July 9, 2009
My Great Brownie Debacle
“For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” Proverbs 24:16 (NIV)
Rewarding. That’s what this particular day was supposed to be, my shining-star day at my kids’ school. Finally, I was going to get the “Really Good Mommy Award.”
Not that this is an official award on a frame-worthy piece of fine linen paper. It is not. It’s just a feeling—that feeling of getting a thumbs-up and acceptance nod that you are in fact doing an okay job as a mom.
I had volunteered to make 100 individually wrapped homemade brownies. And I was going to be completely fancy and use the turtle brownie mix that comes in a box. That’s as close to homemade as I get.
After baking all those brownies and allowing them to cool, I cut and lifted each one into the safety of its own little baggie and recruited my daughters to help me finish up. We bagged up brownies 95, 96, 97, and then a disaster of epic proportions occurred.
These turtle brownies had nuts in them. Lots of nuts. And there I was standing over individually wrapped brownie number 97 listening to my daughter’s reminder that our school is, in fact, a peanut-free school.
My arms started flailing about as if to gather the pieces of my scattered brain and tuck everything back into place. I sent the kids out of the room and ate brownies 98, 99, and 100.
No shining star. No Really Good Mommy Award. No happy, proud kids elated with their mom’s efforts.
I spent the rest of the day trying to process this great brownie failure. I saw it as a debacle that defined my motherhood journey. Grand visions that led to big messes that led to unmet expectations that heaped more and more guilt on my already slightly fragile motherhood psyche.
And that’s exactly where Satan would have loved for me to stay. That’s his daily goal, actually. If Satan can use our everyday experiences, both big and small, to cripple our true identity, then he renders God’s people totally ineffective for the kingdom of Christ.
These were brownies for a school bake sale. And these brownies had somehow knocked me to the ground. I didn’t want to smile. I didn’t want to be kind. I didn’t want to be a disciple for Christ that day. Ever been there?
Satan wants us to entertain a very dangerous thought: “Why doesn’t Jesus work for me?” This is never the right question. Instead, when circumstances shift and we feel like we fall short, we should ask, “How can I see Jesus even in this?”
The only way I can ask myself this question is when I pull back from whatever situation I’m facing and separate my circumstance from my identity.
Now let’s state what is true. Despite my feelings, my identity stayed the same. I am a loving mom. I am a giving person. I am a woman who takes her responsibilities seriously. I am a daughter of the King.
All of this is true despite my failures. So, though I have a whole mess of extra brownies with nuts laying around and the school won’t have any brownies for the bake sale today, this mishap doesn’t define me. The only thing this means is I need to read the bake sale instruction sheet a little more closely next time.
That’s it. It’s simply a call to action not a call to condemnation. And did you notice the response of the righteous man in the key verse above? Though he fell time and again, he kept getting up. May we do the very same thing.
Dear Lord, help me separate my circumstances from my identity. Help me only determine my worth by Your truth and not my performance in any situation. Thank You for looking at me not as I am, but how Jesus has enabled me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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This devotion was excerpted from Lysa’s soon to be released book, “Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.” To pre-order your copy, click here.
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Write down a failure you’ve experienced lately. What is a truth from God’s Word that can help you? Write down 2-3 verses you find particularly encouraging in your area of struggle.
Have I let a failure define my worth lately? How might I separate my identity from my circumstance?
Romans 9:15-16, “’I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.“ (NIV)
Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV)
© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 09 July 2009.