Actually, I didn’t.
I didn’t plan anything for my birthday, partly because I’ve been in denial about it for the past weeks, and partly because I can’t think of anything to celebrate it. So, I just prayed and left everything to God and let Him surprise me on the day of my birthday. I also tried to treat the day just like any other day. Since my birthday will fall on Friday, I thought that my scheduled bible study and prayer meeting on that day is already enough to celebrate my 30th birthday day in a meaningful way. But since God loves me so much, He didn’t allow me to not celebrate my special day, and I got a surprise birthday treat from my officemates.
Actually, I had an advanced celebration with my sweet friend, Sheryl the night before my birthday, when she also got me a cake during our dinner. Then on the morning, I started the day with my usual quiet time. I didn’t have any expectation on what is God’s message for me for that day, until I’m about to open my Bible and remembered that the passage for that day was Jeremiah 29. I sort of had an idea already that it will be a good birthday message because Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the common life verse for most people.
It was a wonderful time with God indeed! I even sort of laughed when I read this verse:
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.
Jeremiah 29:5-6 NIV
I was like, ‘Lord, are you serious about this?! Is this a command that I need to obey?!’
I didn’t really want to ask God about it but He gave me an answer anyway. I thought it was God’s way of telling me that I should not give up on the idea of marriage but I should not worry and fret over it for now.
I was also encouraged when I read this verse:
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV)
It was a reminder and encouragement for me to pray more for the places where God has planted me because their prosperity also means my own prosperity.
Lastly, it was only during that time when the famous verse Jeremiah 29:11 made sense to me.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord , “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord , “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV
I’ve always known that God’s plan for me is always pleasing and perfect. But I also forget that God’s plan is not necessarily the same as mine. When my plan does not coincide with God’s plan, my tendency is to always complain and grumble.
I also tend to hinder my own growth by blocking off or refusing things that may cause me discomfort or incovenience even though I know they are necessary, so God can’t work in me and through me.
So this message is actually a reminder for me to really embrace whatever God will allow to happen in my life because He is only up to my own good. Blessings and prosperity are important. So are sufferings and discipline. They are all being used by God to develop and make me the kind of woman He wants me to be.
So hello, 30s! I welcome you with open arms. 😊