My birthday was so beautiful this year, I want to write a post about it so I don’t forget any details. First of all, God is so sweet and loves us so much that He arranges plans for us sometimes better than we can.
I have had birthdays in the past that were painful. Birthdays are scary because they can set us up for feeling rejected when friends can’t make it to celebrate. Arranging my own birthday is a struggle because I get this anxiety in my head that even if people come, they don’t really want to be there. A couple years ago, I went ahead and told everyone I wasn’t celebrating so I didn’t have to deal with the anxiety of planning, of people canceling and the inevitable, underlying feeling of being unloved and rejected.
Last year, I decided to be brave and plan a weekend trip with my friends, but I was too scared to ask people myself to come so I appointed a friend to be in charge. It was a magical weekend and wonderful friends showed up. I was so touched by the people who came and spent the whole weekend with me and enjoyed it.
This year, God has been doing a work of transformation in me. He has shown me that I don’t have to fear rejection because even when I am let down by people, I am still secure and rooted in Him. He has also given me a group of safe friends with whom I’ve been able to practice boundaries, to be messy around, to say no to, to be girly, to be introverted, to be silent, to cry, to be vulnerable, to be talkative, to ask questions, to say what’s on my mind, to say “I’m sorry”, to say “thank you”, to say “I don’t like that” and to listen. Their unconditional acceptance and love has helped me grow in my confidence and discover more about who I am.
Largely because of this, I felt the confidence to plan my own birthday this year and to send the invites myself. I even asked my friend Ryan if he would host a dinner at his house. When I texted him, his response was immediate, “Done!” My heart was so warmed.
I planned two separate gatherings on my birthday. They each involved asking different groups of friends to bring something, which is also not easy for me to do. Originally everyone was in.
But then the dreaded thing happened. Several friends began canceling one by one to one of the gatherings. It’s already stressful for me to plan anything, so putting myself out there to ask people to celebrate my birthday magnified the stress even more. Surprisingly though, my feelings weren’t hurt and I wasn’t upset with anyone. I knew they all had good reasons. God had truly shown me what it felt like to be rooted in Him. I decided to cancel that one altogether and just spend time with Kris.
When my birthday came, I was excited to spend the day with Kris, but a darkness came over me that morning. The enemy latched onto my mind and I went into a downward spiral of self-pity and disappointment. I couldn’t see the positive, I could only see the let down. I didn’t feel strong enough to fight the darkness and it just overpowered me.
I cried on the phone to my mom and said, “I hate birthdays.” I felt so heavy that I told Kris I wanted to cancel my party that night. He said, “You’re at a point you are just trying to sabotage your day now.” I knew it was true. But the party started in two hours and I didn’t know if I would be able to snap out of it by then.
I hadn’t been in such an emotional downward spiral like this in a really long time and it reminded me of myself before I knew how to combat spiritual warfare. It hit me that the enemy was working overtime to ruin the beginning of my 29th year. God had done too much transformation in me for me to regress now.
I put on my headphones to listen to praise and worship music, got out my journal and bible and began to pray. The Lord started to lift darkness off me. I saw myself in the Spirit and there were bats around me. But then God waved His hand over me and the bats turned into butterflies. Suddenly, my spiritual eyes were opened and I could see clearly again. The weight was lifted and I felt thankful for Kris and everyone.
It’s a good thing I didn’t cancel because as I walked up to Ryan’s house, I heard “A Whole New World” playing over the speakers. I thought, awww he’s playing disney music for me. Then, I walked in the door and was greeted with a princess themed decorated house, a crown, sash and Disney movies playing on a big screen in the background. I was overwhelmed to tears. I felt so known and loved. The thoughtfulness converted into action humbled me to my core. My friend Sherry was preparing a big salad, Heather was putting out appetizers, my sister brought cupcakes, Kris made the stew and everyone joyfully donned their sashes and crowns, even the guys.
It was an absolutely epic night. I wasn’t even expecting gifts and everyone brought the most meaningful gifts that truly resonated with my heart. We all went around and shared our dreams, we sang worship music and everyone prayed and spoke encouraging words over me. I woke up this morning feeling like I was floating on a cloud, so full and grateful.
Aside from this outpouring of love I experienced, God also made my birthday special. He topped it all off by taking me on a paid trip to NYC that I got to spend with my mother, sister and dear friend Nia. I got to see two broadway shows, stroll in Central Park, window shop on 5th avenue, speak to a group of military families about our royal identity, model in a charity fashion show, donate Rise Up Princess devotionals to young girls and eat decadent chocolate. It was absolutely dreamy.
I’m writing all of this because there were so many ways God revealed himself and lessons he taught me. He taught me that you may still face rejection or disappointment when you put yourself out there, but that it doesn’t have to keep you down. He taught me that there is so much good in people that we can trust and love. He also showed me that we have to be open to what He wants to do because it may look different than our idea of celebrating.
I just want to encourage you to be confident in asking people to celebrate you because it invites them to show you the beauty in their hearts, even when they can’t make it.
If this message blessed you, be a blessing by sharing with others.