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As a single mom raising five kids, age 10 and under, including two sets of twins, the days and nights of sacrifice are long, emotionally draining, and lonely. The depleted love tank shows “E” on the gauge, but still finds some drops to give. My children are the motivation to keep moving, striving, living, and loving while on a mission to model their hearts into God-loving individuals.

On my 45th birthday my children present me with a cake. The youngest children had spent hours baking, crafting, and decorating it the night before to surprise me the morning of my birthday.

The cake was dark red from an overabundance of red food coloring. The edges were loose and crumbly as if they were modeled together by hand. It was lumpy and uneven. The surface of the cake had a collection of cheap store-bought candles and a few straight white twisted candles, probably left over from the last birthday party. The center of the cake had two jiggly eyes that were found around the house and added to the cake for decoration.

When presented with this cake, my heart melted. My children looked at my eyes for a sign of disappointment, happiness, or approval for all of their hard work.

With big tears in my eyes, I smiled and said, “This cake is beautiful. I absolutely love it.” The children went on to tell me that they were sorry that the cake did not turn out how cakes were supposed to — its lack of a perfect shape, smooth edges, and precisely placed decorations.

“No, no,” I said in the midst of their apologies. “You spent time creating a cake just for me out of love. That makes this a beautiful cake that no one else can reproduce. You made me a signature cake crafted from your heart.”

When I look at this cake, I see love, dedication, creativity, problem-solving, teamwork, excitement, and learning. I see on display all the skills that I have tried to pour into my children over the years.

“What should we name this cake?” one of the children spoke up to ask. “Should we call it Mr. Crab? Should we call it the meatloaf cake?”

“I don’t care what we name it,” I say. “I just feel so special that you poured your heart into making me something special that made me feel loved.”

Often our lives don’t turn out like we had planned, similar to the cake my children made. It didn’t look like the classic picture of a store-bought birthday cake with smooth edges and perfectly placed decorations. The bakers of this cake took what they had and made something unique and beautiful just for me.

God can do the same with our lives. God can take the heartaches, brokenness, struggles, and hurts and create a masterpiece unexpected to us. The journey or the baking, can require long hours, but the result is something unique, crafted with love, perfect in the eyes of the beloved. For that, I am grateful! Just like this mother, looking at her cake with satisfaction and love, God looks at his creations with satisfaction and love.

Angila Moffitt

Angila Moffitt teaches in Education Department at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.


  • Gloria McCanna says:

    Thank you.

  • Don Tamminga says:

    Cool! Thanks

  • Dale Cooper says:

    What a gift: the cake to you, and your words to me.

  • Jan Dykgraaf says:

    Thanks for your timely insight. It’s our daughter’s birthday today. Your article is an apt reminder that our kids, too, may not have turned out exactly as we had dreamed them to be, after pouring ourselves into them with love, always love, detailed attention and every good teaching at our disposal. Yet, they have grown into their own unique, beautiful selves – unlike any other. Each one is messy, treasured, held deep in our hearts and dearly loved – very much like your one-of-a-kind birthday cake!

  • Scott Hoezee says:

    Just lovely. Thank you!

  • Julie Elliott says:

    This is beautiful, Angila. Thank you.

  • Amy Elswick says:

    Oh my gosh Angie! Tears! That is absolutely beautiful and very well stated, things are many times what we don’t expect but they are perfectly how they are supposed to be. Absolutely love this❤️

  • Linda Zehr says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and the lesson in it God has for all of us. Such a gift you have in sharing your heart and encouraging others.

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