Happy birthday, friend!

What's a birthday without cake?

What’s a birthday without cake?

Today was my good friend’s birthday and it was a ton of fun.  I did a birthday present treasure hunt for her with clues and presents hidden in her house and office that she had to find throughout the day.  I think I got more excited than she did each time my phone would buzz at me to tell me it was time for the next clue.  It has been so exciting planning, wrapping, hiding, and finally revealing gifts all day long…it’s like an extended Christmas!!!!

My birthday was a couple of months ago and it was AMAZING because of this friend.  She decided that she would give me a present every hour, on the hour, from 7am till midnight.  She got a couple of my other friends to go in on it with her and it was so much fun just waiting for the next present all day long.  The gifts were all different kinds of things- picture frames with Doctor Who quotes, a key chain, a coffee mug, a painted canvas with a CS Lewis quote, a Downton Abbey cookbook, a hat with my monogram…it was a lot of presents y’all so the list could take a while.  But the thing I loved so much about each present is that it showed how known I am to my friends.  They found just the perfect thing for me, whether it was big (like an Origami Owl locket)  or small (like a travel bop-it game).  It’s an incredible gift to know that someone sees, knows, and loves you and wants to celebrate you!  And ultimately that’s what my friends gave me on my birthday (and hopefully what I gave my friend too).  The comfort and joy that comes from knowing that you are loved and people are glad you were born.

“There are persons for companionship,
    but then there are friends who are more loyal than family.”  Provers 18: 24

I’ve been really blessed to have an amazing family and I daily give thanks for them, but I know there are lots of people who don’t have good families.  Their parents aren’t people they trust and their siblings let them down or become a burden to them.  I’ve seen families ripped apart over inheritances and petty arguments.  I’ve talked with kids whose parents abandoned or abused them or whose grandparents disowned them.  Family isn’t always a blessing.

I’ve also seen peoples lives torn apart by their friendships.  Unfortunately I have had some of those friends.  People who only wanted to be my friend so they could cheat off me in school (how did I not realize that at the time?!?) or hang out with me so I’d buy them stuff.  I’ve seen other people who will go to extraordinary lengths to be a good friend- give someone a place to stay or help them through an illness- only to find out later that that friend won’t do the same for them.  And there is always an abundance of people willing to be super negative and complain about everything that is just. so. hard. in their lives but they don ‘t have time to listen or help you with your pain.  Friendships aren’t always a blessing, either.

But I do believe that God created us to be in community with one another.  I believe that when we love one another the way Christ loves us, selflessly and  unconditionally, we bring out the best in each other and in ourselves.  I’m so grateful for my family and all of my friends who have become my family through faith.  Every birthday I am reminded of a time in my life when I was definitely ok with there never being any more birthdays.  I look back on those times now, those times when I was sure life was never going to get any better, and I am amazed at how God has blessed me in ways I never would have even thought to ask.  My life is not perfect (I mean…what the heck does that even mean for us imperfect people???)  but it is blessed and full.  Yes, there are still things I long for but my heart is full of joy and comfort because of the gift of a God and a people who love and know me.  It’s the joy and comfort of belonging in the family of God.  My prayer for you is that you will have a life full of people who know and love you but most of all that you would know that you are already known and loved by your Creator.  I pray that you find the joy and comfort of celebrating the gift of a life lived alongside a community of people who love you selflessly and unconditionally.

And I give thanks for my friends and family.  I’m super glad all of you were born.

What does friendship mean to you?  Has it changed as you’ve gotten older?

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