This past weekend, Lydia and I flew to Illinois for my mom’s 60th birthday. My sister and I threw her a party, but since I live twelve hours away, planning was a team effort!
My mom worked over thirty years as a florist, arranging flowers for weddings, holidays, and funerals. She was always saddened by the fact people typically only send flowers after someone has died. So, Mom wanted this party to be a celebration of her life while she’s still here to enjoy it.
Why wait until someone dies to show your love?
It seemed fitting that people came to honor my mom this weekend! She loves to encourage others, and gives accordingly. Many people have benefited from Mom’s kindness and generosity over the years. Indeed, she inspires me to use my own gifts to serve others!
The party was an open house, and Mom requested no gifts. Instead, she asked for donations of canned items to the local food bank. (See the last picture below!)
Even on her birthday, my mom was thinking of others!
I knew we would have a good time, because my family knows how to have fun! But, the party was even better than I could have expected. Everything turned out perfectly.
It was a good reminder for me to just let God take care of our ‘plans.’ He always does an excellent job of providing just what we need!
As I looked around the party room, I could see evidence of God’s grace. The food was plentiful and delicious. But really, the atmosphere was key. The mood was warm and welcoming, inviting everyone to sit and stay awhile.
The relationships were what made the party special!
In our small farming community, we knew some people wouldn’t make it because of the Harvest. Even so, we were so glad a few farmers left their fields early to come to the party. (That rarely happens because time is so precious!)
It’s a busy time of year, and some people couldn’t make it due to previously scheduled trips or other events. That’s understandable! Still, we still had a steady stream of people throughout the night. In fact, one couple postponed their special anniversary trip because they “wouldn’t miss it for anything.” 😀
I enjoyed seeing people at the party that I haven’t seen in quite awhile. It was exciting to catch up with dear family and friends. (Since I moved away six years ago, I don’t always stay in the loop.) I also loved meeting newer friends and introducing them to Lydia!
On Saturday night, we had a wide variety of backgrounds present. It was another instance of God’s grace bringing so many people together for a common purpose. Praise God!
I even saw people sitting together that never would have done so previously. People were laughing to the point of tears, overflowing with gratitude. Only God could have restored those relationships—and what an awesome job He has done!
Throughout the evening, I heard comments, such as, “We haven’t been to a party in forever!” or “What a great reason to get together and celebrate!” Sometimes, we can focus on surviving the daily grind or acquiring more stuff, instead of what’s really important.
It’s also tempting to focus on what is ‘wrong’ in our lives…what is not going well, who slighted us, or how we will make ends meet. But none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.
My mom’s birthday party was so much fun! She has spent years encouraging others, and so many people showed up in her honor. It was amazing to see!
As the evening came to a close, my very wise mother said, “People are our treasures—the only gifts that will last. We can always get more stuff, but people cannot be replaced.”
Let’s remember to celebrate one another more often!
God, thanks for the relationships You have given us. Please help us to be an encouragement to others and use our gifts as a blessing to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Questions: How can you use your gifts and talents to be an encourager?
Task: Write a thank you note to someone—or call them just to catch up!