I don’t deserve it. Do you?
It’s difficult to understand and extend mercy without having been shown mercy.
Once we grasp the magnitude of what mercy is and the incredible depth of its beauty, we can then serve it to others around us.
Yes… even to those who don’t deserve it.
Can you picture me as Little Red Riding Hood, skipping along with a basket passing out mini cakes of mercy… where God and others fill my basket as they show me mercy for my wrongdoings & failures?
Let’s not be fooled. It’s nothing like that! In real life, I can be pretty stingy with my dessert… and my mercy.
I’ve been hurt by people who were supposed to love and care for me.
“It’s taken years, but, here… have a mercy cake.”
I’ve been let down by friends who were supposed to support me. I’m a pastor’s wife…. I’ve. been. hurt.
“Here’s one for you, and for you…”
People, in general, can be rude and mean. It’s haaaaard to slap a smile on your face and hand out mercy cakes to mean people, am I right? But again, who am I?! So…
“What flavor would you like?”
Sometimes, we’re the ones denying ourselves mercy… life isn’t always easy, is it?
It’s okay to take from this basket.
I’ve treated my God pretty poorly in various chapters of my life, and yet He still sees me worthy of His mercies… which are new, beautiful, and undeserving every single day.
How can I not serve mercy to those around me, when He so graciously serves it to me, especially when I don’t deserve it?
But let’s be real, we all need a reminder every so often, right?
On top of the outside forces, I’m a wife and a mom. Hellooooooo, mercy!
My husband and I inadvertently decided that a cheap-carnival-ride like marriage would be fun for the first few years. Not so much. Mercy, from God, and from one another to one another, helped us get off that janky roller coaster and into our 18th year of wedded and perfectly imperfect bliss.
And kids…. OH, MERCY! These kids will have me baking mercy cakes for years.
For this girl who fantasized about her violin-playing, pigtailed & perfectly coiffed children for years before actually becoming a mother, the moment that my first daughter was born was life-altering and fantasy-shattering. That crazy-haired beauty stole my heart… and my sanity… all in an instant.
My oldest proved to be everything that my former parenthood fantasies were not. And she was really good at it, from day one. From there, she learned to become even better at it.
She’s now nearly 16 and is a gorgeous girl, with a gorgeous heart, and a spunky, strong-willed attitude. I’ve always said that God gave her those attributes for His purpose, and we’ve already seen their benefits as she encountered middle school. However, we have had to cope with and shape that over the years.
When I started reading about shaping her strong will in Dr. Dobson’s “The Strong-Willed Child,” I wanted to throw in the towel. Nope… too hard… I can’t do it.
After the first several years of failing as a mother to properly “shape” this child, who was drastically different than myself, I began to catch on: Mercy (and prayers….. lots and lots of prayers).
In order to teach her mercy, I had to show her mercy. Which was something that I never dealt with in my perfect-little-family-fantasies because in those, we were all perfect of course.
If you’ve ever raised a strong-willed child, then you know… it’s not for the weak!
“Give this sassy little monkey a mercy cake when she’s just been grounded from dessert?! Psshhh!”
I’m almost certain the moment my girl truly grasped mercy was on an evening several years ago.
The whole fam was in the back yard. The two older kids and my husband were playing wall-ball. Our youngest daughter (who was barely four at the time) sat on my lap as we watched from the porch.
At some point, my tiny asked me to feel her legs. Figuring she was chilly, I began to rub my hands briskly on her legs. Caught somewhere between the game and the nonstop chatter, I vaguely heard her ask me if her legs were smooth.
“Mmmhmm,” I answered.
She asked again. “Yep.”
And then came, “I knoooooow! They feel so smooth because Chloe shaved them for me in the shower yesterday-night.”
“Oh yeah, nice. . . . . . . wait. . . . . WHAT?”
I had her repeat it, to make sure I wasn’t hearing things… or in a really bad dream.
Now understand, in this moment, Jesus was with me.
He was right there, and He grabbed my hand, placed His index finger over my lips (even though he knows I don’t like that), and He held me back.
It had to be Him. Because that’s the only explanation for why I didn’t come completely unglued. Like, for real… eyes popping out, flailing arms, weeping, gnashing of teeth… the whole nine.
This was my four-year-old baby!!! Did her big sister not understand that I was trying to hold on to every ounce of innocence that I had left with this wee one?!
The following moments were blurry. I remember breathing slowly.
My husband could see that even Jesus was having a hard time holding the reigns, so he sent me to my room first.
Once the coast was clear, he sent Chloe to hers.
Well, guess who was waiting for me in my bedroom, with a gentle reminder of what He’d done for me time after time?
I’m pretty certain that our poor baby was convinced she’d never see the light of day again when I knocked on her door a good thirty minutes later. And only my Heavenly Father could have orchestrated the beauty that took place in her room that night.
“And the sweetest of mercy cakes for you, precious baby girl.”
My perspective shifts drastically when I envision God as my Daddy, and myself as his little girl.
A little girl who has stumbled a bit as she learns to navigate this place called Life. And when that shift in perspective happens, it feels much easier to accept the beautiful kisses of mercy that He lavishes upon me each morning.
Not only that, but it becomes easier (and lovely, even) to turn around and serve mercies to my brothers and sisters in Christ, who deserve a share just as greatly as I.
Because really, the truth is, none of us deserve God’s mercy. And yet, there He stands, with his basket…
“Here’s one for you… and another for you, and you, and you…”
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
I’m honored to be gathered around the table with Suzie Eller & friends for her #livefreeThursday convo.
Visit her blog at www.tsuzanneeller.com and join this community of brave women!
*This post was originally published as “Mercy Cakes” in March 2015