august 29

This must be the best birthday I ever had. And I truly mean this statement with all honesty.

Contrary to our usual practice, my family and I did not go out to dine in a fancy restaurant that day. I just had lunch with an old friend and then attended my usual Sunday cell group. My ever loving gift-giver auntie gave me a top and sossy hand gel from Bath and Body – the only wrapped gift I received that day. There was no SurpRiza surprise party that night or any kind of party whatsoever. There was no birthday dinner or birthday lunch whatsoever. Except for the surprise cake from my lifenet group, everything was quite status quo!

By the way, the surprise cake was quite surprising because it read:

Best Wishes Daniel and Riza…

(Daniel is another cell group member and he’s going home to Germany on Saturday. Thus, the cake was supposed to be a combined “birthday” and “goodbye” cake. Birthday for me, goodbye for Daniel. Putting “Best Wishes” instead was Jezreel’s evil idea with all the pun intended. Tsk tsk. Daniel and I also treated the group to some Fruits in Ice Cream.)

I was not really expecting any cake at all and so that came in pleasantly. I was not expecting anything. And nothing unexpected came and it was so okay. But throughout the day, I felt so loved. The best thing that ever happened to my life is Jesus. And he still is happening right now. Last August 29, I was so aware of His presence and I just had this inner knowing in my spirit that to know the depths of His love and what it has purchased for me is more than enough a present to keep the joy flowing throughout my lifetime. Presents, surprises, miracles, seemed lovable but still pale compared to that inexpressible joy of knowing that a king loves you and gave his life for you. I was satisfied. But God has his way of adding to your already filled up cup…

Aside from my aunt’s gift and the cake, there were two other gifts that came. The last one came in just this morning. The other one almost brought me to tears that night.

I came home that day excited to check youtube for a video my friend Meech created for my birthday. (Friends from far away have a special way of winning the competition of trying to make you feel they’re just close by…) I was speechless after watching the video. My friend is not a videographer but it seemed she just suddenly gained the skill and received Holy Spirit anointing to do this. I’d like to honor my friend by sharing this video. Thanks Meech, you are soooo appreciated!

The other birthday gift is a photo that’s too embarrassing to post… =P It’s a picture of a popular Christian personality holding a piece of paper with a birthday greeting addressed to my name. Add funny smile on his face. A gift all the way from Mindanao. It almost sent me to tears laughing even through my prayer time this morning. =))

The birthday celebration is not yet over… (may pahabol pa actually this week) and it actually started quite early with a month early gift from Jazz. In stark contrast to last year’s SurpRiza Party, one may think that this one sounds quite bleak. But truth is, this August 29, 2010, made me feel giddy with joy because the absence of outward glitter made me realize the security that is inside me shines stronger than the material sources of satisfaction. And the friends around me who tried their best to send their love across the miles, made the joy twice felt.

“The greatest gift anyone can have is the gift of God’s presence. We can’t improve on God, He is already perfect & all sufficient. I love God” JMA


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