I have the immense pleasure of introducing Christian author Staci Stallings! I met Stacy in a wonderful writer group I belong to, and I am very happy to have her on my blog today!
I remember that day so very well. I was young – four or five. We did something unusual that day, unusual for my house at least. We made cupcakes. With my mom helping out on our family owned and operated dairy, there wasn’t much time for cupcake-baking. But that day, for whatever reason, we made cupcakes.
At that point in time my grandfather, who later lost his sight to diabetes, could still see. Also at that time he had several horses only a quarter-mile from our house. That day my grandpa happened to be out with the horses, and one of us, my mom or me, decided that I should take him a cupcake.
Now from the time I was small, missions were very important to me. I held my responsibilities in very high regard. I didn’t want to simply do things – I wanted to do them perfectly. So I set out, barefoot, from my house, cupcake in hand, bound for the pen where my grandpa was working.
However, when I got there, I found a huge problem for a little girl with a cupcake in her hand – the fence that separated me from Grandpa’s side. There was a gate connecting the fence. It was an old gray aluminum number with about four horizontal slats held together with one long diagonal slat. At five or so feet tall, it was a monster.
Worse, whatever held it upright didn’t hold it steady. So the gate swayed dangerously top down with any pressure applied to it. For little me, that gate presented a big problem. I wasn’t big enough to open it. I couldn’t yell loud enough for Grandpa to hear me. So as I surveyed the situation in my little mind, I decided my only option was to climb the thing.
I only hope that now I would be smart enough to set the cupcake through the gate before I started climbing. Unfortunately, I didn’t think that far ahead that day. Instead, cupcake in hand, I started climbing.
The journey was going pretty well until I got to the top. As I hiked my first let over the top slat, I ran out of hands to keep me stable just as the gate swayed the other direction. I remember Grandpa yelling for me to stop and wait. I remember saying something like, “Grandpa, look! I brought you a cupcake.”
The next thing I remember is hitting the hard ground on the other side with a body-whacking thud. The next thing I remember is seeing the cupcake smashed into a flat, chocolate mud pie next to me. Grandpa made it to me about ten seconds after I hit the ground. I was absolutely hysterical. He picked me up and held me, telling me it would be okay and asking if I was hurt.
All I could think was I had smashed the cupcake. His cupcake. I had failed the mission. I had let him down.
It took me many long years to learn the lesson of that day. The truth was: He didn’t care about the stupid cupcake. He cared about me.
I learned this only when I realized that is exactly how God is with us. We’re all so worried about the cupcakes we’ve made and are bringing to Him – like our accomplishments and our good deeds and our ministries. But the reality is He doesn’t care about our cupcakes – He cares about us! And it really doesn’t matter to Him if our cupcakes get smashed along the way or if they were ever perfect in the first place. All He cares about is being able to hold us so He can ask what’s wrong, where are we hurt, and being able to hold us until we’re all better.
It took me a long time to be grateful for falling over that gate, but now that I see the lesson, those cupcakes, those missions, and being perfect don’t seem nearly as important. What’s important, all that’s important, is He loves me. Everything else is cupcakes, and He doesn’t care about the cupcakes.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2005
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