October 2016: There’s a Time to Eat Cake


Recently, I had to have a fairly major surgery done. Apparently, my body thought it was a good idea to grow a tumor right up against my ocular nerve. Not cool, body; NOT COOL. I was given several weeks to convalesce at home, and while I had envisioned myself relaxing on the couch, watching TV and reading through the stack of books I’ve collected over the last few years, I was dismayed when I realized that I could do almost nothing after my surgery. My vision was so blurred that I couldn’t read, I couldn’t do puzzles, I couldn’t watch TV….My best option was to sit in my house with the lights off and listen to podcasts. Fun times.

The one thing I could do with great finesse and flair was eat the myriad of desserts that thoughtful friends brought to my house. I could skillfully consume any of the delicious cakes, cookies and peach cobblers that made their way into my kitchen. No dessert felt unloved or abandoned in my house. And yes, each one made me happy in a blissful, non-guilty, sugar-coma kind of way (Of course, it’s all fun and games until your pants don’t fit). My frosting-coated point is this…there is a season for all things. My fuzzy-visioned weeks at home were a time for rest, recovery and comfort food.

Rewind to one year ago, and things looked very different. I was in a season of pushing my limits and competing in a sprint triathlon. I was eating healthy and working out every day. Today, I find myself in an uncertain season of rebuilding my strength and inching back towards the active lifestyle I remember as “normal.” Things change. Life shifts, often, and quite unexpectedly.

And though all of that can be said for seasons of physical health, the same can also be said for spiritual health (and emotional health…and mental health…). There are times when we dive deep into our Bible studies, soaking up the Word, learning new truths every day and basking in our growing relationship with Jesus. We spend time in prayer, encourage others around us, take meals to friends, and run strong toward the finish line proudly sporting t-shirts emblazoned with spiritual slogans like “Running for Jesus.” Life is good, and we enjoy our time on the mountain top.


Then there are the OTHER times. Times when life gets a little (or a lot) crazy, and a disjointed prayer as we run to the car is about all we can manage. Our faith is there, but buried somewhere in the jumbled mess of life and laundry, and it’s hard to hear God’s still, small voice through the 2:00 a.m. baby cries, the diagnosis, or the caretaker roll that you’ve found yourself in.

Sometimes when we’re pulling away from our prayer time or neglecting to spend time with our Bible, it’s time to re-evaluate our priorities and remember out First Love. Sometimes, we let overfilled schedules, nagging fears, unresolved anger, or just plain busyness replace our time with God.  Sometimes we need to seriously reevaluate our priorities.

BUT, sometimes we have to recognize that what we’re going through is out of our control. It’s a new season…and that’s okay. To the mama with a newborn baby, to the wife of the deployed husband, to the woman who just found out she has cancer, to the daughter who’s taking care of an aging parent….give yourself grace upon grace. Sometimes you can’t commit to the intense Beth Moore Bible study, or the weekly prayer committee. Sometimes you can’t encourage others because you’re barely keeping your own head above water. Sometimes you can barely get out of bed in the morning.

Please remember, sweet sister, God isn’t mad at you because you didn’t read your Bible today. God isn’t disappointed because you didn’t change out of your pajamas and your prayer life is almost non-existent. God loves you–desperately. He wants a relationship with you. He wants you to spend time in prayer with Him, worshipping Him and spending time in His Word. Those are His gifts to you that let you know Him in a deeply personal way. But there are seasons for everything. There are seasons to run hard towards the goal and diligently seek the kingdom, and there are seasons of just surviving, trusting in God to get you through the hardest seasons of life. Whatever season you’re in–God has placed you there and God hasn’t forgotten you. His love for you is as strong today as it was 5 years ago, and as strong as it will be 10 years from now. So whether you’re able spend time with God daily in a dedicated quiet time, or you’re whispering desperate prayers between diaper changes or doctor’s visits, cling to the hope He gives. Cling to his unending, unfailing love for you. And remember that there is a season for everything.  Yes, even cake.


erika patterson