Written on Feb 9th
Today is my birthday……
It is 10.39am and so far has not felt much like a special day. Mostly because I let slip aside my keepsakes of grace, my giving thanks for so many blessings God has given me this very birthday. Partly through just being an ordinary gray chilly February day and partly my children not knowing how to put aside their “life’s all about me” attitude. Before I opened even one card their quarrelling voices and sulky faces about being rushed out of bed and who can sit the closest with the best view, did nothing more than bring flowing tears to my eyes.
Why was I so upset? A mixture of feelings crashed around in the pit of my stomach. Thoughts of “I can’t believe how selfish they are”. “I can’t believe how thoughtless they are”. “They are ruining my birthday and it’s only just started”. “What an awful job I’ve done bringing them up if all they can think about is their own wants, even on their mothers (my) birthday”. “After everything I do for them”. “After I’ve spoilt them so much this weekend”…… and so it went on!
Then after not opening my presents and sending them off to get ready for school, I started to feel awful. More thoughts “I shouldn’t have rushed them”. “I should have let them have breakfast first”. “I shouldn’t be so selfish and act like a princess”. “Just because it’s my birthday doesn’t mean everyone should be running around after me” me me…. And so on.
Can you see what’s wrong with this picture? Huh! No wonder my beloved children think about themselves so much. Are you shaking your head at me? I’m shaking it at myself!
It is true that my want for my children to be more actively thoughtful and decrease their thoughtlessness is a just prayer but surely more so out of their love for Jesus than of their love for me. Surely the second follows the first.
Now before I go on please don’t think I am comparing myself to Jesus, I am not. But as my children claimed their thought self right to be closest to me on the bed, those feelings of disappointment, shame and horror for their own fame and self importance reminded me of the story of the mother of James and John. She requested that her son’s be seated at the right side and left side of Jesus when He rules His Kingdom, read Matt 20:20-28 NIV. Jesus though didn’t respond with thoughts of “they’re just hanging off my coat tales of fame and authority”, or “they think it’s all fun and miraculous miracles but they have no idea what I will have to go through for them” or “how ungrateful are they when I have done so much for them already” or “I am so disappointed with you right now”. No! Jesus in perfect love and obedience, answered, the authority of the decision was with God the Father. No boasting or claiming His own right to make the decision. He then moved on to bring encouragement and understanding that when God puts us in great places there are great responsibilities and trials to bear. That to be great we must serve, be a slave, see v26-27.
It is all very well my children knowing this to be true but they must see it modelled by those nearest to them whom not only love them but most importantly love Jesus, so then all the I, my, I’ve, me should be put to death. That I must also live by the example gift Jesus showed fulfilling His own words, v21”just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as ransom for many”.
So yes it’s my birthday. Yes it’s nice to have a day when those closest to you show they value you. Even today it’s not about ‘princess me ‘ but what glory of God is shown through ‘me serving ’. Then maybe I will see the best birthday gifts of fruit dwelling within my children.
My prayer after my headspace shower was “Lord, what can I do for You today? How can I bring glory to Your name?” My second prayer “Lord, help me remember to ask this every day”. My third prayer “Lord, let my example of Jesus’ example through the Holy Spirit be my birthday present that will sow the juiciest of fruits within my children. Amen.