My family used to get together to celebrate birthdays for every member, whether child or adult. In recent years this has kind of fallen off but several years ago my husband and I would travel the four hours by car to join as many of these parties as possible during the year. A few times everyone came up to our place in the mountains for my birthday. But one year, neither was able to occur. On top of it all, my husband had to be out of town. I was going to be alone on my birthday.
The night before this lonely birthday, I unknowingly embarked on a journey that would continue to bless me over and over again in a myriad of ways. I spent most of my 30+ years as a Christian believing that God didn’t think much of me. Oh, He loved me, I used to think – but only because I was thrown in there with the rest of "the world" that "He so loved." I knew He loved me for salvation. He had to, right? But after that, I somehow continued the notion that I was never measuring up to His standard of lovable and acceptable. According to the Bible, my theology was WAY off! Because of Christ's work on the cross and my belief in it, “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) I began to be healed from this false thinking by filling my mind with the truth that God truly loves specifically me just as I am. As I began to dare to believe in His love, I began, albeit barely, to rest in it and enjoy it. The night before my oh-so-sad birthday, I dared to ask something of God. I said, "God, would You please give me a birthday gift tomorrow? Just some special little thing specifically from You, specifically for me? Would You do that for me?"
It was a request that had been on my mind for some time apart from my birthday. As it seemed to me, God has countless "gifts" He wants to give us each day. I know much better now that He loves each of us so much that He delights in giving special little gifts sent especially to each of us. I imagine that He probably didn’t wait for my asking before He began sending me gifts. I was just too busy racing through my day at high speed to notice them when they came. God does indeed give us countless gifts each day that we mostly take for granted. Another day of sight. Another day of hearing. Another day with loved ones. We have our jobs, our families, our homes. Friends, health, and on and on. Part of me wanted to learn to see what He was already giving and part of me wanted to receive special, out-of-the-ordinary things. Jennifer Kennedy Dean says in her book, A Praying Life, "You desire to ask because God desires to give." Looking back, I think God was tugging at my heart because He was wanting to give to me. He was wanting me to more fully see and believe His love for me. It was my birthday that emboldened me to ask for a "gift."
Check in tomorrow to see what happened...