Celebrated my 40th birthday this week. It has been a beautiful, sweet, loving and joyful week! I absolutely love celebrating my birthday. That’s a fairly recent thing. Well, 10 years to be exact. Prior to my 30th. I greatly disliked my birthday. As a child for several, too many, years my birthday meant an increase in pain and suffering. I spent those years praying that my birthday would just be forgotten. And like a lot of other people, it seemed that a lot of tragedies and sadness occurred either on my birthday or right around it. So, my birthday was a thing to be avoided and certainly not a thing to celebrate.
When I was turning 30 that all began to change. As I began growing in my relationship with Jesus, He started healing my brokenness. He began to speak to me that I was enough and that I am supposed to be here and that I do have value and a purpose. I also made the decision that a lot of my childhood had been taken from me and I could choose for myself to not allow anymore to be taken from me. I decided to no longer allow pain of the past dictate how I live in the present. For my 30th, I planned my own party, invited several friends to celebrate with me at Olive Garden. I had no way of knowing then all that the Lord had in store for me. He not only purposed to heal my heart but to also redeem the brokenness…He has abundantly, greater than anything I could think or imagine, blessed me. In this past 10 years…every broken birthday has been redeemed!
Today, as I sat surrounded by some of the most amazing people, people that I get to do ministry with, I blew out 40 candles on my brownies. I shared with them a little about what birthdays were like for a lot of years of my life, I didn’t share to receive sympathy or to make anyone sad, but to tell of how great God’s love is for us! I have been overwhelmed by His goodness and His mercy and His grace and His love poured out upon me through the people He has brought into my life. He is indeed a good and perfect Father!
Tonight I sat here and thought about the wishes and the gifts that I have received and I thought, “I don’t deserve this”. I don’t. I love the people the Lord has brought into my life, but I fail them every. single. day. As I thought of how thoughtful my family and friends have been I felt a pang of guilt at all the times I have been thoughtless. As I thought of all the family and friends who made time for me, I thought of all the times I was too busy. As I thought of all of the touching and wonderful words spoken or written to me, I thought of all the careless words I have spoken and all the words I failed to speak. I don’t deserve this.
In that moment the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “You’re right, you don’t. You don’t deserve this, anymore than you deserved what happened to you as a child.” And in that moment…I felt overwhelmed by the Father’s great love for me. The beautiful thing about His love? I don’t deserve it. Praise the Lord! If I were to ever find myself thinking I deserve His love…then I am in position to lose His love. Deserve means to be qualified or have a claim to, because of actions, qualities or situation. If the Lord only lavished His love on me in the times that I deserve it…I would never receive it. There is always going to be someone else who deserves it more than me. Always. There will always be someone who fails less than me. If we deserve His love…than we have to do something to earn it and there are always people like Mother Theresa, Mama Maggie or countless others who love and serve sacrificially, who would flat push me out of the running. But because His love is unmerited, undeserved, free, extravagant, abundant, limitless and eternal, that means we all can receive His love. We ALL can be secure in His love. His love isn’t based on who we are or what we do…His love flows because, and only because, He IS LOVE. I don’t deserve His love, You don’t deserve His love. What a beautiful thing. He provides what we don’t deserve. Through His love we all can experience birthdays to make up for all the broken birthdays.
I didn’t deserve what happened to me as a child or any of the suffering I have experienced as an adult. I don’t deserve this amazing and great love that the Father has poured out upon me now. There is so much freedom in knowing I don’t deserve this. I don’t have to stay trapped in a childhood I did nothing to cause and I don’t have to stay trapped trying to earn my Heavenly Father’s love. What a beautiful, amazing, life healing, restoring birthday gift from my Heavenly Father…I don’t deserve this!