On July 20th, our only daughter turned 18. Kind of a big deal, I’d say. Helping her celebrate took some creativity on our part and I have to say, it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had. 😂 I realize it wasn’t my birthday, but the joy of celebrating hers was better than celebrating my own! You see, she is currently living in Oregon for the summer. So, not only is she 1,718 miles away, she can only have her phone on weekends and had to leave the camp for the weekend of her birthday because it was being used for a retreat. But, leave it to Emma, she has made many friends already and arranged to go home with a new friend for the weekend. She had told me she didn’t want any gifts because her pile of gifts, between me and grandparents, was already getting pretty big and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to get them home!
I listened a little bit but knew she would want a little something to open on her birthday so I sent a small package of unique and small gifts and arranged for it to arrive at the home where she was staying. As we talked (after she got her phone back!) she mentioned how excited she was when she realized she would be able to take an actual bath (in private in a clean tub, vs group-shared showers at the camp). Enter Amazon Prime 2-day shipping. I immediately hopped on the site and sent a box of Bath Bombs to the home for delivery on her actual birthday. And this is my favorite gift of all: I spoke with her friend’s mom and arranged for her to pick up the most decadent and glorious dessert on the planet and Emma’s favorite, a Mud Pie from Baskin and Robbins.
During her birthday weekend, she went to Canon Beach, a place I have visited when I lived in Oregon as a child. This gave me such joy, seeing her share in a beautiful place that I could picture and remember. She also visited Multnomah Falls, another place I had been several times when I was young and have fond memories of.
I have been wondering about why I enjoyed Emma’s birthday so much, considering I didn’t get to see her or hug her or eat even one slice of that Mud Pie. It’s obvious that I love her and want her to feel celebrated, which I believe she did, but my joy in it comes from doing something for someone I love dearly so that she feels how special she is to me. How valuable she is and how much energy and effort I put in to making her day unique but also with the familiarities of home.
It has occurred to me that this is how God surely feels about me and the good gifts he sets before me everyday. Sometimes I ask for them, but sometimes I don’t, and he gives them anyway—and he loves it! Sometimes, like Emma, I am content to live with what I have and he surprises me with blessings I didn’t even know I wanted—and he feels giddy with satisfaction that he has made my day.
Any time I appreciate nature and the creation he has set before me to enjoy, he feels my pleasure and it warms his heart. And when I am grateful for the gifts, the answers to prayer and the surprise answers I didn’t think to ask for, he is deeply, warmly and fully satisfied.
God loves me as I love Emma. In helping her feel loved on her birthday, from Illinois to Oregon, I got a tiny glimpse of God’s intense and sweet love for me and can honestly say to him, “Now I know how you feel. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”