A gift wrapped in paper and tied with string

I turned forty recently. It’s real and unreal at the same time. I like to joke about it with my friends and say that I finally am an adult now and must set aside my childish ways, having achieved quadragennial status (as my husband puts it) aka four crazy decades packed with more experiences that many in my own family and friend circle have experienced.

As I lay in bed, half asleep on the eve of my birthday, I asked God for the birthday gifts of knowing Him more, hearing His voice and for a closer walk with Him. I woke up the next morning having forgotten what I’d asked and instead wondering if I was to act differently than my usual crazy self now that I am forty. Should I be more serious? Seem more knowledgable? Nah! That’s not me.

The day was fast and fabulous! To have the best husband in the world who treated my like a queen all day, to have an amazing gang of friends who are really my family here in a country that is not my own, to experience my first ever surprise birthday party complete with entering a darkened room and everyone shouts “surprise!!” (something I’ve only ever seen in the movies!), to getting birthday videos from beloved friends and family from all over the world – Whoo! I am blessed!

I went to bed that night feeling shalom. I woke up the next morning with two things:

  • having heard the audible voice of God say Isaiah 55:1 as I slept
  • a migraine!

I initially put all that in one sentence, but the migraine doesn’t deserve to be in the same sentence with something as amazing as hearing God speak!

Back to Isaiah 55 verse 1. I looked it up and OMG I was mind-blown. Check it:

Invitation to an Abundant Life

“Listen! Are you thirsty for more?
Come to the refreshing waters and drink.
Even if you have no money,
come, buy, and eat.
Yes, come and buy all the wine and milk you desire—
it won’t cost a thing.

The answer to what I’d asked God for on my birthday eve! To know God more, hear His voice and to walk closely with Him is the definition of an abundant life! Goosebumps!

As I delved deeper, I found that the verse was a call to my seeking and yearning heart to come to the oasis of peace and to the quiet brook of bliss and receive the gift of God– a drink from the living water that leads to a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit that would end up flowing out of me. An invitation to receive the  pure nourishment of God’s Word so I can grow in salvation.

To translate that into non-Christian language sans jargon, it is an invitation to the person that finds no satisfaction from anything this world has to offer and who is seeking something higher and better that only God can give. It is a free gift to find something so pure that it will cause the person to be satisfied forever, never having to need anything else. Something that only God can give.

As I ponder this supernatural birthday experience, I realize that while it will never be possible to find enough or the right words to express all that I am learning from what God has spoken through just this one verse, the blessing of this encounter has been more valuable than the events of the whole day combined (precious as they were).

What can be more amazing than to hear the voice of the God of the universe, the God of angel armies, the God who created heaven and earth? Nothing. What does it mean to know that God hears and answers our prayers, even the half-asleep ones? Everything.

In the end I am reminded of the child I truly am and always will be– a child of God filled with wide-eyed wonder at a heavenly Father who gives the best birthday gifts a daughter could ask for.