I was "introduced" to Ali by a mutual friend of ours, and though I've only got to know her through her blog and a few exchanged emails, I instantly fell in love with her heart, and connected so easily with her stories. I read her post about her friend Donte and his new home and found myself crying at my desk, in awe of her compassion, and faith. Yesterday she posted an update on that topic, which once again inspires me (and makes me tear up) with its honest portrayal of what faith and disappointment look like- even when they're mired together in the "middle" of the stories God is writing in our lives. I'm honored to be able to point people towards her as an example of transparent struggles and real faith and grateful to have her share some of the lighter (but still real) side of marriage here today.
When you get married, you learn which traditions you have to keep from your spouse’s family in order to have your spouse in enjoy the holidays. For my husband, JR, Granny’s homemade cinnamon rolls and homemade apple sauce are a must.
The year we were engaged, when JR would first be spending Christmas with my family, I met secretly with Granny and other women in his family to learn how to make the cinnamon rolls and apple sauce. I surprised him Christmas morning with his special breakfast.
Two years later, we were back with my family this year for Christmas. Christmas Eve I head to the kitchen to make the rolls in order to please my husband. I want him to enjoy time with my family. I want him to appreciate the effort I make to include his traditions. I want every part of Christmas day to be perfect. Maybe you can relate? Holiday survival – keep the people happy, keep the people full.
Over the course of the hour, I work in the kitchen alone making the dough, rolling it out, and stuffing it with sugary buttery goodness. (Did I mention we were also working with a shortage of butter and had figured out how to perfectly ration it to get through Christmas day until stores could re-open the day after?) Right as I’m placing my finished work in the pan, my mom comes in and sees the yeast packet still sitting out. She asks, “Did you mean to leave out the yeast?”
Whoops. Nope. Absolutely not. Definitely wanted to have that in there.
As I’m half laughing/half crying, my husband walks in and asks, “Does this mean we aren’t going to have cinnamon rolls?” His tone wasn’t angry; it more closely resembled that of a sad little boy who didn’t receive the present for which he hoped.
I had a few options at that point. Melt down. Cry because “Christmas was ruined.” Forget the cinnamon rolls altogether. Or go to google, figure out some substitutions and start over from scratch.
The cinnamon rolls did not go according to plan. I finished the endeavor well after . The second batch had much less butter than the first. But the next morning, they were still delicious.
Sometimes my heart desires for everything to go perfectly smooth. I like everything in the proper place and everyone to be happy. But sometimes messes and mix-ups happen. I was reminded this Christmas Eve to laugh at my mistakes and shortcomings; to regroup and try again. You never know when Plan B may end up better than Plan A.
There may be some messes and mix-ups in your life right now. They may be involving bigger issues than a batch of cinnamon rolls and a holiday. But I think the same things are still true. We need to laugh at our mistakes and shortcomings. We need to dust ourselves off, regroup and try again. And we need to trust that sometimes Plan B is a way better option than Plan A was ever going to be. For me personally, a lot of times Plan A is my plan and Plan B is God’s plan. I’ve never regretted coming to Jesus in repentance and opting for Him to take control in Round Two.
I’m going to keep baking, keep living and keep embracing my messes as I go. May you be encouraged to do the same.
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