What is your favorite book? Movie? Color? Band? Fast-food restaurant? Way to cook your eggs? Yes, I just asked you how you like your eggs.
So, how do you like your eggs?
When you set out to plan your day – or even your week – what is it that you want to do most? Even deeper than that – what is your dream?
I didn’t ask you what your dream is for your kids, spouse, church or work – I want to know what your dream is, and if you still even know what it is? What were you put here on earth to do?
Now, if you are struggling with coming up with answers for any of the above, know that you are not alone. Especially if you are a busy mom, knee deep in daily duties and driving demands, you are not alone.
And yes, I understand I was never a mom – but I was a very involved dad in the lives of our four kids. Every morning it was my responsibility to get them ready for school, bundle them into the car and drive them where they needed to go. And every evening after work, I focused on dedicated family time – devotions around the table, play time with them on the floor wrestling or beating them at board games (okay, sometimes I let them win!).
And for years, I had homework duty too. Yes, I understand how it feels to sit for hours after a long day at work – glued to the dinner table with a restless child night after night, year after year trying everything you can to help the one who struggles with attention-deficit-disorder grasp the importance of perseverance and learning. I understand the things that keep parents up at night, unable to sleep – concerned whether or not their children will be equipped to fulfill their dreams. These concerns and passions of parenting, marriage and relationships at church or work can be all-consuming for so long that eventually you wake up one day and realize you’ve forgotten about your dreams, passions and your destiny to fulfill. Just making it through the day is enough.
I get it. I know how it is to attend PTA meetings, school events, sporting events and church events so much that you don’t have enough energy left over to think about yourself anymore.
Only when sleeping.
Purpose? Passion? Eaten up by the daily demands of living a life well, and living a life for others. Which is good. It’s just that it is easy to forget what used to inspire you, drive you or even bring you hope.
It’s easy to forget the you in you.
So that’s why I want to remind you, my friend, that God has a destiny for you. He has a purpose and a plan for you. He has something for you that maximizes your skills, personality, experiences, passions and compassions in a way like no one else ever could.
Sure, it may not happen tomorrow. Nor will you get there by going in a straight line. This is because God sets twists and turns in all our lives that provide opportunities for us to grow, mature, be humbled, learn, develop, surrender, gain confidence and more. I call these twists and turns “detours.”
You know what a detour is. Detours are unanticipated routes that take us another way to our intended destination. It’s either a sign you come up on, a person who steers you elsewhere, or a police car with lights flashing sitting there to let you know the road you are traveling is no longer available. Inevitably, they are also a roadbump to our emotions. Because of the detour, you and I must go off the beaten path, take longer than we had wished to, and be inconvenienced more than we had hoped.
Few of us like to be stalled, for any reason. Even if it’s just someone cutting us off in traffic and forcing us to slow down. But detours are necessary if any improvement is going to be made on the paths we travel. Or if any wreck is going to be cleaned up or hazard avoided. Detours are designed for our own good on the roads of life regardless of how we view them.
Detours are a good thing that often feel bad.
This is because it is in your detour that you become developed for your destiny.
You learn patience, compassion, kindness, gratitude and all those wonderful things that empower you to fully live out your dream. You may feel that your life right now is on one ongoing detour … serving the needs of others, setting your own hopes aside. But, just like for Joseph whom God positioned from the pit to the palace, God has a plan for every moment in your life as well. Yes, even the most mundane and monotonous ones.
God is taking you straight to your destiny … in His ever-Godlike-zig-zagging-sort-of-way. So keep your eyes open as you learn to look for His hand in the midst of happenstance so that your hope remains steadfast and your heart remains full.
Article written by Tony Evans.
Our “People Who Do Good” series has been a blast and I’ve enjoyed highlighting the stories and lives of everyday heroes. This one comes to us from writer Rebecca Brittingham who traveled to Florida to find a cake-maker with a heart for the less fortunate.
When most people hear the word art, they usually think about watercolors, acrylic, mosaic and pottery. They think about artists who create elaborate images that share stories of hope and life. However, for one individual, art extends beyond the paintbrush and paint. In the heart of Fort Lauderdale, FL., Ilynn Negron creates artistic masterpieces using cake, frosting and fondant, which is a sugar crust that covers the cake before the frosting. In the same way that an artist pours his heart into his painting, Negron pours her heart into creating monumental cakes.
“When I first started, I had never baked this cake before,” Negron shared as she slathered butter cream frosting on her freshly made vanilla rum cake, a special family recipe that she had spent months perfecting.
“I never thought that I would ever bake cakes.” Negron carefully smoothed the frosted cake with the cake smoother and exclaimed, “It’s perfect.” She placed the cake in the fridge and said, “God gave me a vision and I have to be obedient.” She walked to the corner of the kitchen and gathered the blocks of colorful candied Lego pieces that she had constructed days before.
Ilynn Negron, born in Puerto Rico, immigrated to Florida when she was 15. As a Puerto Rican, her family observed many traditions. However, the one that stands out above all others is the Vanilla Rum Cake served at every birthday. “It was so moist and delicious,” Negron said as a mile-long smile stretched across her face. This family recipe left such an impact on Negron that when it was time for her to decide on a cake flavor, she had no doubt that the Vanilla Rum Cake would be the winner.
Negron firmly rolled out a piece of fondant, as if it were a piecrust, on the table. The red fondant, made from pure sugar, water and gum paste matched perfectly with the Lego piece that Negron had carefully constructed earlier that week. She continued: “It started out with a bundt cake.”
As a single mom, Negron would often look at her daughter and see how she enjoyed birthday cakes, barrettes and beautiful things. Negron shared that she would feel heartbroken at the thought that so many children, today, don’t have the luxury of enjoying something as simple as even a birthday cake. “Maybe,” she thought, “I could bake cakes for homeless children.” This is when she feels that the Lord gave her a vision to bake cakes to raise money in the fight to end human trafficking. Although it sounded like a great idea, Negron never imagined that it could really happen.
It all started last August in a small kitchen. Negron had no supplies, training or experience. She had never made a Vanilla Rum Cake before. The only thing that kept her going was a vision to help raise awareness about the injustice in the world. “God put in my heart a desire to help in the fight against human trafficking,” she said.
Negron continued rolling out the fondant. She shifted gears and said, “You have to make sure that the size of the fondant is the same as the cake.” Negron pulled out a measuring tape to make sure the dimensions of the cake and fondant matched.
As she wrapped a second layer of fondant over the Lego piece, comprised of a rice crispy treat, she looked up and said, “I didn’t think that I could do it. I didn’t think that I could make cakes.” Negron’s first cake was a simple mini bundt cake covered in a light glaze.
For the first several months, while Negron experimented with the recipe, she would donate her bundt cakes to various local ministries. She never imagined that it would extend beyond her bundt cakes.
However, in January 2012, a friend asked Negron to bake her wedding cake using fondant. Negron explained, “I freaked out. I couldn’t make a wedding cake.” Although fear of failure and incompetency gripped her heart, Negron agreed to the challenge. The next several months, inspired by her daughter, Negron taught herself the art of cake decorating using youtube.
She pressed the edges of the fondant against the Lego piece and continued: ‘This isn’t something that is natural for me, but God gave me a vision and I have to be obedient.”
With a small pause, Negron reached for the cake in the refrigerator and started decorating. She played with the Lego pieces for a few minutes. “I pray before I bake every cake because I don’t know how to put the cake together.”
Within a few minutes, Negron had a design for the cake. She carefully placed the Lego pieces on the side of the cakes and set the Lego blocks on top and wrote “Happy Birthday, Joshy.”
Negron would say that God is the artist, and she is just the vessel who holds the paintbrush in which God’s uses to paint his story. Negron brought together, a family tradition of Vanilla Rum Cake and a vision for children, giving birth to her ministry One Heart Cakes.
A year ago, Negron never have imagined that she would tell a story through baking cakes. Today, Negron bakes cakes for birthdays, parties, special occasions, and weddings. Every cake that Negron sells, she donates a portion of her profit in a fund to fight against human trafficking. Something that seemed impossible, Negron feels that God made a way. For more information about ordering a cake, check out Ilynn’s website at www.oneheartcakes.com.