I was four and blue was my favorite color. My grandmother Alice made me a birthday cake that year. It was a cake layered in hues of blue and more blue. The cake, icing and decorations were blue. All to remind me it was my birthday and I could have as much of any color I wanted.
A year later, we moved with our new step-dad away from Minnesota, away from my grandmother who made blue birthday cakes. It was necessary. My dad’s addiction marred our lives to the core. Jim Gilmer entered as a gift from God after those ten years. He reminded my mom that promises were still promises and joy still beckoned after years of grief.
I hadn’t thought about the blue birthday cake since. Until one night after a busy summer day. I hadn’t written for several days and decided to stay up and at least read my new writing book, Bird by Bird, by Ann Lamont. She suggested a short writing prompt. It was to describe a childhood birthday.
I remembered the blue birthday cake. It was extravagant and over the top with layers and layers of my favorite color. Who knew if anyone else would eat it? It didn’t matter. My grandmother knew I would notice it was special, tailored-made, just for me.
As I remembered that cake, the Lord spoke to me. “What happened to your blue?”
I knew what He meant. When did I give up on the extravagant, the just for me and just because? No matter what it looked like or if anyone else liked it.
I knew where it went. It went into the file of optional. I cut it out of my expectations.
But He remembered. He remembered the blue.
Even as I write this, I rush to explain that I’m a blessed lady. The Lord brings joy after joy to fill my already full heart. I want to give out of that goodness He’s poured out on me.
Still He highlighted a limitation in my heart that night. It was a smallness formed in me before I had the knowledge to reject it as a lie.
The blue isn’t optional at all. It doesn’t deplete a limitless God who loves me.
There is a process here. I offer Him my fish and loaves. It is what I have right now. He appreciates my giving. But He wants me to understand that giving enlarges me. Out of my offering, I receive a greater capacity. One that will feed multitudes. Not out of my poverty. But out of His extravagance.
So where is your blue? Keep an eye out. It hovers over our hearts with an unexpected extravagance, unique and designed with just us in mind.