Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Hubby's Surprise 50th Birthday party!

My gorgeous Hubby at his surprise 50th birthday party!
 My husband Ben has thrown me two surprise parties this year. One was for my birthday, and the other one was less than a month later for my college graduation. I can say, without a doubt, that I was totally and completely surprised. My husband has never had a surprise party in his life. No one has EVER been able to pull it off for him. He notices everything and pays too much attention to details. It's hard to get things past him. I was determined to throw him a surprise party for his big MILESTONE birthday though, and I refused to accept defeat. Especially since he made a comment a few weeks ago that I couldn't pull of a surprise party. Anyone who knows me knows that I take comments like that as a challenge to prove people wrong ;)

Two of Ben's centerpieces. Filled with Hot Tamale candy and Hershey Kisses =) There were balloons tied onto them but the kids had hijacked by the time I had gotten around to taking pictures;)
 The biggest problem for me was figuring out WHEN to throw his party. Our schedules are so crazy that it is hard to schedule anything- let alone a surprise party. We had tentative plans to go camping with his brother the week I decided to plan the party, but I didn't know until the last minute if we were going or not. We had numerous crisis this week as well, and a lot of the plans we had to do thing as a couple got put on the backburner in order to help people. Things change so quickly in the type of ministry we are in that planning anything (and actually being able to go through with it) is quite a feat. So I had to come up with some way to plan him a surprise party that I knew I could get him to NO MATTER WHAT. Now, if there's one thing I know about my husband, it's that he makes a point to keep his commitments to ministry engagements. This Friday, three days before his actual birthday, there was a worship outreach concert being held in a local park, and they were specifically reaching out to drug addicts. My husband and I were scheduled as guests. And I knew I had the perfect spot for his party. I knew he would make a point of showing up, regardless of where the circumstances of the day brought us. We were going to throw his party DURING a ministry event, so I could be sure he'd show up!
Arriving at the park. In the first picture, he is starting to realize what is going on. In the second picture, he's sure of it, as our friend carries his lit birthday cake towards him. In the third picture, he uses all of his lung power to blow out the fireball that is created when you have 50 candles lit on a cake simultaneously =)
I could have never pulled the whole thing off without my Co-Conspirators Jessica and Malissa from CROSSroads. We spend days having secret party planning meetings, going on shopping trips where they took everything home with them in their cars so Ben wouldn't see party supplies in the house, coordinating facebook event invites and ride schedules and menu items. Jessica even baked Ben a GORGEOUS German chocolate birthday cake with Pecans and homemade frosting- because there was no way I was going to be able to hide a sheet cake in the house!On the day of the party, they left and set everything up at the park, brought all of the food, and reserved the tables while Ben and I were getting ready to leave for the concert. And Ben never suspected a thing. Imagine that- a bunch of female drug addicts being able to sneak around , plot and hide things in order to have their purposes prevail. Talk about harnessing your powers for good now instead of evil!

Ben's amazing German Chocolate birthday cake- and him cutting it with the Cake Lady herself ;)
 The look on my husband's face was worth every second of planning, of plotting, of running around. He was truly surprised, and I am so thankful that I could do something to make him so happy. He deserves it more than anyone I know. He is so self-sacrificial- always putting others before himself,
putting his needs last, and adjusting his schedule to meet everyone else's. He gives and gives of himself and expects nothing in return. He always makes sure that everyone else realizes how important, special, and valuable they are to God- and it's important that he always remembers that about himself as well. He has been such an enormous blessing in the lives of others, and the least we could do was make sure that he was blessed for his 50th birthday.

Ben speaking with some guests and opening up his FAVORITE birthday gift (courtesy of yours truly)- the SECOND set of the Star Wars Trilogy movies on both blu ray and DVD to go with the first set of trilogy movies that I got him for father's day- now he owns all 6 on 12 discs and looks like a kid in a candy store!
I m so honored to be the bride of this amazing, Godly man. I thank God every day for him bringing Ben into my life and blessing us with a beautiful family and amazing ministry. I am so grateful that Ben is even standing here. He shouldn't be- he should have died in his addiction, but God knew what he was doing. As horrible as it was, I am so thankful that God allowed him to go through his addiction. It taught him empathy, compassion, and how to depend on and seek God in a way that is unheard of for most people. He was in such utter darkness that it allowed him to see the light of God in all of its glory. The light shines the brightest in the darkest places, and it's in the dark places that you see just what the light is capable of. He knows that he is nothing without God, because he has been nothing without God. His addiction allowed him to make mistakes in his relationships with significant others and children that he was in turn able to learn from and be sure he didn't repeat with me and Justin. His addiction enabled him to find out what matters in life, and that everything is meaningless if it's not done for the glory of God. It gave him a heart for the broken- because he was broken. He has compassion for the lost and hurting, because he knows what it feels like to be in their shoes. And- last but not least- it prepared him to deal with me and my craziness. He is a much better person coming out of addiction than he was before he went through it. Addiction can turn out to be a blessing if you hand if over to God and allow him to fill your broken places that the drugs couldn't. If you give God the same priority as the drugs, you will have a mind-blowing relationship with him and be sold out to him in a way that religion could never make you. And that's our hope for every addict we come into contact with at CROSSroads- that they will see that no matter how far gone, how hopeless, how desperate the situation- no matter the mistakes, the past, or the damage left in their wake- God holds true to his promises that he will work it all for our good (and the good of others) if we allow him to. We can be much better people on the other side of addiction before we went in. My husband is living proof of that.

Are we having fun yet???
All in all, things ended up going off without a hitch. For a good portion of the day we were worried we were going to have to cancel because we were experiencing severe thunderstorms, but God heard our prayers for the rain to stop and granted our requests for the rain to stop (oh, the little ways that God lets you know he loves you! He cares about every little detail- even it being dry on your special day!)

A deck of cards made into a book from Justin and I. Each card has a reason why we love him, and there's 50 of them.

 To make it even better- my hubby got to listen to a two hour worship concert after his party! Who else is special enough to get a live band at their birthday party? ;) Plus, we got to bring community awareness to the cause that is near and dear to our hearts and our lives' mission- drug addiction, and the fact that there's freedom in Christ. I know that there is no other way my dear husband would rather spend his birthday. Surrounded by people he loves, preaching the gospel, and seeing the broken restored. That's who my husband is. And that's why I'm so grateful for his birth 50 years ago.

Concert after the party, and my husband and I along with other members of the recovery community being introduced to the crowd. 

Here's to 50 more!