Sunday, February 13, 2011


This post was written by Jenifer Peterson. She and her family just spent a few months in Swaziland ministering and will soon be returning to live there for two years.

My little girl turns 13 today! My heart aches just a little as I say that, however, for the most part I feel full of gratitude and joy. When your kids are born and you look into their eyes it feels as though you have forever with them. There are days (and many, many nights!) with a newborn in the house when it feels like time is standing still. More midnight feedings? More smelly diapers? More Cheerios to vacuum out of the back of the minivan? Really?

Yet, time really does move at warp speed. You blink, it seems, and your 8 pound baby girl is taller than you are (well....almost!)

Earlier this afternoon I was frosting Claire's birthday cake. I was getting frustrated as crumbs from the cake were breaking off and getting mixed in with the icing. As I grumbled under my breath and carefully picked the stray bits out of the creamy confection, I caught myself remembering something a friend shared recently about Swazi birthday greetings. In Swaziland it is traditional to be told on your birthday: "Today you grow up," followed by a blessing: "may you live to see your children's children." In a country where the average life expectancy is 32 years old and the HIV infection rate plagues between 45-50% of the population, this 'blessing' could be considered to be more like 'wishful thinking'. Really makes getting bent out of shape over crumbs in my icing seem, rather, miniscule. Trivial. Silly.

Tonight, as Claire blows out the 13 candles on that imperfect cake and makes a wish, I will close my eyes with her. For my beautiful daughter, I wish she will continue to grow up into her inheritance as a child of the Most High, Heavenly King. That she will know how great is the Father's love for her. That she will never settle for any cheap imitation of that love. I pray that she realizes the unique privilege of being called to return to Swaziland and share that love with the children there. And yes, I will pray that she lives to see her children's children. This is the kind of thing I don't take for granted anymore! Before the glow of the candles disappears, I will also whisper a prayer for 'our kids' in Swaziland. Birthday cakes and presents are luxuries that most of them will never experience. Growing old and living to see their children's children should not fall into the category of luxury items. God has a plan and purpose for their lives, just as sure as He has for Claire's, for mine and for yours. Please join me in praying that simple birthday blessing for all God's kids today: may they live to see their children's children!

To read more about the Peterson's ministry in Swaziland, visit their blog:

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