Growing up, birthdays in our family were always celebrated.
We’d gather together on my parent’s bed first thing in the morning and open presents. We’d have a party with friends, a special family dinner and a birthday cake with candles. We would sing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday person and watch them blow out the candles, and we’d all cheer. There were six of us, so there was a lot of happy noise. The birthday person was made to feel special. They knew they belonged.
But then my marriage ended. Suddenly my belonging was no more.
After my marriage, I had a relationship with a man who had never had those experiences. His birthdays had never been celebrated. He’d never been made to feel special in a way that resonated in that way.
When that relationship ended and it was just me and my very young son on my birthday, admittedly I felt sad for not having all that I had been used to – all that I associated with belonging, and place, and self, and 'happy birthdays'. It would have been easy for me to think I’m not special to anyone and “who really cares for me?” Life didn’t look the same any more. It would have been easy to feel sorry for myself.
But I knew I had a son who loved me and he thought I was special. I was his entire world. He grew up being the best birthday celebrator ever. He puts weeks, even months of thought and planning into my birthday each year – because he knows he belongs.
One year, as I was anticipating a very quiet birthday, God let me know that He looks forward to my birthday and anticipates celebrating it with me!
It was such a soft yet expansive thought that it filled me with warmth, as if I were receiving a big hug. I knew in that moment, I belonged. I was never forgotten. I was never dismissed. It didn’t matter if I had a lot of noisy people around to celebrate with me, or if it were just me and my son, quiet and on our own.
God anticipates my birthday because He created me and He loves me, just because I’m me and He’s He. I belong. I am special to Him. And each year now, I can recall that. Even if I’m on my own, God Himself celebrates my life with me. I’m not alone.
Neither are you.
You belong just as I do. You’re special to Him who made you. He created you so that He could love you and you could love Him. He not only anticipates your birthday, He anticipates your every day.
He desires your nearness. He wants to be found by you.
Jeremiah 1:1 let’s us listen to God telling Jeremiah that before he was born God knew him. Before he was even in his mother’s womb God had set him apart.
The same is true for you. You are set apart by God. He knew you even before He spoke a word and brought the world into being. He knew what your place and your purpose is, that He designated. He looks forward to seeing what you will do with what He has given you. He looks forward to sharing your days with you. Can you say the same for Him? Do you look forward to spending time with Him and giving Him each day of your life and running to Him? There’s no more rewarding way to live than that.
Psalm 37:23 (NLT)
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Acts 17:26 (NKJ)
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
Zephaniah 3:17 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
LORD JEHOVAH your God within you, the Mighty Man and The Savior, he shall sweeten you in joy and he shall make you new in his love, and he shall make you dance with a song as that in the day of a feast!