Last year, I blogged about Ava's spiritual birthday, and I believe I probably blogged about Lukas' as well. In case you missed the explanation, I'll give a brief recap. When anyone chooses to believe in Jesus and asks him into their heart, we believe they are reborn. Once, when I was a teenager, I was staying with a friend, Sarah, when her mom prepared a cake and special meal to celebrate her spiritual birthday, or the day on which she asked Jesus into her heart. I absolutely loved the idea, so, when our kids took this step of faith, we decided to celebrate each year with them just like Sarah's family did.. They'll always be able to look back and recall the exact date on which they chose to live their life with Jesus in their heart, something that I can't really do. It's not a big deal to me that I don't have that information. I know I was 8 years old and that I prayed to accept Jesus during children's church.I can remember that day and can even tell you it was cold and dreary and that an elderly man helped me to pray the prayer (at least he seemed elderly to my 8 year old mind). I still think it's pretty special to have the exact date, especially since our kiddos were both so little when they made their most important life decision.
Today we celebrated before Eric had to head off to work with an Italian meal and cake, as Ava prefers. She wanted a funfetti cake, which must be my least favorite cake ever, which says a lot since I'm not a cake person to begin with. I debated on decorating it for her, but then I decided to bake it, color the frosting and let the kids go to it. I didn't even take the cakes out of the pans. I colored the frosting in four different colors, filled some piping bags, gave them something with which to spread the frosting, and that was that. They had a blast.
After decorating the cakes, we sang to Ava our own little version of Happy Birthday.
Jesus loves you,
And you love Him too,
Happy birthday dear Ava,
'Cuz Jesus loves you!
She loves this attention of course, but that is so not the point. The point is celebrating the fact that she is part of the kingdom of God and the growth that we've seen in her throughout the past year. Ava has always been inquisitive about God and the Bible. If she thinks of it, she does not hesitate to ask about it. I love this about her. I'm a more timid person myself, so I am always proud of her for asking whatever is on her mind. During this past year, I have watched as her faith became even more her own. She believes in Jesus with all her heart. She began memorizing scripture more and more, and she is extremely proud of this fact. Over a year ago, she began to ask about being baptized, and we were able to have her baptized in June (which you may know from following my blog). She knew exactly why she needed and wanted to be baptized, which is an incredible blessing.
Ava loves to listen to the Bible on CD as well as other stories based on Biblical principles like Adventures in Odyssey and Story Hour CDs. Some of her favorite songs to sing during family devotions are Jump Into the Light and Happy Day complete with lots of motions and jumping around.
Ava has also enjoyed some service opportunities throughout the past year helping me to deliver for Meals on Wheels, occasionally ministering with the kids' worship team for special events and performing in a Christmas musical. She is most honored when one of the children's pastors at church asks her to help them with something, and she is always the first to volunteer for almost anything. God is definitely growing her little servant's heart. She is helpful at home too. I love this about her. Serving is something we all need to do better, and seeing this desire grow in Ava's little heart over the past year has been a joy to watch.
Of all days to make special, I challenge other parents to help your child to remember times like this. It not only teaches your child how important this step of faith is, but it shows them what your personal values are. It also gives you an opportunity to lavish some love on your child on a day other than their traditional birthday. We don't give gifts on spiritual birthdays as they've already received the most important gift. That's why we celebrate. We never want them to forget that they have accepted the most important gift which they'll ever receive.