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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gingerbread Lessons

Recently, I created a gingerbread church from scratch, with stained glass candy windows and a roof of candy shingles.

Since this was my first attempt, I gathered tips from experienced bakers and researched blueprints in order to prevent catastrophes. Even so, when I assembled the sections, I found odd structural problems.

None of the research advised that when your cookie sheet goes “boing” in the oven, your walls may warp, turning your creation into a wonky funhouse instead of a sweet fairy tale cottage.

I added candy to detract from the problem but only felt dissatisfied. I considered placing a gift-laden sleigh on the bowed roof to imply the cause of its sinking, but I knew that camouflaging the flaws only compromised the integrity of gingerbread baking principles. (I’m serious about this stuff!)

So I heated a knife in a candle flame and painstakingly cut through the thick royal icing, removing one section at a time to begin again.

After reassembling it with truly flat pieces, I added ribbon candy, peppermints, gumdrops and dripping icicles, which I then enjoyed with a clear conscience—no artful deceptions on my church!

My experience made me think about how real homes and churches get off-kilter, literally and figuratively, when they’re built on shifting ground or with compromises in integrity.

Sometimes couples try to candy coat flawed relationships by buying more stuff, as if to say, “How could our marriage be bad? We have worked together to purchase a great house, take tropical vacations, fill a four-car garage and enjoy lavish Christmases.”

But if there are foundational flaws, the sugar frosting belies the funhouse incongruity in their hearts.

My parents, celebrating 66 years of marriage on the 14th, built my childhood home on a foundation of faith in Christ, and my brothers and I enjoyed the sweetness of a loving home as a result.

There weren’t a lot of Dr. Phils or premarital counselors in 1942, and I’m sure there were bumps and cracks along the way, but they have always painstakingly sacrificed whatever it took to stay true to their vows and to God, their foundation.

No family is perfect, and I’ve learned through gingerbread baking that perfection is not the goal. I now embrace small glitches which prove my gingerbread wasn’t stamped out in a factory but rolled out by my hands.

However, I’m grateful to know that when my marriage or my individual life shows signs of cracking or warping, I can bring the pieces to God, who straightens crooked hearts and rights wrong thinking.

And that is the good news of this season—through the events of the first Christmas, God provided a Way to re-build, restore and renew our relationship with Him and with each other. Those are indeed good tidings of great comfort, and great joy.

Isaiah 28:16
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed."

2 Timothy 2:19a: Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his."

Questions to think about:

1. Is there a fissure or skewed place in your heart or marriage that you would like God to mend or heal?

2. Are you able to accept the glitches in this season such as a less-than perfectly neat house and a tighter budget in perspective of the tidings of great joy which is available to each of us?

3. Consider sharing the differences between flawed foundations and lesser imperfections with your children as you bake this season to help them embrace individuality while learning that God's basic plan for our lives is the best foundation--all the rest is frosting!



Please visit Linda Crow at her personal blog:

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10 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

Such a wonderful post, bless you for sharing.

December 14, 2008 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Dukes Lee said...

Your message was part of our "at-home" church service this morning. Our church was canceled this morning, due to icy roads. I love our little country church here in northwest Iowa -- flaws and all. Thanks for the reminders, though, that we need to make sure we're building on a firm foundation.

December 14, 2008 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Mary Moss said...

Your questions are right on target! We host a Christmas Eve open house every year. This year my carpets won't be cleaned, my kitchen floor really needed to be replaced (about 2 years ago!) and almost nothing will be perfect this year--except--the love and friendship and pleasure of each others' company.

December 14, 2008 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger Esthermay said...

Excellent parallel here.
My pans go "boing" all the time. The ones in the oven and the ones in my life too!
:-)

". . . Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it."
~ Psalm 127:1

Great Devotion, Linda!

December 14, 2008 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger A Gracious Home said...

I enjoyed your post. I have been married 44 years. My husband and I don't mind each others faults. We are comfortable with one another. My four yr old granddaughter, Adi, and I made a gingerbread house last Friday night. She got sidetracked by tasting all the good stuff we were building from. I'm so proud of our little house because we made it together. That is how I have always been about my home. There are a lot of walls that need painting and things that need mending but the foundation has always been based on Jesus. I'm so proud of my home and family that my husband and have made. Doylene

December 14, 2008 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger pcb said...

I'm glad to know that others are reflecting on and incorporating not sweating the small stuff. I love the picture of your parents. Mine just celebrated their 57th anniversary.

December 14, 2008 at 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Jenn Calling Home said...

What a wonderful post this morning. Thank you!

December 15, 2008 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

"...I can bring the pieces to God, who straightens crooked hearts and rights wrong thinking."

I believe that this may be His most wonderful of miracles... the healing of the human heart and mind!

Awesome word - as usual!

Darnelle

December 15, 2008 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

This is an incredible message, and one that encouraged me greatly today. Thank you.

December 15, 2008 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Oh, this was great!!

Congrats on your parents anniversary.

Blessings♥

December 15, 2008 at 8:49 PM  

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