So through the surprise birthday bash, God has shown me that He can be trusted with the desires of my heart (Part 1), and that I have to learn to receive good from His hand through others (Part 2). And He is still revealing. So here is Part 3.
At the party, Chuck Spicka leaned over and whispered something in my ear and I looked at him wide-eyed and panicked.
It was the same reaction when Lyschel Burket made the announcement in the WGR class.
“We want to do Birthday Blessings for Jana.”
My body went into immediate shock: heart racing, pits sweating, hands clinching and feet positioned in the “Swim away, swim away” mode. To further the conflict, in my heart of hearts I did have honest desires, needs and wants. But I didn’t know how to approach our Giving God with hope and expectation for me personally and interact with the human race at the same time. I was in a pickle. Can’t run. Don’t want to miss it.
And then came the Birthday Blessings. If you are not familiar with it, it is a time each year to give words of thanks, blessing, and affirmation. We saw this sweet tradition acted out in the Michalik family and were so blown away by the beauty of loving words that we immediately began it our own family.
Here is how it works: family and friends each take a turn and tell the “Blessee” what they like, how they have been impacted, what they love about that person. One time a year to pour in grace and truth. It is so, so fun to do. I mean really, how often do you purposely take a few minutes and just tell someone that you are with on a daily or regular basis what you really love and appreciate? We are so impacted by others as we share life, but rarely tell them just how much their presence influences us.
Anyway. To do this with family and close friends is one thing. But doing it with a broader circle of friends is quite another. And did I mention that to be the “Blesser” is radically being different that being the “Blessee”? We just aren’t conditioned to receive praise and love like that. Well most of us aren’t. My youngest daughter on her birthday said, “Hey are you all done eatin’? I am ready to have my birthday blessings! Bring on the blessin’s!” But she is an unusual case. Or is it that she is the normal one, and the rest of us have just had all of the desire and need for affirmation beaten out of us…?
When it was all done at both events, my heart was swelling. If you knew how many years I had spent alone, or crying, or rejected. If you knew how many birthdays had passed by, just begging the Lord to bless me in the middle of my isolation, then you would know just how rich was that drink of water. It was amazing to hear these beautiful words pouring over me, washing me and watering me, all the while having an internal conversation with God at the same time.
“Steady,” He would say. “Steady, just receive.”
“But Lord, this is crazy. I feel so awkward. This is about you, not me,” I would protest.
“It is still about Me. I put that love in them, for you. I am loving you through them.”
“But what if they reject me later?”
“Jana, today, receive the gift of today,” He said.
When someone would say something that seemed over the top, putting me in too high of a position, I would flinch and object.
But He would whisper, “Just be loved. I will correct the course.”
Just be loved.
Chuck asked me what was the most important thing I had learned in my 48 years. (YES, I am 48!) I told him I have learned that the God life was easier than I had ever been taught. To receive His love, to believe I am loved by Him is the bottom line that changes everything. Every relationship, goal and problem. Just be loved.
Who knew? He did! The great Giving God who restored the years the locusts had eaten; Who makes all things new; Who is the Giver of new life, hope and healing. Oh earth, receive your King!!