July 4th & Other Birthdays
It seems like July is the most popular month for birthdays…maybe because it's my birthday month and the month I gave birth. Ah, the sounds and smells of summer…chlorine and splashes, bbq and watermelon, mowers and fresh grass, and of course, Coppertone.
I'm glad we celebrate our nation's birth into independence complete with patriotic songs and grand fireworks. Our country is great and we have so much to be thankful for. I am deeply disturbed right now about the upcoming election, but I won't write about politics today. No, what I have on my heart is your birthday .
Birth – day. Isn't it all so interesting…the whole process…conception, gestation and birth. We have no “say” about the year, country, or to whom, we are born. Here we are – whether we like it or not. We just go with it, because that's all we know. Privileged, poverty, middle class…or somewhere in-between, we all have birthdays…and birthdays move us forward in life, whether we like it or not. This is our time-and-space-and-place on the planet. We didn't fight in the revolution, but some of us knew a family who had a soldier in Viet Nam or Afghanistan – maybe that soldier was you.
What about your childhood memories of birthday parties? Think back…why do you remember them? Fading pictures like old 8 millimeter film clips dash across our mind. Were you celebrated? I wasn't, and I always longed for a big party. When I attended other's big, fancy birthday parties as a child, I sometimes felt ripped-off and un-loved, but I did love the cake!
Have you ever been sorry you were born? Hated your life? Hopelessness knows this pain…even if it only lasts a few moments. How do you celebrate your birthday now?
Our attitude evolves with each decade. We first have great anticipation and excitement about turning 13, 16, 18 and 21!!
In our 20's most feel young, strong and smart, date around, start a career, and realize that 30 is not as old as we thought.
In our 30's most have children, crank up our career, gain some weight, purchase a house and dread 40.
In our 40's we asses our life, worry about retirement, graduate a child and dread the big 5-0.
In our 50's we try to map out retirement, join AARP, take on new names like Mimi and Papa, deal with really gray hair, and wonder how so many years could have passed…as 60 looms.
In our 60's we have a big retirement party, try to figure out how to best fill our day, how to best be with our spouse every day, all day, attend the grand kids birthday parties…and wonder at how much the world has changed.
Somewhere along the way we lose sight of our own importance and value as we survive another birthday. Jehovah God chose you before the foundation of the world. He chose to place you within your generation and rejoiced at your birth. You have an appointment with the world. You have a harvest that only you can reach, that belongs especially to you. God planned on you. Psalm 139 tells the beautiful story of his attentive involvement with you – spirit, soul and body.* Jeremiah 29:11 says “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Wherever you are on this journey of birthdays, wherever the path of life has taken you, it is never too late; it is never too early, to embrace the plan God has for you. Psalm 32:8 says, “The Lord says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” You have a guide! How about that, life came with a manual after all!
When my friend turned 65 I reminded her that it is only a number (I remind myself!). When my husband turned 40 he insisted that I should not give him the big party I was planning. He wanted instead to quietly turn 40. But I believe we should celebrate our family's birthdays big, and let them know how glad we are that they were born. Allow others to celebrate your birthday – and join them in the fun!
Years behind…years ahead…
At some point we take on a hostile attitude toward our birthday, but it is not our enemy. Life is our friend. Give no place to regret, but lay it all at the cross and walk away knowing that you are wiser. Armed with the love of God for you, be determined to use your wisdom to educate and help others.
So this year celebrate our great U. S of A. and the freedom we enjoy. And on your next birthday, celebrate! Celebrate your freedom to grow wiser, your freedom to be thankful and your freedom to be you .
God is so glad you were born!! “And many more!”
*Psalm 139 (New International Version)
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
4 Before a word is on my tongue
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
13 For you created my inmost being;
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
15 My frame was not hidden from you
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
17 How precious to [ b ] me are your thoughts, O God!
18 Were I to count them;
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
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