Why do I always do this?

The Stupid Cupcakes

He found me lying there on the ground, spread eagle in dirty yoga pants, my back brace, and an apron. The TV sounded faint and tinny in the basement where the kids ran and hid when I started yelling.

“What happened, honey? Are you okay?” Chris rushed to my side.

“I can’t do this. Why are we doing this? I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“How many cupcakes did you make today?” he sighed.

“264. But I need 300. I miscounted. I have to make more for that damn baseball team. I promised.”

“Why did you promise to make 300 cupcakes? We can’t do that.”

“We’re doing it for ORPHANS! Because God loves orphans! Remember?! They have a crappy life and no parents and big diseases and we can’t even make cupcakes! We suck!”

He pulled me up and hugged me. “Aim. You can’t keep doing this. We don’t have an industrial kitchen. We don’t have a staff. We have a tiny 90 year old kitchen and really intense kids. This is too much.”

I glared at him and ripped open another box of devil’s food cake mix. He left to take off his tie and find the kids.

Why do I always do this?

My friends and family raised their eyebrows and pursed their lips when I announced we were doing a bake sale to help orphaned and imprisoned children in Uganda. Even though the last one was an astounding success ($37,000 for Haiti after the earthquake), no one wanted to endure my preventable breakdown afterwards.

But this time would be easier. I promised. It would just be cupcakes. From a mix. With a few enhancements. Definitely homemade buttercream frosting. And customized decorations. And not $37,000 again. Just $1000 would be fine.

“Wait. You want to raise $1000 from cupcakes?” my husband challenged.

“It will be great!” I smiled and climbed on a stool to start the big to-do list on a poster board.

A week into it, I was muttering to myself and sweating about the “stupid cupcakes,” my “stupid bad back,” my “stupid kids,” and the “stupid orphans.”

Shame flooded my heart. I frantically mixed the batter and quickly prayed, “I’m sorry, Lord. I’m sorry. Please help the orphans in Uganda. Please provide for them. Please accept this little offering. I’m so sorry I get so tense. I’m sorry, Lord.”

Why do I always do this?

Later that night, with all the muffin tins on the drying rack, Chris said, “You know it would totally be okay to raise $20 at a bake sale, like normal people.”

“No. What’s the point of that?”

I made everyone frost, decorate, and deliver cupcakes the next day. My son demanded to know, “Why do we have to bribe people? Doesn’t everyone want to help orphans? Can’t we just tell them to send money? Why do we have to give them a reward for it? I don’t want to do this anymore!”

Why do I always do this?

My youngest held out the longest. Her main job was to separate m&m’s by color for decorating. She sang “I’m making cupcakes for God” as she plinked candy into the right bowls. “You said when we do something for orphans, it’s like we’re doing it for God, right Mama?” I cried. See? If we stopped making these stupid cupcakes my baby wouldn’t have had that magical God moment. Totally worth it.

My husband clarified, “We can’t do this again.”

“But it’s so great, honey.”

“Really?” He pleaded. “You said we were doing this so our kids will want to pursue justice and mercy because of Jesus. You know the #1 way to guarantee they won’t? To rope them into these schemes, and have a crazy mom who swears, and gets all worked up for weeks at a time.”

Why do I always do this?

I relented and asked friends help make the last 450 cupcakes, and they sold out in front of my house in a half hour. We raised $1600, and sent it all to the organization. In spite of my gross flaws, we helped orphans. I apologized to my kids. I caught my breath. I planned more crazy fundraisers.

But we never made those stupid cupcakes again.


Aimee Fritz
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2 thoughts on “Why do I always do this?

  1. LOVE it. Great stuff and I often see this in myself as it is our value (ministry) to host people in our home for meals but Mama done get bent out of shape sometimes under the pressure of getting ready…good to laugh about it and rest in the arms of God’s grace… and ask for more of Him. Thank you for the great article. And congrats on raising all that $!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story!! Often our hearts and desires are so big…we can bite off more than we can chew! But guess what – God sees your effort, He sees your pain, and He is so proud of you!!!

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