I'm not who I was.
[Recently I have been reading Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans & Chrystal Hurst, as well as going through Beth Moore’s So Long Insecurity: Teen Edition with a small group of girls at church. This weekend illustrated for me some concepts in both of those books. We’ll get to that part after the cake :-)]
We couldn’t have asked for a better birthday party weekend. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. God gave me immeasurable grace with health and responsibility. J’s soccer team clenched a 16-2 victory, pre-party.
The 2nd best decision I have ever made in regard to partying hearty is the delegation of photographer to someone else. I come from a long line of shutterbugs, so sometimes relinquishing the control of this task can be difficult. But I’ve decided that experiencing the moment is so much more important than being the one to capture it. It’s just one less thing to occupy my hands and attention. I highly recommend it 🙂
Despite the Great Cake Disaster of 2013, everything turned out decently. (Which leads us to the 1st smartest thing in partying hearty: plan to have the cake done a day in advance in case of said great disaster.)
It was a wonderful time with family and friends. In fact, it was the first time my side of the family has been in the same place at the same time in a few years.
When folks asked Cheeks what he wanted for his birthday, he had 2 responses: cake & cars. Unfortunately, for the beginning half of the day, Cheeks had been in the grumpy, shy, hide his face, Mr. No-no phase. (He is typically either a totally rambunctious joyful ham or a totally quiet quite contrary. There are few in-betweens.)
As it was time to blow out the candles, Cheeks refused, even though he had been going on about wanting to.
When it was time to open presents, he wouldn’t. He wanted to let others do the opening. To my chagrin, after each gift was opened, rather than being adorably polite and saying “sank you”, he exclaimed, “Way-uz my cah?” (Translation: Where’s my car). Evidently, just because he knew what he wanted, he felt entitled to GET what he wanted. He was expecting it, and was a bit ungrateful in the moment when the gifts weren’t what he expected. (Fear not, gift givers. He has been enjoying all of the wonderfully kind gifts, and I thank you profusely on his behalf). I was beyond relieved when, several gifts later, Cheeks received a truck with a car from his preschool friend. I think it saved us all the experience of a melt down. He clung to that gift for the whole rest of the day.
At least Cheeks has the excuse that he is only 3. Those of us capable of reading this blog don’t have that luxury.
“According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts” -Romans 12:6 (HCSB)
I wonder just how many of us are acting out like spoiled preschoolers. The gift-giver has bestowed upon us a particular gift, or perhaps even a myriad of them: gifts which were carefully fashioned specifically for us to be useful and bring joy and expand the Kingdom. Yet we ungratefully refuse to acknowledge their existence because they aren’t what WE had in mind. (There may or may not be a giant foam-finger pointing straight at me. Just sayin’.) Or, we cling only to the one gift that we prefer to the exclusion of all else. And so we stuff the unrealized gifts down in the gift bag with the remaining twice-used tissue paper just to get it out of the way. We rob others of a blessing they would receive had we used and enjoyed our gifts, all the while furrowing our brows and demanding, “Where’s my car?” as we sulk off in a state of unhappiness. (I sure hope our little guy gets over the car entitlement before the cars become bigger and more expensive. 😉 )
Just like when Cheeks who, once he fixed his attitude, discovered the enjoyment of his Darth Tater & other birthday bounty, we can make our gifts valuable too. Simply choosing a right attitude, acknowledging the existence of other gifts and putting them to use goes a long way.
In small group with the girls, it came to light that what stops us most often in using, or even recognizing, the gifts we have been given are feeling that we or the gifts are insignificant, and fear of rejection. The thing is, spiritual gifts aren’t just for us. Yes, we can find delight in them, but they have a purpose outside of ourselves: a purpose of serving others for God’s glory. It’s not all about us. To quote Tony Evans, “As long as you remain the center of your universe, love will always be a struggle.”
In reading Kingdom Woman, the theme of gifts and service was echoed time and again. Here are a couple more quotes: “We cannot busy ourselves doing good things and then use those good things as an excuse for skipping God’s best things.” “[Jesus] had no hang-ups about who He was, where He came from, what He was entitled to, or what others owed Him. He served because, in doing so, He illustrated the greatest act of true maturity–the willingness to make oneself available to another.”
What gifts can you use to serve others? Think about it. I challenge you to seek out your gifts and refuse the temptation to put qualifiers on them.
That’s the sound of me hopping off of my soap box. I don’t want to give the impression that the day was spoiled. It really was a funtastic filled day. The kids had a blast and I think the adults enjoyed each other’s company as well. (Did I mention that the party was outside and the weather was in the 70’s with a breeze? *deep sigh*). I am beyond grateful for the help that I received to pull it all together. In conclusion, I bring you a few more party pics: