The Best Birthday Gift in Recent Memory!
It’s your birthday! When we were young, that was one of the best phrases to hear as a child. It’s interesting to me the complexity of emotions experienced around birthday time. Last week I was blessed to celebrate my Golden birthday… the BIG 5-0. I still cannot comprehend how God has blessed me to be here for half a century especially after suffering a stroke just six years ago! I am humbled by His discipline,thankful for God’s grace, and blessed by His lovingkindness.
One of the best things about birthdays is the gifts! There is something so special to receive a gift intended especially for you. We are filled with anticipation as we tear away the paper or open the envelope to see how someone has blessed us on our special day! We are filled with heartfelt emotions as we read the words that loved ones share with us in colorful birthday cards. However, I admit that the in the weeks leading up to my birthday my emotions ran the gambit from appreciation, gratitude, pain, anxiety at times, and joyful anticipation.
I have become quite familiar with pain especially since the stroke. Unfortunately, in the week leading up to the birthday party I was dealing with intense pain from an old knee injury. In high school, I dislocated my right knee making a diving catch playing football. My knee landed in an area where the grass had been ripped away creating a divot of hard ground. Instead of opting for surgery which would have forced me to miss the upcoming basketball season, I was on bed rest for almost 2 months. Now almost 35 years later as a result of the injury, I am forced to deal with flare ups of osteoarthritis from time to time.
I was disappointed to spend most of my birthday treating my knee with both heat and cold packs as I wanted to be well for my party four days later. There would be friends, former co-workers and relatives in attendance. Some of whom I had not seen in a few years. Everyone but one had RSVP’d for the party. Even though I was anxious at times, I refused to let panic control my thoughts. I needed to PRAY!
I never realized the importance of prayer for every believer until going through the stroke ordeal. I’ve experienced God working in my life through prayer in extraordinary ways. In fact, prayer has impacted my life in so many ways, I am writing a book about it! The title is: “Unleash the POWER of PRAYER in Your Life”. In doing research for the book, I have been reminded of the necessity of praying God’s will be done just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane before going to the cross.
So I began to pour my heart out to God. I thanked Him for his love and the blessing in allowing me to see 50 years. I shared with Him how I wanted to take time during the roast and toast portion of the party to give my testimony using seven of my favorite life verses. Verses that have guided me along this journey He has taken me on. I knew there may be people that did not know Christ as their Savior and I wanted my life story to be an example of how God truly does transform lives.
I also shared with God my disappointment that I have been unable to attend church since officially joining in July. I had missed the fellowship with other saints and hearing His word being taught as we worship Him. I prayed this way every day all day. It was the day before the party and I needed to get a haircut. I could feel my leg was not quite right so I took some over the counter medicine which I do not really like to take because it can be harmful to my kidneys per my doctor. On the way to the barber shop, my caregiver and I stopped at the drugstore to pick up some more pain medication as I had just taken the last two.
On the way back from the barber shop we grabbed some lunch and she dropped me off at home. I sat down to eat and prayed to God thanking Him for the food and praying for my knee. Later that day after doing some reading, I went to get up but my knee felt different. I bounced my foot on the floor to check and to my surprise there was no pain! I decided to try and stand without leaning on something and I stood right up! Standing there in that moment, I lifted my eyes up to Heaven and I thanked my Savior for healing me!
I asked God to give me the words to say at the party so that He is glorified. I thanked Him for the affirmation to share His word and for increasing my HOPE in HIM. The best thing is; this all took place before I even opened the pain medicine that I had purchased! God wanted me to know He heard my prayers and He is the Great Healer. I was overwhelmed with joy and began to feel peace that everything would be okay for the party. (If you are a subscriber, you will get more party details, and see birthday pictures later this month and possibly my latest mock book cover too)
As I celebrate turning 50 this month. I celebrate the fact it has been six years since the stroke and I am excited to fulfill God’s purpose via the plans He has for me. In September it will be 4 years since I recommitted my life to Christ and made it my desire to live for Him. As I mentioned earlier; birthdays are accompanied by a wide range of emotions but I’m thankful that My Lord and Savior blessed me with the ability to walk through those doors for my birthday party!
How has God revealed Himself to you? Please bless us with words of encouragement as you share in the comments. Thank you for visiting today and God bless you and yours!