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All You Need Is Love (and Cake)

Description

God lavishes His love on us in limitless ways, but sometimes we neglect to notice it.

Recently, when a friend of mine got back from Africa, she sent an email detailing all of the blessings and grace she experienced during her trip. I opened the message at the end of the day, and as I was reading about a birthday party the women held for the children living in The House that GEMS Built, I misread her concluding sentence that reported: What a difference love and care make. In my mind I swapped the final r for a k and read: What a difference love and cake make. Being a lover of all things sweet, the idea resonated with me, and I easily read on.

It wasn’t until I reread the email several days later that I noticed my error. I still kind of liked my first interpretation, though, so I started thinking about, well, love…and cake.

When I was little my birthday request was usually the same: a gumball machine birthday cake. My mom let me lick the bowl as she placed each M&M “gumball” in place, and when it was time to cut the cake I got to keep the quarter from the candy-formed money slot. For a seven year old, a gumball machine birthday cake was pure, straightforward bliss.

But the simplicity of life had faded by eighth grade. A few weeks shy of 14, I approached my mom with a tearful sob lodged deep in my throat, announcing with unshakable resolve that I wasn’t going to celebrate my birthday that year. My heart ached, and the gut-wrenching pain of losing my dad a few months earlier made the idea of celebrating unbearable.

But, my friends had other ideas. They planned a surprise party for me complete with a bumblebee-shaped cake – a memento of a random and meaningless joke that somehow had the ability to send a group of eighth grade girls into hysterics. Joy seemed like an impossible mountain to me, so my friends used a cake to carry me up the first few steps and to remind me how to smile.

Since then, I’ve had all kinds of birthday cakes: cakes that reflected my hobbies, cakes decorated with poems and math problems, big cakes, small cakes, and, this year, my friends concocted a tribute to my go-to summer treat – a cake that incorporated every ingredient from my favorite flurry: ice cream, chocolate brownie chunks, peanut butter, M&Ms, and whipped cream.

When someone makes me a cake, I know it’s because they care about me; it’s a way for them to express their love. I’ve tasted love in homemade frosting and rich, chocolaty goodness.

I’ve also felt love in a hug and a soothing word. I’ve experienced it on a summer evening sitting on a front porch with friends. I’ve sensed it in a smile, a timely phone call, or one of my brother’s affectionate punches in the arm. I’ve heard it in laughter and music; crashing waves and whispered prayers. I’ve read it a note and in my favorite book. I’ve witnessed it in line at the grocery store and standing next to a friend on her wedding day. I’ve listened to its echoes in English, Spanish, Romanian, Nyanja, Bemba, German, and through the west coast accent of my dearest Californian friend.

God lavishes His love on us in limitless ways, but sometimes we neglect to notice it. Do you sense it in your life? If you don’t, try harder. I guarantee it’s there. God is love. He loves you. You. Right now. Just as you are. He loves you. Search for His love. See it, hear it, feel it, know it, and definitely take the time to stop and taste it – especially when it come in the form of cake.

 

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