A Different Kind of Birthday

 Yesterday was my birthday. And my husband’s birthday. We enjoyed a very mellow, relaxing day. After all, we’ve both had a lot of birthdays and the years certainly have gathered speed of late – rather like a giant snowball racing downhill – so it all feels a bit old hat. After church, we went out to brunch, read the Sunday paper and napped, and built a fire on the patio and made s’mores in the evening. A perfect day.

However, the rest of the weekend was anything but mellow. I raced home from work on Friday to be able to catch a few minutes alone with Steve before I kicked him out of the house. For the next 26 hours, 30-some college girls involved in Cru descended on our house.

They built community together as they ate four meals together, worshipped through song, did crafts, talked and laughed, gave each other manicures and pedicures, prayed, watched a movie, and slept like sardines in their wall-to-wall sleeping bags. Steve came back in the morning to make us all his world-famous healthy pancakes. The girls fanned out, findingFree Time at the Retreat spots all over our house, yard, and nearby park for their private devotional times. A student panel answered questions submitted to the small groups and I spoke twice about Truth and Lies about Our Identity.

 With all the details the leadership girls juggled in planning the weekend, they still found time to clean up after themselves and pick up a birthday cake for Steve and I. The girls left with tired bodies but refreshed spirits and full hearts. And we had the satisfaction of seeing our home and our hearts used for God’s purposes. There aren’t too many birthday gifts that can top that.

As I fell into bed very early on Saturday evening, grateful for the extra hour we gained with Daylight Savings, I claimed this verse in Proverbs 11:25: “He (or she) who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”  When I awoke (eleven hours later!) on our birthday, I had renewed strength. 


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