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Preserved by Purpose – Red Velvet Obedience

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

A few years ago, I was in a time of prayer and what I thought was a strange

request came to my spirit. Make a Red Velvet Cake for a friend. Since that was also

my favorite cake, I was excited and rushed to the store to get the ingredients but at

the last minute decided to make Red Velvet cupcakes instead. I figured they’d be

easier to eat and make than a multi-layer cake. However, every cupcake that I made

that day came out flat or lopsided.

I was a little concerned because cupcakes are easy and I couldn’t figure out

how I’d messed them up, even the frosting ran off the cupcakes. Next time, I

decided to get frozen cookie dough and make chocolate chip cookies instead of cake.

Since the dough was already prepared, I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about them

not turning out right. All I had to do was put them in the oven and wait. After

waiting for 10 minutes, I was both horrified and confused about the sight of burnt

cookies. I blamed it on the cookie dough being bad and threw the cookies away.

A few weeks went by and I decided to try again but this time I was going to

make a special combination of brownies and chocolate chip cookies. 30 minutes into

baking, I opened the oven door to check on the cookie/brownie mix. It looked

deliciously brown on top and smelled irresistibly good. However, the insides were

still very runny so I figured maybe another 20 minutes would work. But even after

one hour, the dough was still runny. I finally took it out after 1 ½ hours. The dough

was no longer runny but it sure was heavy. It got even heavier as it cooled. After a

few hours, it was solid like a brick. Into the trash it went.

I chuckled at all three incidences because I’m normally a pretty good cook.

That’s why I couldn’t understand why each of my attempts at baking failed. Of

course, that’s when I realized: God never told me to make anything other than a Red

Velvet Cake. It was a simple request but I’d messed it up. I did the exact opposite

of 2 Chronicles which says “In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly.”

I repented for my disobedience and decided to make the red velvet cake.

Hours later, I was looking at a beautiful Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting

and sprinkled with almonds. In the end, my friend was so excited when I gave him

the cake. He even said that he’d been craving a red velvet cake. In the end, I got a

great lesson about being 100% obedient when God tells me to do something for

others. Moreover, it was also a powerful reminder that we have the choice to be

blessed through our obedience or struggle through disobedience.

Shewanda Riley is the author of the Essence best-seller "Love Hangover: Moving

From Pain to Purpose after a Relationship ends." She can be reached at, or on twitter @shewanda.

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