Letter #591: Birthday Gifts


Dear gifts,

You’re sure fun to receive. Surprises. Clothes. Gift cards. Sweet notes. Any thoughtful randomness concerning you is a daymaker. There’s one day a year where it’s acceptable for us to receive you with no questions asked and nothing expected in return. Our birthdays.

Birthdays are funny though. For the first 21 years of life we can’t wait for our big day. Then BAM, after that it’s as if we start to dread you. What could be a day of celebrating we are still alive and have been given more than any of us deserve has turned into a dread fest of getting older. We are strange creatures.

Even when we decide we want to celebrate, we allow you to stress us out. What’s the perfect thing to get mom and dad for their birthdays this year? What in the world am I going to get my boo for his birthday? If I go too big, he’ll think I’m over the top. If I go too small, he’ll think I’m not really into him. We never know what to get concerning you because the majority of us don’t need anything anyway. So really, you’re FAR more about the thought behind you than actually what we receive on our birthdays.

So here’s the deal. Material things are great. They’re thoughtful. They provide temporary excitement. They are a tangible way to show our love to others. You are a good thing, but you have me wondering how we can give you in a way lasting far longer than a gift card ever could.

I’m a few days late on this, but Friday was my oldest sister’s birthday. Jamie turned 34, and it wasn’t quite the way she expected to celebrate. Thirty-four, wife, daughter, mother of three, sister of two, aunt of one. The most steady personality I know. Nothing riles her up. Nothing shakes her. Consistent. Able to wear a ton of hats at once, handle them all with grace and laugh a ton all at the same time.

Jamie spent her 34th birthday in Dallas with her 13-week-old son in the cardiac ICU. Her other two sons were still in Oklahoma and got to mail their birthday cards to her. Her husband was able to come for the weekend, but he’s had to go back to work so typically it’s just her in Dallas going to the hospital daily to hang out with Emerson and hope for improvements. This is NOT how anyone expects to spend their birthday, yet we fight to find ways to celebrate.

No material thing was going to be better than the possibility of getting to hold Emerson after nearly a week of medical junk preventing it. On February 8th, not only did we celebrate the birth of one of my best friends, but we also got picture texts of the birthday girl getting to hold her baby. Cherish the moments. Cherish the ones of you that don’t have a price tag.

Jamie and Emerson on her birthday, the day he got his ventilator out!
Jamie and Emerson on her birthday, the day he got his ventilator out!

Readers, I’d like to ask you to join me in giving Jamie the best 34th birthday gift possible. Would you be willing to simply pray for Emerson? For his continued improvement and complete healing. For his development. For him to teach those around him the lessons the Lord created him to. Would you be willing to pray for Jamie and Chad? I don’t even begin to know what it’s like to go through this as a parent. Pray for peace that surpasses all understanding. For their marriage in the midst of hard times. For good communication across long distance. For a deeper understanding of and trust in God. Would you be willing to pray for Kaedyn and Paxton, my nephews as their lives have been turned upside down for the last four months? For understanding of what’s going on. For an understanding of God in a way that can’t be explained in 8 and 4 and a half year olds. For everyone crossing paths with Emerson to understand that God is good regardless of situations? Thank you in advance.

"Hold me!" Little man finally gets to wear clothes and be held!!!!
“Hold me!” Little man finally gets to wear clothes and be held!!!!

There aren’t many things in life we can give to people that have eternal value. Gift cards and money get spent. Clothes go out of style. Prayer changes people and that lasts forever. Prayer connects people with God of the universe and that’s eternal. Prayer reminds us to be thankful for the ultimate one of you, Christ. Without Him, we are absolutely hopeless.

Happy Birthday to my favorite oldest sister,

Believer in gifts of eternal value

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I'm Lindsay. I write letters at least one a day to be exact. I love words of affirmation, the OKC Thunder, Oklahoma State, tempos with v-necks, ice water, garage sales, budgeting and Blue Bell. Processing life and quality conversation make me tick. I'm simple yet complex all at the same time. My family and friends mean more to me than the world, but my identity lies in Christ.

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