A Birthday Party Story
Picture this. Your daughter has a birthday party coming up. Their 3rd birthday, and you want to make it as special as possible.
To prepare, you plan a month in advance for this birthday party. You even ask your birthday girl what she wants for the cupcakes and decorations. Things are going so well!
Finally, it is time to shop and bake. You take your birthday girl to the store to buy decorations and party favors for her friends. Don’t forget the special, helium-inflated birthday balloons, matching the party theme.
Your cart is so full, you wonder how over-the-top this party is getting. Your fears are confirmed, when the checkout lady literally says to you, “You are overdoing this, Mom.”
You know she’s right, but don’t want to admit it to a total stranger.
Party Favors and Cupcakes
The week of, you, the birthday girl, and her siblings, all work together to put the party favor bags together. The excitement on their faces is so inspiring, more for the candy than anything else, you know these are perfect for your guests.
Two days before the party, you bake the cupcakes. The night before, you make the extra cupcake decorations, so they are ready for the morning of, when you freshly frost and decorate them.
You place them in the fridge, and you feel a sigh of relief and accomplishment.
Last but not least, you stay up until midnight, with your tired husband, decorating. You start to pull out all of the decorations you purchased with the birthday girl, and your husband gives a sigh and intense eye-roll.
It takes hours to perfectly decorate with the party signage, party favors, streamers, balloons, even a large, plastic mural background for pictures and added scenery for effect.
The Perfect Party
Finally, you’re done. Perfectly planned, purchased, and executed birthday party plan. You slip into bed, relieved, and happily anticipating the next morning.
You can’t wait to see the look on your birthday girl’s face when she beholds all your work for her party. You hope she feels as special as you know she is.
Then it hits. The screaming, vomiting, and complete misery from – guess who? The birthday girl herself.
The stomach flu or some similar, awful virus has hit your house, literally hours before the party is supposed to start.
You have to break it to your precious, birthday girl that her party is cancelled and now she has to spend her birthday sleeping and drinking water – no cupcakes.
Reality Stings Sometimes
As you might have guessed, this happened to me and my family last week for one of our daughter’s birthday. Let me tell you, it has been a rough week for all of us.
However, somehow God used this atrocious sickness to change something in my mind and heart.
As her mom, I was not only buying and doing things for her to make her feel special, but to show off to our guests, “Hey, look at me and what I can do? I’m such a great mom, aren’t I?”
My Aching Heart
Wow, that was a slap in the face and a prick in my heart. In my heart, I had let pride and the fear of insignificance drive me to spend more money, time, and energy than necessary.
Also, I realized I was justifying my behavior with a false sense of what my daughter actually expected and wanted for her party.
I knew exactly what she wanted. We had planned it together, and the plan itself was pretty simple.
In my own prideful heart, I was making her party about me. How selfish is that?
The Real Party
Now, tonight is the night before her party. We have rescheduled it for tomorrow.
Most of the decorations we left up from decorating last week, but not all have stayed on the wall. The cupcakes are done and decorated, but I let my daughters help me, instead of pushing them away, and doing it alone.
For my daughter’s sake, and for my own good, I laid down my expectations of attention, glory and honor from my efforts as her mom. God is teaching me to be content in the simple, not frantic in the complex.
Finally, the party did not go according to my perfect little plan. To be honest, I’m glad it didn’t. I had more prepared and done last week, so I can just relax and enjoy my daughter growing up.
God’s plan is always better than my plan. If I am not careful, I will trade fear and anxiety for peace and joy in the Lord.
Which will you choose today, your finite plan or God’s perfect plan?
These verses really helped change my expectations this week. I hope they help you, too.
Proverbs 3:5-12 ESV
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”