I enjoy a lot of things. Traditionally, my birthday has not been one of them.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m immensely grateful for my parents who brought me into this world (and the amazing parties they have thrown for me), for every day I get to live and breathe, and especially for the abundant and eternal life God has given me.
My dislike of the birthday celebration boils down to two things.
1) I do not like to be the center of attention. This has been true since…well, even before that seemingly traumatic incident at Disney World when I was picked out of a crowd and serenaded. Oddly, I’m perfectly comfortable performing or teaching. Otherwise, please focus your attention elsewhere.
2) I just don’t like getting older. No, I’m not looking for the fountain of youth or hunting for hallows. It’s just that at age 6 I declared I was done growing up, and not much has changed. (I think I just loved life the way it was.) In recent years, I have learned to better cope with this fact of life (permission to hum a theme song granted). Still, I declare my spirit to be younger than I am in years.
Recently, I have decided that perhaps the best way to address these issues is by changing how I celebrate a birthday. With a new perspective, the focus can be shifted away from me and to leaving a legacy.
I’m starting small. To celebrate this year, I have made a different kind of wish list. There are organizations to give to if you are the donating type and items to buy if you are the support-a-business type. What better way to celebrate life than to give or support these life-giving efforts.
My friend Paula is an ambassador for Noonday Collection. This past weekend I had an unexpected opportunity to hear from her about this business and see their products. What began as an adoption fundraiser for one family has grown to a fair trade business supporting artisans and their communities across the globe. If you like accessories of any kind, you can find something in this collection whether for yourself or as a gift.
Freeset, another fair trade business, is committed to offering employment to those who have been enslaved by human traffickers and part of the sex trade industry in Calcutta, India. There story is best told on their website. Read their story and about their philosophy full of mercy and justice.
Passion lights up a face like nothing else. Tyler, Allison, Kristen and any other who left a piece of their heart in Iquitos, Peru will light up like the sun when they talk about their boys. This began with a couple college kids keeping promises to some previously forgotten little boys and has grown into a non-profit currently building their first family-style bungalow for these kids where they will be loved and nurtured.
These guys periodically put on art and jewelry shows to raise funds (as they happen to be talented and have talented friends), but you can make a donation any time via the website. Don’t you want to be a part of breaking a cycle and building hope?
Again, a couple people with a heart for sharing the life-changing power of God recognized a need and saw way to meet it. A few people partnered with them, volunteered with them, and ministered alongside them. Then a few more did the same. And a few more. Lives in need in the Birmingham area are being changed by the love and grace of God through faithful relationship building. Here is the idea.
Read more and watch the videos that tell their story. Urban Purpose is a non-profit supported by donations. Consider giving them a one-time gift or supporting them with an on-going monthly commitment.
That’s the wish list for this year.
Happy Birthday to all!
P.S. If you decide to gift anything in celebration of my birthday this year, please leave a comment, send me an email, or let me know somehow. I want to be able to say thank you!