Mercy Cakes

The faithful love of the Lord never

Oh, mercy.

I don’t deserve it. None of us do. I thank my sweet Lord for the truth of this scripture  ….. because otherwise, I’d be in quite the predicament. Wouldn’t we all?!

It’s difficult to extend mercy without having been shown mercy, isn’t it? Once we grasp the magnitude of what mercy is and the incredible depth of its beauty, we can then serve it to others around us. Yep, even to those who don’t deserve it. Do I deserve it? Nope.

Can you picture me as Little Red Riding Hood, skipping along with a basket, passing out mini cakes of mercy? Where God and others fill my basket as they show me mercy for my wrongdoings & failures?

Let’s not be fooled. It’s nothing like that! In real life, I can be pretty stingy with my dessert… and my mercy.

I’ve been hurt by people who were supposed to love and care for me.

“It’s taken years, but, here… have a mercy cake.”

I’ve been let down by friends who were supposed to support me. I’m a pastor’s wife…. I’ve. been. hurt.

“Here’s one for you, and for you…”

People in general can be rude… RUDE and MEAN! It’s haaaaard to slap a smile on your face and hand out mercy cakes to mean people, am I right? But again, who am I?! So…..

“What flavor would you like?”

Sometimes, we’re the ones denying ourselves mercy… life isn’t always easy, is it? It’s okay to take from this basket.

I’ve treated my God pretty poorly in various chapters of my life, and yet He still sees me worthy of HIS mercies… which are new and beautiful, and undeserving every. single. day. How can I not serve mercy to those around me, when He so graciously serves it to me, especially when I don’t deserve it? But let’s be real, we all need a reminder every so often, right?

On top of the outside forces, I’m a wife, and a mom. Hellooooooo, mercy! My husband and I inadvertently decided that a cheap-carnival-ride-like marriage would be fun for the first several years. Not so much. Mercy, from God, and from one another to one another, helped us get off that jenky roller coaster and into our 16th year of marriage.

Now, kids…. OH, MERCY! These kids will have me baking mercy cakes for yearrrrrrrrrrs.

For this girl who fantasized about her violin-playing, pigtailed & perfectly coiffed children for years before actually becoming a mother, the moment that my first daughter was born was life-altering and fantasy-shattering. That crazy-haired beauty stole my heart… and my sanity… all in an instant.

Chloe proved to be everything that my former parenthood fantasies were not. And she was really good at it, from day one. And from there, she learned to become even better at it.

She’s thirteen (and a half), and is a gorgeous girl, with a gorgeous heart, and a spunky, strong-willed attitude. I’ve always said that God gave her those attributes for His purpose, and we’ve already seen their benefits as she encountered middle school. However, we have had to cope with and shape that over the years.

When I started reading about “shaping her strong will” in Dr. Dobson’s “The Strong-Willed Child,” I wanted to throw in the towel. Nope… too hard… I can’t do it.

After the first several years of failing as a mother to properly “shape” this child, who was dramatically different than myself, I finally caught on to the key: Mercy. (and prayers….. lots and lots and lots and lots of prayers)

In order to teach her mercy, I had to show her mercy. Which was something that I never dealt with in my perfect-little-family-fantasies (because in those, we were all perfect, of course).

If you’ve ever raised a strong-willed child, then you know… IT’S STINKING HARD!

Give this sassy little monkey a mercy cake when she’s just been grounded from dessert?! Psshhh!”

I’m almost certain the moment Chloe truly grasped mercy was on an evening just a few years ago. The whole fam was in the back yard. Chloe, our son Jax, and my husband were playing wall-ball. Our youngest daughter, Avary (who was barely four at the time) sat on my lap as we watched from the porch.

At some point, Avary asked me to feel her legs. Figuring she was chilly, I began to rub my hands briskly on her legs. Caught somewhere between the game in the yard and our conversation on the porch, I vaguely heard Avary ask me if her legs were smooth. “Mmmhmm,” I answered. She asked again. “Yep.” And then came, “I knoooooow! They feel so smooth because Chloe shaved them for me in the shower yesterday-night.” “Oh yeah, nice. . . . . . . wait. . . . . WHAT?” I had her repeat it, to make sure I wasn’t hearing things… or in a really bad dream. “WHATTTTTTTT?!?!?!”

Now understand, in this moment, Jesus was with me. He was right there, and He grabbed my hand, and He placed His index finger over my lips, even though He knows I don’t like that… and He held me back. It had to be Him. Because that’s the only explanation for why I didn’t come completely unglued. Like, for real… eyes popping out, flailing arms, weeping, gnashing of teeth… the whole nine.

This was my four year old babyyyyyyyy!!! Did Chloe not understand that I was trying to hold on to every ounce of innocence that I had left with this wee one?! The following minutes were blurry. I remember breathing slowly. My husband could see that even Jesus was having a hard time holding the reigns, so he sent me to my room first. Once the coast was clear, he sent Chloe to hers.

Well, guess who was waiting for me in my bedroom, with a gentle reminder of what He’d done for me time after time?

Yep… Jesus.

I’m pretty certain that my precious Chloe was convinced she’d never see the light of day again when I knocked on her door, a good thirty minutes later. And only my Heavenly Father could have orchestrated the beauty that took place in her room that night.

“And the sweetest of mercy cakes for you, precious baby girl.”

My perspective shifts drastically when I envision God as my Daddy, and myself as his little girl. A little girl who has stumbled a bit as she learns to navigate this place called Life. And when that shift in perspective happens, it feels much easier to accept the beautiful kisses of mercy that He lavishes upon me each morning.

Not only that, but it becomes easier (and lovely, even) to turn around and serve mercies to my brothers and sisters in Christ, who deserve a share just as greatly as I. Because really, the truth is, none of us deserve God’s mercy. And yet, there He stands, with his basket…

“Here’s one for you… and another for you, and you, and you…”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

Matthew 5:7

~Crystal Sunshine

{ I’m honored to be gathered around the table with Suzie Eller and friends for her #livefreeThursday convo. Visit her blog at and join this community of brave women who are coming together to live free! }



12 thoughts on “Mercy Cakes

  1. Have mercy! 🙂 I can’t hear “mercy” without thining of John Stamos saying that. I love what you say about not being able to give what we don’t have. My mercy tank needs to be continually filled and I’m so thankful for a new helping of it each day. Bring on the cake!! #livefreeThursday

  2. I chuckled out loud as I read this, Crystal! My little girl is now 24 and sometimes I still face the challenge of being mom to a strong-willed daughter! Your words paint pictures of precious reminders of God’s never-ending, always unearned mercies. It’s great to connect with you through #livefreethursday and I look forward to reading more wonderful words from you! God bless you!

  3. Mercy cakes…love it! ” And when that shift in perspective happens, it feels much easier to accept the beautiful kisses of mercy that He lavishes upon me each morning.” That perspective shift is so needed, quite often in this motherhood gig, isn’t it? Thanks for this beautiful reminder today! So glad to meet you through #livefreeThursday!

  4. Love this!! Totally can relate to your strong willed, sassy girl battles. My strong willed girl is 19 now and is my great joy. She still has to do things the hard way sometimes, but she is strong, resilient, compassionate and a natural leader. Finding the balance between celebrating and “shaping” that strong personality is a journey! Blessings to you. Keep writing, friend!

  5. Great metaphor for extending mercy: handing out mercy cakes. I have a strong-willed girl too, and it is a challenge to be merciful. Dr. Dobson worked great with my son, but with my daughter? Not so much. But we’re all growing!

  6. Love this post. Real life parenting is a lot messier than the picture in my head. It’s hard to give mercy continuously. My youngest is strong willed too- it’s hard to be grateful for that in some moments.

  7. God bless you, sweet Crystal … as you serve flavor-chosen mercy cakes to everyone around you … especially your precious daughter! (I have a strong-willed one, too … sheesh! takes a lot of patience and humility to offer mercy … but I’m learning right along with you!) *hugs* Dianne

  8. I love the description of mercy cakes. I need a truckload of them. My oldest daughter is a strong willed Chloe as well! Just had to share. Thank you for a visual I can carry with me tomorrow.

  9. Showing mercy, showing restraint, being gracious… you’ve painted a perfect picture, and God does the same thing to us all, gosh I know He must with me, lol.
    I’ve loved reading your blog, Crystal, so glad to have connected!

  10. What an amazing picture you paint of mercy cakes! I have my own strong-willed child. By the grace of God she has lived to see her late thirties and has been blessed with her own strong-willed child. Mercy is one of my favorite topics in Scripture. Thanks for your beautiful post. I love your writing! #LiveFree

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