A few months ago, I decided to surprise my friend with her favourite cake for her birthday. Because of her nut allergy, she can rarely eat a store-bought cake for fear of contamination and an allergic reaction, so I thought she might appreciate a risk-free variety. I am known for my delicious and decadent mocha torte. Four layers of light-as-air sponge cake laced with expresso and cocoa all smothered in chocolate whipped cream. A very eye and palate pleasing combination.
I have made this cake successfully dozens of times, but this day it was a complete disaster! Epic failure! The normally light and airy cake layers came out of the oven sunken and soggy. The cakes broke off in chunks as I tried to release them from the pans.
I was disappointed and frustrated. I had wanted to show my friend that I cared, I remembered, and that I had heard her desires. I had no time for a do-over.
I took the broken pieces, folded them into the chocolate whipped cream (to which, by the way, I had forgotten to add the sugar!), put it into my beautiful crystal bowl and took it to my friend anyways. Since “deconstructed” is a term used in trendy foodie places of late, I decided that is how I would reframe my epic fail. I presented my friend with a “deconstructed mocha torte”.
And do you know the beautiful thing? Everyone who tried it loved it and my friend was grateful. The message of my love and care for my friend was not diminished because my cake was imperfect.
I so often struggle with the false belief that my service to God or others has to be perfect in order to be acceptable. This experience was a reminder of how God can take the broken pieces of our attempts and still use them to bless others. Maybe, in fact, these are the best kind of offerings we can make; when they are full of our humanity and our brokenness but also full of love.
Here’s to embracing who we are in this moment, and offering ourselves to God and others as an imperfect offering.