A couple weeks ago I got to celebrate the 16th birthday of a girl who is an orphan.We call them foster kids in America, but I think the bible would call them orphans.A friend of mine has decided to pour her heart and time into this girl’s life, and she is actively helping rewrite this little girl’s story.

It’s really beautiful.

My friend decided to throw this girl a surprise birthday party for her 16th birthday.She asked a couple other friends to be there, who asked some of the high school students at my church to be there, and when it was all said and done about 25 people showed up for this girls sweet 16.

25 people who had only encountered this girl a couple times

25 people who decided that on this Friday night, they would be doing something for someone else.

What transpired that evening is something I will never forget.


I arrived at the party about twenty minutes after the surprise had happened, the kids were eating and enjoying themselves and I walked over to ask my friend how the surprise had gone. My friend told me that when she asked the girl if this was her first surprise birthday party,the girl responded,

“this is my first birthday party ever.”


16 years old.

Never one, single birthday party.

16 years old.

Not a single gift.

16 years old

No candles to blow out.

16 years old.

No car waiting in the driveway.

16 years old.

No song of celebration ringing in her ears.

16 years old.

“This is my first birthday party ever”

As her words echoed in my mind the rest of the night, the cake was brought out and the candles were lit.

Everyone started singing Happy Birthday

A song that was clearly written for this moment

for this girl.

And then she bent down to blow out her candles and make a wish, her first birthday wish.

As she blew the candles out, they relit themselves.

(They were the trick candles, and so the only way to put them out is to stick them in water.)

Confused, She blew them out again

They relit

She blew them out again

They would relight

After she continued this process, I started realizing the redemption in this moment.

Every time she blew out the candles, they would relight.

Redeeming all those missed wishes

Redeeming all those lonely, quiet birthdays.

Redeeming what she had lost.

There are moments in this life where God’s kingdom is very evident,

and in the smoke from the candles

I witnessed it.

In the laughter, and joy that was in the room

I witnessed it.

God is alive in birthday parties for orphans.

Though I don’t think she can be defined by that title anymore.

Because orphans feel alone,

And this little girl does not.

My friend is redefining and redeeming this girl’s story.

And it is a very beautiful thing.

Christ in us, the hope of glory.