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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

resting in mediocrity

I decided last week that for Miss Gloriana's birthday party, I wanted to make her a REAL cake - with fondant and everything. I had grand visions of smooth purple and pink shapes and women standing around it with their mouths agape. I even tempered the situation with reality and pictured Miss Thang sticking one ginormo fist into the cake, ruining it and bringing it to completion, all in one fell swoop.

On the day of the party, with my sweet mama there to help, the cakes baked and waiting, the fondant colors made and prepared - my mediocrity reared it's normal little head. I couldn't get even one piece of fondant to be thin and big enough (without breaking) to cover even the small layer of cake. Darn, I thought this might happen. Did I foresee the fondant being hard to work with? Sure, but more than that I feared that yet another attempt to rise above being 'a jack of all trades and a master of none' would leave my girl with a silly looking cake and my clothes covered in sticky, sugary paste.

We deemed the cake whimsical and our friends were beyond gracious. In general, I was surprisingly pleased with the taste of the cake and I think my girl loved it just fine. But it certainly got me thinking.

There was a time in my life when I really believed that if I tried hard enough, it would be possibly to be the most something. The most stylish, the most smart, the most successful, the most creative, the most Christlike, or the most loving wife & mother. At every new place in life, I quickly surmised that the goal to be the most was unrealistic and sinful - at best. It made me compare myself all too often, which we women know is basically the root of all evil for us, and more than that - it made me want to make other women feel bad. That sounds horrible and disgusting, but isn't it true? If we want to be recognized as the best of something, we are wanting other people to feel inferior, to feel less than.

Now, I'm not nearly totally free from this issue and I even had to confess to my mom the other night that when I've been pregnant for three years and have the energy level of a half-dead slug and thus CANNOT nearly begin to strive to be the prettiest or the most useful, I tend to just deflect my desire to be the most onto my children. I think, "well they're not the most _______, but atleast they're ______". You can go ahead and call me disgusting. As a mother, as a woman of God, I believe Christ died so that I can be enough in Him alone and when I can't rest in that, I project my sin on to my helpless babes. If they don't hear and see from me that they are amazing and mind blowing in the blood of Jesus alone, it will be such a hard road for them. This isn't the kind of sin you confess to yourself and ponder for a while - you have to stop that thought process in it's tracks and run from thinking such evil things about yourself or your family.

So my cake and my confession has me thinking a lot today. Praying a lot today. There is always a time to work hard, to be our best in Jesus' name, and to exhaust ourselves for His purpose. But, for me, in this moment - I have to rest in my mediocrity. Not only can I drop out of the race for the trophy of the most, but I can stop looking beside me to see where I even line up in the running. I was the worst - who met a Savior - and is now enough.


16 comments:

lauren said...

when i was in 7th grade, i came home one day and told my mom, "no matter how hard i work and try at school, tricia pearson always does better than me." what she said completely floored me. "sweetie, no matter where you go or what you do in life, there will probably always be a tricia pearson there who is a bit better at it. what matters is what God thinks and sees." maybe that's not what a mom is supposed to say. but it was just what i needed to hear. and i've never forgotten it.

Annie said...

Amen Mama!

wight people said...

Not to up your ego when your trying to drop this sin...but you are the most best friend! Ever!

And, the girls I live with asked what professional bakery made the cake. And they actually ate the whole thing. And there were only 2 of them. They thought it was beautiful and were shocked at the goodness of the fondant! Delightful!

In all seriousness, I need to change all the same things.

Leigh said...

Great post jess!

and I payed good money to know how to use fondant and let's just say until I take a class outside of my schooling for it there is no way that stuff will be entering my house. I can't do it to save my life.

Jennie said...

Makes me think of one of my favorite songs-- Anthem by Leonard Cohen. My favorite line?

"Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

kellybollman said...

The cake is absolutely adorable! I love it!!! :) AND, phew, friend, do I relate, and love your post. Pride rears its butt-ugly head in me... well, daily.
Praise our Lord, redeeming us daily. Thank you for your words.

Old Woman said...

Jessi: I'm a friend of your mom's from NC. I visit your blog often because I just love your candidness about being a woman of God. This post is very truthful and humbling...for ALL woman. I love your heart. Thanks for sharing, thanks for insprining others and thanks for the allowing yourself to be used of God. - Peace IN HIM - lb

Hi, I'm Amy! said...

Jessi, I think it's beautiful! And my goodness, it was you FIRST! I've seen many beautiful fondant cakes - but I've always wondered how it tastes. I've never tried it. I might have to try one myself!

Nick said...

I love you. You are amazing. Thank you for being you..I would not take you any other way.

peeling away the layers said...

Incredible Blog Jessi! Thanks for sharing! And by the way, the cake is wonderful!

Angela and Devin said...

i look up to you (even if i shouldn't).

and the cake looks great.


BIG LOVE.

kellycowan said...

my favorite blog in a long time. thanks for writing it.

kalle said...

amen. i do know exactly what you mean about trying to be the best... ugh. i love you and appreciate your wisdom always and honesty

InthemiddleofLIFE said...

ok, wish I could have been as wise as Lauren' mom when you were STRIVING over this cake. instead, all I could do was be in AWE and think about the pityful bday cakes I have made and bought over the years (aka Katie's 1st that she still laughs about when she sees the photo). I never even knew about fondant until your wedding cake and certainly didn't know it was something we could do at home!
i seriously LOVE how you aim for perfection in all things then rest in His Best once He leads you there. (and I was seriously bummed that we left the cake at Merilee's...really almost stashed a piece in the diaper bag) :) love your heart, momma

michelle said...

sigh.

this post is so...honest. i love LOVE your words. did you write them just for me?!

feels like it :)

maybe i can cut and paste it into my blog and sign my name on it? great! (minus the fondant part, though. Lord knows I am not daring enough to try that without a tutorial. well done, though! i really didn't know if that cake was yours or from the web!)

love from boston, m.
p.s. is it august yet? we need to have coffee...

Jessi said...

oh thanks ladies. This is encouraging that we women need to keep saying things like this to one another - confessing and spurring. And yes, Michelle - that is my sweet little fondant cake:) It weighed about sixteen pounds. No joke.