A lemon cake is baking in my oven right now. It is the 13th lemon cake baked in my kitchen in as many years. Here is the true story of why, and how and who it is for. On January 6 of 2003, a day we’ve come to call Bloody Monday, David was told that he no longer had a job—as of that day!
The natural reaction to conserve kicked in. He called to let me know this had occurred and that there would be a moratorium on spending.
My deepest concern, even more than the natural reaction of “what are we going to live on?” was how my sons would perceive God, what would they think of him when the church that claims to love and obey him was so callous? Would they be able to separate the two? Would this shipwreck their faith? I pondered this for a couple of days.
Meanwhile, I realized I had made commitments, which I felt would have to be fulfilled, regardless. The first of these promises was a batch of cookies. These had to be made and taken to the kindergarten class to celebrate Michael’s 6th birthday. They were going to be Veggie Tale cookies. I already had the cookie cutters: Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber and budgeted for the baking ingredients. I also told Michael that I would get a lemon cake mix per his request, and bake it for his special day which would be on that Wednesday. While shopping for the cookie ingredients and cake mix, I remembered that I actually had a yellow cake mix at home already! I had to honor David’s wishes—no extra spending! Yikes!!! Although I felt in good conscience about spending for the cookies to give away, I didn’t feel as free to buy another cake mix—a lemon cake mix—when I had a perfectly good yellow cake mix at home. I would just have to explain it to Michael—he would understand, after all he would be 6 years old! When I broke the news to him he accepted it like a little man! Phew!
It was now Wednesday, January 8, Michael’s birthday. I started to bake that yellow but decidedly very un-lemon cake! First, however, I would need to get my mixer blades back from my neighbor, Laura, who had borrowed them some time ago. I called that morning to say that I was baking that afternoon (I did not tell her why or what) and could I pick up my mixer blades? I went over later and she handed me a grocery bag with some movies she’d borrowed, the mixer blades and since she’d been feeling guilty for keeping my stuff for so long, she threw in something from her pantry…a lemon cake mix! I remember pulling that out and giving it to Michael, he began running around the house shouting--“How did she know?! How did she know?!” I just answered, “God knew!” Right there beside me were my other two sons, Andrew and Nate. They were seeing this miracle, knowing that no matter what or who brought us to such a difficult place that God did not forsake us and beyond that, cared for a little boy to the fine detail of the flavor of his birthday cake. I determined from then on that Michael would always have a lemon cake on his birthday and that we would remember that God cares for us personally. He cared for my sons. I’ll ever praise him (Psalm 146:2) and let this be a reminder that it is my job to obey—He will provide!
Today, then, I’m baking what might just be the last lemon cake; after all Michael said recently now that he’s all grown (18 years old) this should be the last lemon cake—I didn’t promise anything!
(Welcome guest blogger, Helen Jones, wife of Dr. David Jones, Pastor of Village Church, Barrington, IL!)