My Great Brownie Debacle
Lysa TerKeurst

"For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity." Proverbs 24:16 (NIV)

Rewarding. That's what this particular day was supposed to be, my shining-star day at my kids' school. Finally, I was going to get the "Really Good Mommy Award."

Not that this is an official award on a frame-worthy piece of fine linen paper. It is not. It's just a feeling—that feeling of getting a thumbs-up and acceptance nod that you are in fact doing an okay job as a mom.

I had volunteered to make 100 individually wrapped homemade brownies. And I was going to be completely fancy and use the turtle brownie mix that comes in a box. That's as close to homemade as I get.

After baking all those brownies and allowing them to cool, I cut and lifted each one into the safety of its own little baggie and recruited my daughters to help me finish up. We bagged up brownies 95, 96, 97, and then a disaster of epic proportions occurred.


These turtle brownies had nuts in them. Lots of nuts. And there I was standing over individually wrapped brownie number 97 listening to my daughter's reminder that our school is, in fact, a peanut-free school.

My arms started flailing about as if to gather the pieces of my scattered brain and tuck everything back into place. I sent the kids out of the room and ate brownies 98, 99, and 100.

No shining star. No Really Good Mommy Award. No happy, proud kids elated with their mom's efforts.

I spent the rest of the day trying to process this great brownie failure. I saw it as a debacle that defined my motherhood journey. Grand visions that led to big messes that led to unmet expectations that heaped more and more guilt on my already slightly fragile motherhood psyche.

And that's exactly where Satan would have loved for me to stay. That's his daily goal, actually. If Satan can use our everyday experiences, both big and small, to cripple our true identity, then he renders God's people totally ineffective for the kingdom of Christ.

These were brownies for a school bake sale. And these brownies had somehow knocked me to the ground. I didn't want to smile. I didn't want to be kind. I didn't want to be a disciple for Christ that day. Ever been there?

Satan wants us to entertain a very dangerous thought: "Why doesn't Jesus work for me?" This is never the right question. Instead, when circumstances shift and we feel like we fall short, we should ask, "How can I see Jesus even in this?"

The only way I can ask myself this question is when I pull back from whatever situation I'm facing and separate my circumstance from my identity.

Now let's state what is true. Despite my feelings, my identity stayed the same. I am a loving mom. I am a giving person. I am a woman who takes her responsibilities seriously. I am a daughter of the King.

All of this is true despite my failures. So, though I have a whole mess of extra brownies with nuts laying around and the school won't have any brownies for the bake sale today, this mishap doesn't define me. The only thing this means is I need to read the bake sale instruction sheet a little more closely next time.

That's it. It's simply a call to action not a call to condemnation. And did you notice the response of the righteous man in the key verse above? Though he fell time and again, he kept getting up. May we do the very same thing.

Dear Lord, help me separate my circumstances from my identity. Help me only determine my worth by Your truth and not my performance in any situation. Thank You for looking at me not as I am, but how Jesus has enabled me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog to register to win 4 copies of her new book “Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl” which will help you apply God’s truths to your everyday situations.

This devotion was excerpted from Lysa’s soon to be released book, “Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.” To pre-order your copy, click here.

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Write down a failure you've experienced lately. What is a truth from God's Word that can help you? Write down 2-3 verses you find particularly encouraging in your area of struggle.

Have I let a failure define my worth lately? How might I separate my identity from my circumstance?

Power Verses:
Romans 9:15-16, "'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." (NIV)

Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (NIV)

© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good devotion. Right on time for me. Thanks!

Blogger Unknown said...

This is so relevant to me. At times I can be the most confident person in the world, and at other times, the most insecure - when I think about my failures. Thanks for the reminder to take my failures in stride and remember that I'm still the same person. My failures are a call to action, not to condemnation. Thanks for that as well. God bless!

Blogger Joanna said...

What a great devotion, Lysa! I know we can all relate. It's funny, because Satan starts to undermine us in that manner at a very young age. I remember a time when I was in junior high and one of the popular girls pressed her knee against the underside of her desk only to get a big wad of gum stuck to her pant leg. Upon realizing it she said "Man, this type of thing ALWAYS happens to me". That was a revelation to me because that type of thing always happened to ME! To hear that others had similar experiences was not something that had previously occurred to me. Now I realize that prayer is the only answer to these feelings. Thanks so much for your very relatable devotion today!

Blogger Unknown said...

This is exactly what Satan wants--to take what we see as a failure in the day and for us to stay there the rest of the day. Thank you for reminding us that this isn't what God would want us to do. We need to pick up the pieces and move forward and not let "little" things ruin our day.

Blogger Tara said...

This post was perfect for me today. I dropped the ball at work yesterday and upon logging on this morning there were many critical emails waiting to greet me. Of course my natural reaction was to condemn myself but then I told myself that I'm human and I can learn from my mistakes. I couldn't believe the post today was just for me :) God never ceases to amaze me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a perfect timing that reminds me of psalm 34:1

the enemy will use anything to disable us, but he can't and he will never be able to disable the Lord's will for our life when we praise and bless the Lord at all times no matter what the devil brings into our life.

the Lord's will prevail!

i choose to praise the Lord rather than worry about how much the devil wants me to fail to worship God with all my heart, body, mind and soul.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent devo! It has taken me a long time to understand that how I feel and how I am are not always the same.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like that anon 3:03 PM! LOL :D

Anonymous Karla said...

Thanks for this timely reminder. Good word!

Blogger Becky said...

Can sooo relate to this great brownie debacle and the feelings of failure. Also learning that my feelings do not always represent the truth!

Anonymous Jessica said...

Very good devotion. Now I am really craving a turtle brownie. : - )

Anonymous Le'Kisha said...

Whew Lysa, this really hit home for me in two ways. One is that I understand that this is an area that Satan used to have a ball with me on and secondly after much warfare and determining to "Bring It To Him" (Marybeth Whalen), I have to constantly fight to walk in the truth of God's word. This is my first week on the website and I must say that God has met me everyday in some way. Your devotion spoke to a direct battle that I started having on Monday as it relates to self condemnation. It was not until my husband said on Thursday morning that I had not been myself this week, that I had to stop and do a self check. It started seeping out and I had to do a self evaluation and this was before I read "Your Great Brownie Debacle". All I have to say is that God spoke to me through you!! May God continue to bless you and your book and may you speak to the nations!!

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