Once upon a time it was the first birthday of lovely little Taylor Weir (Ali's daughter). This was a very exciting day for her as she got to hang out at day care all day while her mom worked. Since Ali had to work, Sister Breen and I volunteered to make little Taylor a cake. Sister Packer was even kind enough to volunteer a cake mix she had found in her pantry recently. We mixed up that little white cake mix and decided to make it tie dye. Wahoo! It turned out beautifully. I have never made a tie dye cake that looked so good. It was bright and pretty and swirled perfectly. I wish I had taken a picture of it. After it had cooled for a while, we decided to take it out of the pan to decorate it. Seemed like a good idea--we would cover it in icing so the pretty/colorful swirly cake would be a surprise. Well, as soon as we upturned the pan the cake began falling apart. Just a little at first. The corners did not want to come out of the pan which did not seem like too big of a problem. We figured we could just paste it back together with icing and it would all be fine. Not so much the case. As we started pasting our beautiful creation continued crumbling. This cake that we thought would be so great and looked so great had turned out to be not so great. We began brainstorming on how we could still make this work. Cake balls! Yeah, that did not work. We were left with a brownish green pile of cake mush. It was then discovered that the cake mix had expired over a year ago. After a few minutes of discouragement we decided to start fresh. So, I grabbed the handy dandy Betty Crocker and started mixing. With a bit of hesitation we slid the new and less colorful cake into the oven, turned the light on and watched it like the Justin Bieber movie. We pulled it out, let it cool, and iced it. No problems. Now just had to wait to slice into that baby and find out how it would taste. The time of the birthday party came and there was joy and relief as the first bite was taken and it was discovered that the cake was indeed delicious! The baby was happy and so was everyone else.
A lot of times life can be like the first cake. Things can be going just fine and even look to be really great. But one bad ingredient (sin,temptation, trials, discouragement, spiritual apathy etc...) is included in the mix and goes ignored, everything is bound to fall apart. But just as the cake falling apart turned out to be a blessing to everyone who would have eaten cake containing expired ingredients, sometimes our lives falling apart turn out to be a blessing as well.
The Savior doesn't just try to glue us back together or smoosh us into something we are not supposed to be. He helps us to identify that bad ingredient and start fresh through his atonement. It takes work, just like making a brand new cake from scratch, but in the end we turn out to be just what he wants us to be.
I know that the atonement is very real and that our Savior can mend anything that we allow him to. I am learning this now more than ever, but I have hope that I will have a delicious cake in the end with no rotten ingredients. I know that Jesus Christ died for me specifically. He is my best friend. He can be yours too. Don't be afraid to throw that pretty but broken cake out the window and allow him to help you make a new one. I promise it will be the best decision you have ever made.
In other news, Ali was baptized on Saturday! It was beautiful. She had so many ward members there to support her and did not let her smile fade for one second. She is amazing and has been through so much and will continue to push through the refiner's fire, but she has her sights set on the temple and I know that she will not stray. We also began teaching a new investigator named Ashley this week. We are still getting to know her but she has a million and one questions and is excited and willing to learn and keep commitments. We are excited to see her progress towards baptism! I know that she will also be a wonderful kingdom builder!
This gospel is true. In the words of my dear brother, "You're not planting seeds anymore, you're there to harvest the fields." So that is what we will do.