Birthday Gifts

Have you ever given a wishlist to God for your birthday?

I never have, but after He gave me some incredible gifts this year, I decided I would start asking!

God gave me an early birthday present this year and then a follow-up present on the birthday itself. First, you have to know that in high school I was able to run cross country on mountain trails, my favorite of which are single-tracks. I don’t think anyone besides God understands how much I love running on single-track trails, and I have missed it so much living here in TN. There are some trails like that here, but I have to drive a good distance for them, and I never have time with my two young kids. Lately, I’ve realized that it doesn’t hurt to ask God for the things that we want, asking in the knowledge that He CAN give anything but that He doesn’t HAVE to give anything. In light of that, I asked that if we ever moved, if it would be ok, that God would allow us to live near running trails.

About a week later, I was out on a long run, and I discovered a new field that I could run on, and then off of that, I saw a trail, so I turned onto it, not expecting much, and the trail kept going! It was a nothing other than a single-track trail that wound around about a mile through the woods–absolutely beautiful! You can believe that I was praising God for showing me these trails that meant so much to me!

About a week or so later, I was out on a hard run and injured my hamstring. I remembered how I had done that in college and how it had messed up most of one of my cross country seasons. I knew I could be out for a while, but I prayed for healing anyway. I was already signed up for a race on my birthday, and I prayed that God would allow me to race in it if it could glorify Him somehow. Two weeks before the race, I couldn’t even run two miles without having to limp all day afterwards. But the day of the race, I felt that He had given me the go-ahead to race (after a few days of running before the race), and that I wouldn’t get injured. I did it, and I had no pain in my hamstring! I didn’t get my best time ever, but I did get to place third overall for women, so He even helped me to race pretty well. What a birthday present!

God has been showing me through all of this and much more that I can ask Him for things and trust Him with the results. He may not answer yes every time, but after searching my motives (and asking Him to change any wrong motives), it sure doesn’t hurt to ask my good Father for some of His good gifts. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).

“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:2a and 3).

These verses are in context of asking for physical things, but how much more should we be asking for spiritual gifts?

This year, I have a short wish list of the top ways that I would love for God to change me spiritually, some of which are that I would be patient and unconditionally love my kids and that I would be slow to speak and quick to hear. I’ve tried doing some of these things by my own will, and I don’t get very far, so for my birthday, I’m asking for Him to completely change me!

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