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Birthday Pity Party


Last Sunday, we celebrated my birthday.  For me, a perfect birthday is not made up of presents, but is spending the whole day in quality time with my husband, son, daughter, daughter-in-law and son-in-law, playing outdoor games and just being together.   My favorite outdoor games are bean bag toss, Kan Jam (if you haven't played it you must!) and croquet.  I also love to play board games.  My son-in-law turned me on to cribbage which I really enjoy!

This year I was really hoping to play croquet at a gorgeous park that sits by the bay near our home. It was on my birthday two years ago that we had last gone to the park to play croquet.  I didn't think I was expecting too much to be able to "re-enact" this scenario for my birthday this year.  I had even expressed this desire to my daughter a few days before.

If we were frozen in time two years ago, this expectation would indeed have played out.  But much has changed since then.  My son now works Sundays until 3 p.m. and lives a half hour away making it hard to get together much before 5 p.m.  My daughter and son-in-law have a three month old baby, my precious granddaughter Lexi, and although she is a very easy baby, it is hard to make intentional plans between feedings and naps.

While we were waiting for my son and daughter-in-law to come over that evening, my daughter invited my husband and I to join she, my son-in-law and granddaughter for a walk at the park; the very park I wanted to play croquet at.  She asked us to meet them there.  In my mind I was thinking, "Oh!  Maybe she is going to surprise me with a match of croquet at the park."  My husband and I arrived at the park, but no croquet - just a walk...  I was very disappointed and allowed Satan to speak incredible negativity into my head.  "They don't care about you."  "They only care about themselves."  "You deserve better than this for all you do for their birthdays."  "All you wanted to do is play croquet, was that too much to ask??"  It wasn't pretty...   If you had been there that day and experienced the gorgeous weather; the beautiful setting of the park; how sweet my baby granddaughter was, and how fun my daughter and son-in-law were, you would be saying, "Karen!  What is your problem?!?"  Instead of enjoying the walk with my family, I was quiet and stewing...  Not my finest hour.  How old am I??  And all for croquet!

Later that evening, when my son and daughter-in-law arrived, they surprised me with a birthday present, my very own Kan Jam!  The rest of the evening I enjoyed with my family and had a few great games of Kan Jam.

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A few days later, the Lord gave me some insight into what I had experienced on my birthday...  and how love languages played into that.

For those of you who aren't familiar, Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages The following quote by Gary Chapman explains the premise of the book:

"After 30 years as a marriage counselor, I am convinced that there are five basic love languages - five ways to express love emotionally.  Each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved."

The Five Love Languages are:  words of affirmation; acts of service; receiving gifts; quality time; and physical touch]

The book uses questions to help the reader determine their own love language and that of their spouse/child.  As you can see by the categories above, it would be fairly easy to discern what makes someone else happy, just by spending time with them.

After reading the book and practicing the suggestions for my husband's particular love language, indeed I noticed a difference in how he responded to me which ultimately improved our marriage relationship.

In the process, I learned a lot about myself; what I crave emotionally to feel loved.

But here's something I've noticed too...  Unless a person is making a concerted effort to minister to their spouse's, parent's or child's particular love language, they will naturally demonstrate their "own love language" to them because they assume, "If I like it, they must too!"  And there certainly isn't anything wrong with feeling this way.

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you...  Matthew 7:12

I have certainly seen cases, for instance, where a person might be grumpy all the time, but when they are treated with kindness and love, something changes in their disposition and they start to reflect that same kindness and love back to the person who reached out to them in the first place.

But, in the case of married couples and parent/child relationships, I believe there is a benefit to speaking the other's love language.

I don't know why it is, but in those relationships, when our love languages are different from our spouse, parent or child, we just don't seem to get it!  We won't demonstrate the love language that they show towards us - a clue into the emotional desires of their own heart.  Instead, we continue to assume they will like what we do.

How loved we all would feel if we became students of our spouses, parents or children and intentionally acted upon the other person's love language while at the same time, reaching out to them with our own love language.  Not only would we be fulfilling their desire, but could actually encourage a natural flow of our own love language to manifest itself in them making for a more mutually fulfilling relationship.

My love language is primarily Acts of Service with Quality Time a close second.  My family members will tell you that I lean toward Acts of Service and Quality Time in my day to day interaction with them, yet no one in my immediate family has the same love language as me.

To me, a person's "actions speak louder than words".  Many times a sincere sentiment will be expressed to me, but the actions of the person do not go on to match their statement.   Eventually, I feel underappreciated and of little value to them whether it is true or not.

I also LOVE to spend time with my children.  It is one of my favorite places to be!  But adult children have their own busy lives, and intentionally planning quality time with me occurs less and less... which leaves me feeling neglected, emotionally distant, and I  admit it - resentful...

In reflecting upon these insights and how I felt on my birthday, I realized that my husband and children were just acting in their own love language which I think for most of them might actually be "receiving gifts".  They saw it as perfectly acceptable and wonderful to give good gifts.  And, of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!  But where "acts of service" and "quality time" speak more to me, I felt disappointed in how part of the day went.

In turn, when I am planning a special occasion for my husband or children, I am either service minded or quality time minded in my approach, but a gift might be all they would need to be perfectly happy with their day.

I hope this is all making sense.  The bottom line is that God created us all to be individuals, the hands and feet of the body of Christ, with different gifts and different desires that make up who we are and how we treat others.

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Whether we are single, away from family and loved ones or even in a loving family dynamic, there are times when we can still feel deprived in our primary love language.   Why?  Because we are wired to be ultimately fulfilled by the Greatest Love.

In Christ Jesus ALL the love languages are satisfied.

During seasons when you have not experienced "words of affirmation", remember that the Lord has written a love letter to you through the Holy Bible.  Lord, we know your Words bring life and healing to us.  1 Thessalonians 5:11  When you open up the pages, He will ALWAYS speak loving "words of affirmation" to you.

{God's Words of Affirmation}

I have loved you with an everlasting Love; Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.  Jeremiah 31:3

I love those who love Me. Proverbs 8:17

I am praying for {you}.  I am not praying for the world, but for those whom You have given Me.  John 17: 9

I have guarded {you} and not one of {you} has been lost.  John 17:12

And for {your} sake, I consecrate Myself, that {you} also may be sanctified in Truth.  John 17:19

I desire that {you} also... may be with Me where I am.  John 17:24

If  it's been a long time since someone has done something intentional for you just because, remember...

{God's Acts of Service}

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Greater love has no one than this:  to lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:28

If it's been a while since you have received a thoughtful gift, remember...

{God's Gifts}

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have Eternal Life.  John 3:16

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God lest anyone should boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-213

If you are longing to spend quality time with someone, remember...

{God's Quality Time}

Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with Me.  Revelations 3:20

I will also walk among you and be your God and you shall be My people.  Leviticus 26:12

I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. Exodus 29:45

And He said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.  Exodus 33:14

"Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," declares the Lord.  Zechariah 2:10

I will ask the Father and He will give you a Helper, that He may be with you forever.  John 14:16

If your body aches for a loving hug, remember all the Love God's touch has already brought to you.

{God's Physical Touch}

Jesus came and touched them.  "Get up", he said, "Don't be afraid".  Matthew 17:7

And He touched my mouth and said:  "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.  Isaiah 6:7

Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.  Jesus said, "Be clean!"  And immediately the leprosy left him.  Luke 5:12-16

Then the Lord put out His hand and touched my mouth.  And the Lord said to me, Behold I have put my Words in your mouth.  Jeremiah 1:9



I'm sure at some point in our lives, we have all had the pleasure of meeting a person who has the uncanny ability to make us feel extra special.  In the moment, they are genuinely and intentionally focused on us - like we are the most important person in their lives.

The children of God don't have to wait for that person to happen along, because...

God loves each of us as if there 
were only one of us.  
Augustine

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me Monday, Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryBlessings Counter Link-up Party,Faith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on WednesdayDance with Jesus Link-up

Comments

  1. Hi, Karen!
    Happy Birthday; may the Lord continue to shower you with blessings! I love spending time with my kiddos and feel so honored that we are priorities to them as well (at least the one's that live closeby). The other one calls often, tho!

    Great point to turn that love language around to our spouse. Tom is better at this than me. He is forever serving me and I need to hug him more! My girls and I are big on the love language concept as well and I can perceive sometimes how I can love others by the way they love me with theirs too.

    Your post makes perfect sense!

    Big Birthday hugs,
    Mary

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    1. Mary, Thank you so much for the birthday wishes.

      Thanks for your encouraging words. :-)

      It has been a blessing to have you visit!

      Delete
  2. Happy Birthday Karen...thank you for sharing and for reminding us that all of our love languages are met in Christ. I know how you feel and it isn't about how old we are....we can all feel hurt at any age when we get lonely or left behind in any way. I am with you...grateful that Jesus knows and can meet my needs fully.
    Happy Birthday Hugs from Shirley in Virginia

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    1. Shirley, Thank you for sharing your kindredness in this matter.

      Thank you for the birthday wishes!

      You have blessed me today!

      Delete
  3. what a great post. It's so important to keep these things in mind. I, like you, lean towards acts of service. I just love doing things with those I love.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your heart.

      I'm so glad you visited! :-)

      Delete
  4. I like how you connected Gary Chapman's love language to God, it's really cool to think of it like that :)

    Oh, and happy birthday!!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words and birthday wishes!

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  5. Happy Birthday. I love how you used what you have learned from Gary Chapman and applied it to your daily walk. This is a great discussion. I felt just like you too and experienced the exact feelings. I am going to look up the Love Language book. Please feel free to share with my readers at Literacy Musing Mondays this week at: http://www.maryanderingcreatively.com/literacy-musing-mondays-week-22/

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    1. Mary, thank you for such encouraging words and the invitation to join your link-up!

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  6. Yep! Makes perfect sense to me! Love languages are so very important--and I, too, find myself grumpy and disappointed when a loved one doesn't bother to spend time reaching out to me in my language. We definitely need to become 'students' of those closest to us in order to love them in a language that they understand and appreciate!

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    1. Thank your for sharing your thoughts.

      And thank you for visiting!

      Delete
  7. Happy Birthday! I am happy you were able to realize that the day was beautiful and you did enjoy some of it! It is hard to feel like our small requests are less than, but to God you are always enough!! Blessings to you this year!!

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    1. Marisa, indeed God's precious children.

      Thank you!

      May God bless you. 😊

      Delete
  8. Hi Karen, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I love Gary Chapman's book. Oh! what a wonderful read it is. You extracted beautiful scriptures for all the love languages too.
    God Bless you and your family

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    1. Thank you Ifeoma!

      There certainly are verses for every aspect of life. I remember hearing a Pastor once say that the Bible is "God's handbook for life". :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  9. Sounds like a wonderful day and some wonderful lessons learned in the process. Blessings! Finding your blog for the very first time today at Live free Thursdays.

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    1. Michele, So glad you found me! :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Loved your post! I could totally relate, as I have similar love languages to yours. :) Even though things don't go the way we hoped, I love that when we understand the heart of the giver, we can receive them with joy!

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    1. Thank you Diane!

      Yes, discerning the heart in all matters would definitely make our lives filled with more joy.

      So glad you stopped by!

      Delete
  11. Karen, Thank you so much for link up at Counting My Blessings. Happy Birthday to you as well. My love language is "words of affirmation." I remember my 40th Birthday, when my children were all ages where self focus was more important than helping mom through her insecurities about a milestone birthday. Whew! It wasn't pretty. Aren't you thankful for grace that covers even birthday blunders. I am. :-)

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    1. Thank you Deb!

      Indeed, praising God for His grace! :-)

      So glad you visited!

      Delete
  12. Hey there Karen, thank you for sharing your heart with us at Good Morning Mondays. I think maybe we have all felt like you did and have had birthdays like that. My birthday is after Christmas, when there is usually no money and no spontaneous ideas, sometimes it is hard and yes it is not pretty. Blessings

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    1. Terri, thank you for sharing your story too.

      Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  13. Hi Karen! Thanks for linking up with #GiveMeGrace this week. I'm new to the work of Gary Chapman but found the book recently in a giveaway stack at a local church. I've shared in my blog how this has been a tough year of marriage. Identifying our individual languages has been helpful. I like how you point all of this to Christ and His love language for us. Great word/ work!

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    1. Ite so good to hear that you have found help in recognizing love languages. Thank you for sharing.

      Thank you for your kind words. 😊

      Delete

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