Surprise! A Lesson in Faith.

“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.”

This past Sunday (Jul.24th) my son turned 9. (I’m still in awe at how fast the years are flying by.) Now, birthdays are a big deal to me so my family, friends and I planned a surprise party for him to celebrate his final year in the single digits.

Now if you know 9 year olds you know this was no easy task because all the while I’d been planning, he’d been bugging me about what we would do this year. He threw out an array of suggestions: a water park, Dave and Busters, a birthday party in summer camp and so on. I just kept saying “I don’t know but we’ll see. It will be fun.”  Of course that didn’t stop the barrage of questions. But I would simply respond with questions of my own:

“Have I ever let you down.”

“Don’t you always have fun on your birthday?”

“For the 8 years you’ve been alive have you ever had a boring birthday?”

And each time he answered no, my response was the same. “Well, just trust me.”

The day before the party my sister and I did some last minute shopping and we took my son as well as my niece along with us. My niece is 9 as well and so it was her duty to distract him while we shopped for party decorations and favors. It was all so much fun and excitement doing all of the planning and preparation while he was totally clueless as to what was going on!

On Sunday morning I told him he’d be going to his dad’s house in the afternoon and they would celebrate with him there. Of course, that little decoy was only so we could get him out of the house so I could decorate and set things up. He wasn’t too happy about it but I promised him when he got back home it would be fun.

However, throughout the day nothing would pacify him, no matter how many trust me’s and assurances and hugs I gave him. Finally in tears he said, “Mommy this is not a fun birthday at all, it’s the worst day ever.” And with that he went to sleep.

My heart broke.

I so badly wanted to end it and tell him just to get him out of his misery. But I knew I couldn’t do that because I’d ruin the surprise. It hurt me to see him suffering like that on his special day but I also knew that when he saw the party we planned for him it would more than make up for it. Shortly after, my mom called and I told her what happened – almost in tears myself. Unbothered, she said, “Don’t tell him. Just let it be. It will be even sweeter when he realizes what you have been planning all of this time.”

And so it was.FullSizeRender

When he walked in the door later that evening, we all yelled “Surprise!” and he looked around and saw all his friends and family and all the sports themed decorations and balloons, he was speechless. He was just grinning and jumping and my heart was overflowing with love at seeing his little face just so overcome with joy.

My “last year in the single digits” surprise party went off without a hitch and boy did we have fun!

Now – If you’re perceptive, then you’ve probably already seen where I’m going with this. Because as the night was over and I was thanking God for his provisions and a successful party for my child, he revealed to me:

See, I am you and you are Jaylen. And no matter how many times I ask you to remember, no matter how many times I remind you that I’ve never failed you yet, you still worry and fall into sadness. And just like it broke your heart to see him so sad, so it breaks mine. Didn’t you wish he would just be happy and trust you? Didn’t it disappoint you that he didn’t trust your track record and your character? But regardless, like a good, good father so it pleases me to bring you into all that I have planned for you.

My response was what it’s always been. Tears. Because the realization that God would use my life and orchestrate a set of circumstances just to show me his heart, was truly overwhelming. See… there is this little promise the Lord made to me, quite some time ago and not seeing it come to fruition has had me on edge for the last few weeks. But in that moment with the Lord, I felt so filled with love. So assured. So affirmed.

Apparently my son wasn’t the only one in for a surprise that day.

So now I say to you: there are a lot of things that you are running around just frustrated about. And God is saying “it’s already done. I know the plans I have for you. Just be still. Just trust me.”

Well will you?



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