often we treat ourselves and sometimes others like this crayon. Our minds have somehow come to believe that once broken, we need to quickly slap a piece of tape on our brokenness, and if that is not doable, we are no longer usable for God’s kingdom.

For years, mainly after giving my life to Christ, I believed the lie that I had to seem perfect or altogether, but over time, the Lord freed me of this and spoke truth into my heart. It is okay to be and appear broken, as long as our brokenness is being handled in the hands of our Father. Others might see our broken crayons like pieces of uselessness, but Jesus sees a perfectly capable art tool that He’s thrilled to create a beautiful story with.

Have you ever thought that maybe our broken crayons are what will make our story so beautiful? When we are broken, it is guaranteed that God gets the glory because our own strength simply could not hold us together.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Too often, we believe we need to quickly fix ourselves and tightly wrap some type of reinforcement to hide the brokenness – Why? Because a whole taped crayon looks so much better than a obviously broken one. Yet, reinforcing the crayon will only hold its strength for so long, and despite what its appearance may show, it’s still completely broken on the inside. The outer splint will only last for so long.

Our past hurts and mistakes do not define us, but that doesn’t mean we should slap a bandaid over a festering wound and call it a day. Wounds, mistakes, failures, shortcoming, hurts, – they all cause us to break one way or another. Brokenness takes time to be mended, a healing that can truly only be completely made whole and well by the grace, forgiveness, and love of our Father, Jesus Christ.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

We may want our whole story to be written with a perfectly whole crayon, but at the end of the day, if we keep our eyes on Jesus and let Him write our story, it will be so beautifully written, regardless if the crayon was whole or broken.

Instead of seeking quick fixes to tape us back together, let us keep our eyes fixed on our Savior and King, and let Him do the mending back into shape, even if it means we have to go through the fire to be melted down and reshaped. After all, we are His work in progress and we are His masterpiece.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

My Grace Is Sufficient| By Tori Savoy

grace“You don’t realize the power of your words,” a man yelled at me in the lobby of a public building.

Back in my journalism days, it was not uncommon for some people to be unhappy with the copy we published in our newspaper. This man just happened to be more passionate than most. He confronted me right before a public meeting and chewed me out for close to 15 minutes. I just let him yell with hopes I could hold the tears in until he was finished with his rant. It turned out, he had not even read the article and had to come apologize to me hours later for yelling at me without gathering all of the facts first.

All of my life I have struggled with insecurity and perfectionism. I will literally beat myself up over every little mistake I make. Similar situations such as this would run through my mind over and over again for days following the incident. Even though that particular incident was not my fault, I still felt as if I had done something wrong.

However, no matter how harsh others have been to me, I have come to realize it is nothing compared to the words I say to myself.

The perfectionist in me is constantly using harsh words to tell myself that I am not good enough.

I am not a good enough wife. I am not smart enough. I am not organized enough. I am not social enough. I am not kind enough. I am not a good enough friend. I am not pretty enough.

I will tell myself things like, “why can’t you just get your life together? You don’t workout enough. Your house is not clean enough. You do not read your Bible and pray enough.”

However, God has been working on my heart in this matter by constantly whispering one little word in my ear, “Grace.”

“But he said to me, ‘’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Grace is a free gift from God that we could never earn. If a perfect God can look on imperfect me with forgiveness and unmerited love, why can’t I give myself grace?

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

Accepting God’s gift of grace is one of the most freeing experiences. When I start to beat myself up about mistakes, I remind myself that God’s grace covers me.

Instead of spewing hate and negative words toward myself, I begin to repeat God’s words of love and grace over myself in times of failure.

Perhaps perfectionism is something you can relate to. You are a work in progress, beautifully broken.


One of my favorite quotes is by American playwright Eugene O’Neill

“Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.”

Rather than striving for perfection, let the perfect grace of God cover you. He wants all your broken pieces just the way they are. Embrace all of the imperfections and welcome in grace.

“But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Romans 5:20

Who?| By Jasmine Beard

In the months after I gave my life to Christ, I began to experience true love. I always thought going to church and being a good person would ensure a personal ticket to Heaven. But, through my experience of salvation I realized that was not the case.

I began to delve deep into the Bible. I had the same Bible since I was nine years-old. It was hot pink with florets all over the cover. The title page read, “Teen edition NIV version.” I didn’t know if this Bible was like the all the other Bibles. I figured it was what I had and I might as well read it.

I was super excited to learn about the Bible which had just been collecting dust on my bookshelf for years. I opened and dived right into the book of Genesis. This book was familiar, I read these familiar stories as a child in a children’s Bible. As I continued to read I discovered all the different books in the Bible and different sections.

After reading Genesis I began reading the book of Matthew. This was the first book in the Bible that really jumped off the pages to me. The book details the descendants of Christ, His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection. Like I previously said, I didn’t have much knowledge of Jesus before becoming a Christian.

In movies and pictures, I had seen prior to this, Jesus was always a man with a skinny frame and long dark hair- far from a picture of strength and a depiction of what a man who would save the world would look like.

The gospel of Matthew painted a much different picture of Christ in my mind. The man Matthew described was a man of strength and dignity. He was a man of miracles that changed the atmosphere when he entered it. I remember feeling in the moment that I had never heard of a life that displayed love so perfectly.

When I entered my second year of high school the person I had always been had changed. And man did others change. Instead of just talking about guys between the ooing and ahing my peers began to experiment with the opposite sex and tell me all they were experiencing.

At age 14, I longed to be loved and craved attention. But, deep down something just told me boys weren’t the answer. Something told me that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. I thought sex was about love, but even at that young age I knew what I was hearing didn’t sound like love.

I began to dive deeper into my new faith found in Jesus. James 4:8 ESV says,

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”

I would lie in my bed and pray. I would ask the Lord what his likes and dislikes were about me. I would read His word for affirmation and revelation of how I should be living my life. He filled every longing and every craving I had for attention and experiences other people were having.

Jesus is a personal God. Not a God you should hide from. A God you should run to. While this world is beautiful and offers nice things, I have found it all falls empty in comparison to the love and freedom I have experienced in Christ.

My prayer is through my experiences and revelations written on this blog people will be encouraged to simply give that “Jesus thing” a try. I did and I’ve been forever changed.

Romans 5:8 ESV

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

praying

Where?

After my cousin passed away, I thought about death a lot. And eventually I began to have a repetitive dream of my own funeral. For a suicidal teen, the dreams were somewhat satisfying to me, as morbid as that sounds. I began to tell my best friend that I thought I was going to die soon because of the dreams I was having.

Around that time I began visiting a local church’s youth group as well as a weekly Bible study. I mostly went because I enjoyed getting out of the house and spending time with friends. At the time, I thought simply believing in a god or deity made a person a Christian.

I believed in God my creator. I read all the children’s Bibles as a child – at least, the first few chapters about creation. I knew about the God who created the Heavens and the Earth and the God who created Adam and Eve, but anything past that I had no knowledge of.

I had heard of the name Jesus and that He was the son of God. I took that information at face value and I guess I believed it, but that still didn’t mean much to me.

The summer after my freshman year of high school finally arrived, and the church I had been attending was having a youth camp that June. I wanted one thing that summer, and it was change. I wanted to be different and to feel different than I was. I didn’t want to feel depressed and have a cloud of shame and guilt floating over me. I didn’t know if that was possible or if it would happen, but I hoped.

On my way to the youth camp, as I rode with my best friend and Bible study teacher, I began to tell them about the dreams I had been having. I told them I thought the dreams were weird, and that I thought I would die soon.

My small group leader’s response baffled me. Instead of playing along with my morbid view of my dream, she instead believed the dream was symbolic and that the dream represented my old self dying and my new self being born. I had no idea what that meant, but her response somehow gave me the assurance I needed.

On the first night of camp, we were shown clips of The Passion of the Christ. In the clips, men beat Jesus beyond recognition. They continuously yelled at him and showed no empathy for the pain inflicted upon him. Before this moment, I did not know anything about what Jesus had done on the cross or what His blood represented. I suddenly began to weep like never before. Goosebumps filled my arms and legs, and the blinders finally fell off my eyes.

In that moment, I experienced peace for the first time. After the clips, the pastor gave a quick message about salvation. He told us Jesus died on the cross and took the punishment for all our sin. And that He did this so we could all be forgiven of our sin and have eternal life in Heaven with Him.

That night, light shined on the emptiness I had held onto for years. I realized I no longer had to live a life full of depression and rebellion. When the pastor gave an invitation to receive Christ as Savior and Lord, I didn’t just walk. I ran to the altar.

It was in that moment I realized life is worth living. There is life after death, that Heaven and Hell were no longer things I read about in a story book or just places I heard about, but they were real. And I now knew through Jesus I could have eternal life in Heaven.

Romans 5:6-8 ESV

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person— though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

Why?| By Jasmine Beard

Often times the who’s, the what’s, and the how’s of life can be pondering questions in our souls. For me the question was, why? Why do trees exist?  Why are people here? Why do people die? Why are people here in the first place? But, most of all why am I here?

These “why” questions clouded my fourteen-year-old mind. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be here, I have no reason to live, what’s the point of all of this, why am I even here?”

On the outside, I had everything going for me. I had great friends and supportive parents. I was talented and pretty, and I appeared seemingly cheerful on the outside. But, on the inside I was breaking, constantly pondering suicide and a way out from this world.

At this time in my life everything was changing. I had just started high school, and the course work got heavier and harder. I was in school with 18-year-old guys who were “pursuing me” and suggesting anything other than gentlemen like behavior.  People dressed differently and spoke differently.

On the outside I was just like my peers. I wore the tight shirts and short skirts. I yelled and spoke the profanity, spitting them out at any time I had the chance. I also gloated at the attention I received from boys.

You see my entire life I had been teased for not acting “black enough”. From the ages 12 to 14, I made it my mission to become black enough. I thought to myself, “I just want to be able to hangout with the black kids, and fit in.”

For some reason the color of my skin wasn’t enough for the ones who teased me. I figured being loud, disrespectful, and obnoxious is what they want. And if that’s what I have to do to fit in, I’ll do it.

But, on the inside I felt as though I was dying and suffocating in the pain of trying to fit in and trying to be a rebellious teenager. At fourteen, the persona I was playing was cracking. I didn’t like being angry all the time. I didn’t like tight clothes. I didn’t want to use profanity. I didn’t want to talk to guys who didn’t have the right intentions.

Fourteen was the first time I truly grasped death at least in a carnal way. I had experienced death of grandparents in the past, but I just didn’t quite get it. It wasn’t until six people within nine months passed away in my family, the last being my fifteen-year-old cousin who I went through virtually every grade with. I was in complete disbelief that a person the same age as me could seemingly be fine in the morning and just be gone that same day in the afternoon.

On top of all the self-hate I had inside my heart towards myself, everything was falling apart. I didn’t understand why everyone was dying and wished I could fix it.

Once the fact that my cousin had passed away began to set in, my question stopped being, “why”, but “where?” Where did Jordan go? Did he go to Heaven? Did he go to Hell? Was any of that really real? I always thought I believed in those places, but it wasn’t until this loss in my family that those places became a reality to me.