Weekend Walk: Cracking Eggs, Learning Faith

It began with the sugar cookies we made a few weeks ago.

Fall is prime baking season at our house, time to pull out our favorite recipes, now dotted with batter and splattered with sugar and flour, vanilla, and spice.

Of course, baking at our house always involves one Master Baker and three assistants, who all want to crack the eggs.

For years, I’ve declined, confining my helpers to stirring and pouring in the already measured flour.  Finally, though, I relented when we crowded around the table to make sugar cookies.  Thus I began the risky job of teaching children how to crack eggs into a bowl of ingredients without also dumping in egg shells.

One daughter daintily tapped the egg on the table, barely making the tiniest crack in the shell.  Another practically slammed her egg down on the side of the bowl.  My preschooler tried to mimic the other girls, tapping and then slamming.

Eventually, I exhaled.  I had survived the initial egg cracking and only had to dip my hand in to snatch a few shells from the batter.

Since then, we’ve baked another batch of sugar cookies, some cinnamon bread, ginger spice cookies, and a pumpkin pie and every time there is improvement and growing confidence.

I may never crack another egg open again.

As a mom, it’s so difficult at times to teach and let go, instruct and then take my hands off and let my daughters try, maybe fail, maybe succeed, but always try and try again.

But if I’m always the one cracking the eggs into the bowl, how will they ever learn?

Spiritual growth happens the same way.  God may teach us truths from His Word, but eventually we have to live them out and apply them in the dailyness of life.

“Trust Him” we read and so we must eventually trust.  “Rest in Him” we learn and so eventually we must ease our white-knuckled grip off the steering wheel and relax under His guidance.

Anything else isn’t spiritual growth at all; it’s stunted dependence and shallow faith, quickly dried up into cracked and dusty death at the slightest drought.

So, this week I’m thinking about the many ways I need to teach and let go and I’ll be meditating on a verse that reminds me how I myself am growing, little by little, sometimes via mistakes and occasionally in triumph.  But always God is patient when He has to pull out the eggshells when I’ve made a mess of things.  And gently He allows me to try again.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
(2 Peter 3:18 NIV)

You can check out some of my recipes here!  Or, you can visit the links below for some of my favorite fall baking:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

The Writing on the Wall

For those reading Lisa Harper’s book, Stumbling Into Grace, along with my small group, today’s devotional will match up with her sixth chapter: “Johnny Come Lately”


 “There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake”
(Ecclesiastes 7:20, Good News Translation).

My two-year-old created a masterpiece with a purple marker and a piece of paper.

Then she made a masterpiece on my kitchen wall.

I caught her standing back to admire her mural, giggling with pride.

Walking her back to the paper, I reminded her where art belongs without yelling or even raising the volume of my voice a decibel.  She took one look at my stern face, listened to my firm “no” and burst into truly remorseful tears.

I scooped her up to hold her, but she ran out of the room and I found her lying face down on a pillow, pouring out heavy sobs of brokenness.

All because she had made a mistake and done something wrong.  All because she wasn’t perfect and because I had to correct her.

Surely we all can shrug our shoulders and say, “We all make mistakes sometimes.”  Some of us can even get theological about it and quote “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

But then there is that moment when you need grace because it’s not “all” who sinned or “all” who made a mistake.

It’s you.

It’s me.

Please don’t tell me you missed that part of the blog where you discover I’m not perfect.  The part where I sin.  The part where I have a bad attitude sometimes.  The part where I make silly mistakes and stupid decisions and act like I’m in an I Love Lucy episode.

And every time I’m the one in need of grace, I react like my two-year-old—-run away, bury my face and sob.

Grace sounds so wonderful when you’re explaining it to someone else or extending it to another. But when you are the one who needs grace, oh, how painful it is sometimes

Grace addresses sin.  Forgiveness always requires a wrong.  Erasing always requires a mistake.  Strength always highlights weakness just like perfection always reveals imperfection.

Admitting that we need a Savior requires personalizing the message of redemptive grace.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake” (Good News Translation).

So, that means we’re doomed to imperfection sometimes?  Guaranteed to need forgiveness?  Certain of mistakes and assured of being wrong occasionally (or often)?

Yup, that’s us.  That’s you.  That’s me.

So, when we mess up, we can engage in the horrors of self-condemnation.  We can become weighed down by shame and guilt—

that we are a mess
that we’re stupid
that we’re an idiot
that we never do anything right
that we deserve whatever punishment we get
that God can’t ever use someone so broken

Or we can accept the gift extended to us by a God who specializes in forgiveness. As Emerson Eggerichs wrote, “Mistakes can’t be undone, but they can be forgiven.”

But how do we move on after a mistake?  How do we walk humbly, yet not live paralyzed by shame?  How do we serve gratefully rather than withdraw altogether, unworthy as we are? How do we let the past shape us and not destroy us?

David experienced this same struggle.  He was a godly king turned adulterer and murderer.  Faced with the magnitude of his sin, still he continued serving on the throne of Israel, still he wrote Psalms of praise to God.

It wasn’t easy.  In Psalm 51:3, he says, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”

But David acknowledged the need for grace, accepted forgiveness and moved forward in joy.

He brought to God the only acceptable sacrifice: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17).

God doesn’t desire our brokenness because He rejoices in our shame or needs our degradation.  He wants us to remember that He is God, not us.

We can begin to feel perfect, strong, capable, worthy in our own strength. But if we really are all those things, then who needs grace?  Who needs a savior?  Our worship and ministry can become tainted with self-exaltation. It becomes all about us and not at all about Him.

But when we accept grace, we acknowledge that we’re never worthy, not now, not ever.  Thomas Merton said,

“God is asking me, the unworthy, to forget my unworthiness and that of my brothers, and dare to advance in the love which has redeemed and renewed us all in God’s likeness.  And to laugh, after all, at the preposterous ideas of ‘worthiness.’ ~Thomas Merton~

Yes, we advance in His love.

We don’t need to be shamed by our sin, by our foolishness, by our scattered-brains and accident-prone clumsiness.  We should be humbled.  We are reminded that even though we are not perfect; He is.  Though we are not good enough; He is always sufficient.  Even though we are never worthy, He is worthy of all our praise.

And so we ask Him to forgive us.  We accept His grace.  And then we, like David, ask him to help us move on.

David prayed:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.   Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you”
(Psalm 51:10-13).

We pray as well, “Father, forgive us. Wash us clean.  We’re broken people, weak and mistake-prone.  Give us hearts that are confident not in our own strength, but in the power of your grace.  Restore our joy.  And allow us to minister to others even though we are unworthy.  We pray that others will want to know You because of the grace they see in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King