Children: The Gospel’s Gift to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me! by Stephan Britt

Half of our family was born in February. At one time I called it “birthday month.” When the children were young, it was party month. Maybe the new name ought to be a month for thankfulness.

When my children were young I spent much of my time hand making party favors, games, cakes and goodies. When they grew older the parties changed and the way I spent my time changed too. In their teen years I concentrated my efforts on a special meal they liked and a cake. Sometimes they chose to have a friends over and sometimes they just wanted it to be the six of us.

The cakes have been so varied over the years. I’ve made a soccer ball cake, Winnie the Pooh race car driver, Big Bird, football, oh my, the list goes on. We’ve had traditional cakes, cookie recipes turned into cakes, banana pudding as the cake- that was so yummy-, a cake made with layers and layers of fruit with whipped cream as the icing. We had a chocolate pound cake without icing once. I think sharing the cake equals love in our family.

One thing hasn’t changed in the last 26 years of celebrating birthdays with my children and that is how grateful I feel that they were born. On their birthday, I tell them happy birthday of course but the phrase I say to them that means the most to me is, “I’m so glad you were born.” Having children isn’t some kind of right that is guaranteed. I tell you the truth, the good that these chidden have brought to me, I do not deserve and yet God graced me with them. When a child is born, he or she is here on purpose and a special gift from God on loan for his good pleasure. Each one is unique and offers opportunities for growth and change for the glory of God.

My children have taught me many things, too many to share them all in this post or a thousand posts, but here are few things that without them, I would not be the person you see today.

My first born, Mallari, taught me the value of getting up and moving at the same time every morning. She was awake and ready for breakfast at 7 am sharp for years. I didn’t schedule her, she scheduled me. This was very hard as I had been a night owl all my life. She brought many adjustments to my life and I was undone at my inability to be a mother. I had to cry out to God to make me a mother worthy of his kingdom. I started getting up an hour before her so I could read his word and hope he would make me into a mother that glorified him. For 26 years I’ve risen early, spent time with the Lord and moved on with my day. It started with Mal’s birth.

My second daughter, Matti, taught me the simple lesson that a hug and a song make everything better. Doesn’t God say that life is in his presence? And his word is a song? Hum… Interesting…. She gave me the gospel without knowing it, but God knew what he was doing.

James, number three, from the very beginning taught me that life is good. He was a premie but after he gained weight and his health improved, he was and still is the most pleasant person I know. He teaches me that life isn’t about me but the service of others. With ease, he submits to life and its challenges. There is a wisdom in him that God uses over and over to show me life is good even when circumstances are tough.

Jon, my last child, taught me that children are a gift from God and not of our own choosing. His name, Jonathan, means gift from God. He is strong minded and full of mercy. This contrast is interesting to me. Many strong personality types don’t appear to be merciful and many mercy type personalities can come off as weak. Jon is both. Exactness is important to him and his heart pains him when he sees suffering of any kind. The two qualities almost seem paradoxical on the surface. What I’ve learned from him is not to judge the book by it’s cover, “You must LISTEN, which means watch, hear, and think before speaking, in order to LOVE.” This rings true in Jesus’ message to the disciples.

What have your children taught you that makes you a better person?


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  1. interesting! my strongest willed child (overtly) is the one who is also full of mercy. she often came up with interesting and creative gifts at xmas too…yes, as a child!

    from my children i have also learned that just b/c a child seems compliant, doesn’t mean they are with me or even agree. they may just not want to get into a disagreement so will let it slide. finding ways to explore where they are became helpful in teaching them. NOT to be like me or even agree all the time, but to understand…are they with GOD or against HIM?

    • Excellent insights Martha. I know you well enough to know you praise God for all the ways your children were used to conform you to the image of God. He is so amazing.

  2. Hey Ali!! I love this post – it’s lovely to hear how different your children are – and how you embraced their individuality! My girls have taught me patience,grace and wonder 🙂

    • Aurie, girls are masters at teaching their mothers patience and grace. I love their ability to open my wondering eyes the best. They see the world through the most romantic eyes.

  3. Hi Ali!

    I have two grown sons. And the one thing that they have taught me that stands out amongst others is generosity. They have always been generous with their affections, time and the helping of others. They are truly people that their father and I are very proud of. Love, love, love them. 🙂

    Thanks for asking!

    • What a testimony of love you have. I’ve always felt my children are more generous with their time and affections than I deserve but it has taught me how desperately I need to keep life slow enough to love others.

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