The afternoon ended with me seeing how much I disliked crappy cake, but how often I ate it.
I know, I know. Weird topic for women facing betrayal right. Well, not really. Let me start from the beginning.
My husband and I had been married for eight years. We were parents to three babies and our youngest was three months old. Life was a ball of transition and stress. We moved into a new house, learned that my husband was loosing his job within months and welcomed a new baby home all within weeks of each other. We were now outnumbered by our kids and transitioning into all sorts of NEW.
In the middle of this transition my husband stepped away from all means of support, encouragement and truth. He curled up inside and decided to cope in his own way – the way that had been poorly serving him since he was about 10 years old. The way that pretended to let him escape, offer him false happiness yet stole parts of his soul while he lay in these “comas.” Porn.
My husband had relapsed into an addiction he had intentionally fought for five years. His relapse resulted in us separating for a period of time in order for both of us to reset and really seek what was next for us. Let me assure you this was NOT a choice I wanted to make. Not given our season, our circumstances and my exhaustion. I also assure you that he did NOT want this either but we had made an agreement years earlier that this would be our game plan and I was determined to trust God’s timing and stick to it.
So there I was. A woman in her mid 30s, three small kiddos, a husband returning back to his vomit (Proverbs 26:11) and an enemy that prowls like a lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
On this particular morning, I was getting ready to take a shower while the baby took his morning nap. As I stood in the bathroom waiting for the water to warm up, I caught my reflection in the mirror. Immediately I began to do what I suspect all women do. I started surveying “the land.” I started with my hair and mentally beat myself up for it falling out. I looked at the discoloration of my skin from stretchmarks and motherhood. I looked at my stomach and could see the neglect from emotional eating. As the visual surveying begin the voices kicked into high gear.
If you wouldn’t have...
If you wouldn’t have had those babies so close together and got that baby weight off your husband would have never done this.
If you would have been less tired and up at night nursing, he would not have done this.
If you wouldn’t have asked him to take the midnight feedings that resulted in him being tired and “off his game” this would have never happened.
If you wouldn’t have….
The narrative went on and on.
I suspect you can relate to this moment.. When I share this story with women in our ministry there is a resounding…YES! I’m asked, “how did you get into my head?” I laugh because I have discovered that the devil isn’t that creative. I also cry because I know we are all suffering inside and unsure how to take these thoughts captive like the word of God asks of us. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
So back to the scene. As I stood there for another moment and looked at my lost and broken face with disgust and shame I heard another voice whisper,
Ah, ah ah, Lyschel, don’t eat crappy cake.
I paused and scrunched my face. “Huh?” I thought. There it was again.
Don’t eat crappy cake.
Now if there is anything I have learned about doing life with the Holy Spirit – it’s that when something weird happens…it’s probably Him. So I clued in.
I turned and took a step into the shower and said out loud “ok, Lord, what does ‘don’t eat crappy cake mean?”
In that moment, the Lord unpacked something that would change me forever. He met me in a place of anguish and gave me something that was so life giving. He offered me patience and kindness to teach me something about myself and life, versus scolding me for not being more spiritual, more together…more something other than I was.
This is what came of that lesson.
Have you ever eaten crappy cake before? Answer honestly? Have you? I’m going to guess you said yes.
So here is how it plays out when I eat crappy cake. I am so excited to see the piece of cake. I’m anticipating the enjoyment of it. I pick up the fork and I take the first bite. Within a few seconds I realize, oh man, this is terrible. For the record, my cake is chocolate with chocolate icing in my mind!
So once you have taken the first bite and realize the cake is terrible what do you do? Again…be honest. I will tell you. You TAKE ANOTHER BITE! I know, we all do it. Why do we take another bite? Maybe in hopes that the first one wasn’t that bad, maybe in hopes of it getting better the second time around. Who knows, but we do it.
If you are like me, you don’t stop at the second. You keep eating and before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole piece of crappy cake. You finish, you look at your plate and immediately there is a sense of regret. You think “why did I just do that?” There is regret, shame and defeat all within a few minutes.
This analogy is exactly what I did mentally with all of the “what ifs” and letting Satan have permission in my thoughts.
I had the first “if you wouldn’t have” thought. It “tasted” terrible and I felt that, but it was also familiar and I was hopeful this was going to ultimately fix or explain something. So I listened for the next one and it was another lie and serving of shame and self hate. Then the next one came and before I was in the shower I had consumed an entire piece of crappy cake!
Ugh! When will I ever learn? Oh wait, that’s why we are here. 🙂
The Lord was teaching me a really basic but powerful thing as I stood in that shower and washed my hair. He was showing me how fast I took the first bite, he also showed me that I knew that it tasted terrible. Those were wins and growth. He then showed me how fast the thinking went from the first bite to the next and then the next and then the last. I knew how I felt after eating that entire piece of crappy cake, both mentally and metaphorically.
When those thoughts started as I stood in front of that mirror, assessing the land. I had other choices in that moment. For years leading up to that moment, the Lord had been so devoted to showing me how loved I am by Him. He was committed to sharing His opinion about me all of the time. He had planted seeds of love and admiration in my soul by His word and communion with Him. There had been pre-work done leading up to this moment.
In other words, He had been working on resetting my mind for a while. He could have yelled, “you knew better Lyschel! Man, you failed, you are horrible. I did all this work in you and you still fell for it!”
And you know what….He didn’t.
He took the moment as another opportunity to remind me of His devotion, His patience, His willingness to help me learn more about myself and how I can keep growing.
So my takeaway from that crazy morning in the shower was “don’t eat crappy cake .”
I fully believe this is His character and I hope you feel that too. I pray that He makes you aware of the places your are eating crappy cake and He shows you that you have permission to put the fork down and slide the cake across the table. I pray He whispers to get your attention and you respond.
Don’t eat crappy cake, my friend…it’s terrible for you.