Thursday, April 4, 2013

13th Birthday- 13 Presents!

My niece is turning thirteen years old this month and I think it's a pretty substantial birthday. I know we celebrate the sweet sixteen, the 18th and the 21st, but becoming a teenager is pinnacle too. So, with that, I wanted to give her a gift that would not only encourage her spiritually, but also one that she would remember.
 I came up with giving her 13 presents.
Not just any 13 presents, but 13 gifts that had a spiritual lesson
 or scripture verse attached to each.
Now, to think of thirteen things!!!

I first thought of my favorite scriptures and tried to think of some gift  that would go with each Scripture. The following is the list of the thirteen items and scriptures I used for her.The gifts are more about the scripture and the lesson than it is about the actual present.
 I wrote out each scripture onto a card and attached it to the wrapped gift.
I hope you might be encouraged to do it for some young person in your life. 
The presents all wrapped up.

1) The first of the 13 gifts is a planter. I wanted to put all the gifts into a basket of some sort, but then remembered the scripture of how God is the potter and we are the clay. I thought how perfect it would be if I could find a container made of clay...I couldn't. So, I found a planter. I put all the gifts inside of it.

The Scripture I used was:  Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand."

We are clay in the hands of God. He will mold us and form us into His image, if we allow Him. The molding make take years or may be tough going if we resist. But our God is gentle and patient. His work yields beauty in us.

2) The second gift is a devotional. I thought to get her a Bible, but knew she already had one. What gift is better than a devotional when trying help a young teenager to follow after God daily?   

The Scripture I used is found in Luke 11:28  (NIV)

28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

(This devotional is from the movie, The Bible, that appeared on the History Channel). 

The following gifts are not given in any particular order. 

3) With this gift I thought about when we are loving the Lord and are filled with His joy how much we smile. I know when I see people who truly have the love of Jesus in them they are shining His love and joy where ever they go. I thought...'Smiling'--teeth--toothpaste! 

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16  (NIV)

4) I wanted to encourage her to stay pure and clean for God. The gift was easy- body wash. 

The scripture I used comes from Hebrews 10:22-23 (NIV) "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

(Yes, it is to be clean and pure in our hearts, not bodybefore God, but I thought each day that she uses the body wash it could remind her to stay pure before the Lord in her heart).

5) My niece is very talented. She can sing, play the violin, sew and do endless amounts of crafts. I thought this next gift could remind her that she is a part of the body of Christ and her gifts are from God. I wanted to encourage her to use her gifts for God and the body.

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Romans 12:4-5).

6) One thing that I wanted to remind her or encourage her about is having a teachable heart. So many times, throughout my life, I was either to insecure (prideful) to listen to a word of correction. Sometimes I was too afraid of change and wouldn't allow myself to be taught. Having a teachable heart is so important. God has placed certain people in our lives that He wants to use for our good. My heart is to encourage her to be teachable all throughout her life, so, I bought her a chalk board

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5 (NIV)

7) This next gift I actually thought of first. An eraser. My niece has just begun her life- she is going to make mistakes. The important thing to remember is that Christ died for us and has taken our sins away-we need only confess our sin and we are forgiven. I want her to know that in Christ there are no regrets. I want her to remember to not allow her past sin to hold her back from moving forward with God. 

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9  (NIV)

8) I just had to put candy in the mix- but how to bring it together with Scripture?  I thought about being 'sweet' for Jesus, but then I was reminded of the following Scripture:

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (Proverbs 16:24 (NIV)


Teenagers can use their words to hurt others. I want to encourage my niece to use her words to build others up. To have 'sweet' words for all. 

9)  I know when I was a teenager and first came to Christ how this Scripture touched my heart.

Luke 12:27-32 (NIV)

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 

The present is a bouquet of flowers.

I had soooo many worries as a teenagers and I believe many teens do today as well. This scripture is to remind her that she is worth more than these flowers to God. She can rest in Him and know that He will take care of her.

10)  This gift goes along with number 7- the eraser. I love how God not only takes our sin away, but that He makes us whiter than snow. He cleanses us from our sin.  I had to do something with this Scripture:

"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)

I gift was 'white out.'

11)  Now that she is 13 years old I didn't want her to forget how wonderful it is to be a child. I wanted to remind her to never grow up spiritually. To love God with innocence. To receive His love without question. To play and laugh as a child trusting in the one who made her. 

"People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Luke 18:15-16 (NIV)

I bought her bubbles. 

12)  Teenage years can be a very dark time, so could other times in our lives. I wanted her to remember that Jesus is the light of the whole world. If we keep our eyes on Him things won't look dark- for where He is there is no darkness.  I bought her a candle.

The scripture I used was:

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  (John 8:12 (NIV)

13) And my last gift was a pair of sandals that she really wanted. I tied it in with the following scripture:

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)

What good is it if we know all these things and have the love and joy of God in our hearts and yet don't give it away? I want to encourage her to step out in faith and share the love of Jesus with the world. Her feet are beautiful because they bring good news. 

So, my precious niece, I love you so very much and pray that you will be blessed by all your little presents and the scriptures. I want to encourage to be a woman after God's heart. To love Him more than anything in this world. To follow Him with such perseverance that the enemy can never catch up to you! 
Be blessed sweet girl. You are in our prayers as you walk out your faith. We are always here for you.
Aunt Ellie.

If you like this article, you will LOVE the article I wrote for my daughter's 13th birthday:
13 Presents-13th Birthday for My Daughter


  1. That is SOOOOOO amazing, Ellie! The thought and care you put into every aspect of the gifts is just amazing....I'm sure she will treasure the memory of that always. What a tremendous encouragement. I am so if only I knew someone who was turning 13 soon so I could do something like that!

  2. Thank you Rebekah! I was really excited to create it for her. I do hope she was blessed.

  3. Mama of Addison GraceSeptember 21, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    I bought my daughter 13 things for her birthday also, but my ideas were a little different.
    1. A mini fridge ($150)
    2. A mini t.v. ($400)
    3. Yorkie puppy (It was purebred from a friend so it came for free, but the designer pet bed, pet toys, kennel, and one months worth of pet food totaled up to about $250)
    4. An iTunes gift card for $15 ($15)
    5. A dress from Abercrombie ($40)
    6. Flip flops from aeropostale ($25)
    7. Vera Bradley tote backpack ($80)
    8. Coach purse ($700)
    9. A $40 gift card to aeropostale ($40)
    10. A $40 gift card for Abercrombie ($40)
    11. A huge makeup kit from Ulta ($30)
    12. iPhone 5c (The iPhone itself was $100, but with the unlimited texting and calling plan, and a designer phone case, it was $300)
    13. Four pairs of skinny jeans from Abercrombie ($100, $25 each)
    For a total of...$1870
    Her grandparents also sent along a few designer outfits for her, and hand sewn for the puppy. She also got a total of $800 from all of her relatives combined.
    So that is a great list of things to get your daughter for her 13th birthday!

    1. Great job!!! I am sure she was quite blessed by your thoughtful and generous gifts and your love for her! Blessings on you and your family =D

  4. Thanks for the great idea Ellen! My Niece will be 13 on 1/4/14 and she would love this. I may use a keepsake box rather than the pot. Any ideas on verses for that?

  5. Scripture tells us over and over again, "to remember" the goodness of our God. A keepsake is a place to go and "remember." Use a concordance for the word "remember" and choose which one fits with your heart the best! Hope that helps =D AND I am delighted that some young girl will be blessed by their Auntie!

  6. Thank you for this post! I was trying to find something for my soon to be 13 year old step daughter. She is an incredible girl and I know she will be blessed with this series of gifts personalized a bit for her personality!

  7. I am so delighted!!! We can never bless our children enough with the truth of God's Word for their lives!

    1. Ellen -

      We got it done! It turned out fabulously and was an incredible blessing to study the Word to find our own application. With the help of my husband, I followed your lead on most of the items except for these:

      1. We found a hinged-lid basket to put everything in and used Matt. 6:30-21 "Store your treasures in Heaven...For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

      2. Devotional with same scripture

      3. We purchased a heart shaped amethyst ring for her first "big girl ring". We used the same verse but referenced her shining like a jewel when Gods love reflects through her.

      4. Bath and Body Works and the same verse

      5. Oh I got creative here! Our K just raised $130 by selling the rubber band bracelets to pay for a little girl to play softball because the mother could not afford it. So I got her more bands BUT drum-roll.... I modified the Jelly Bean Prayer and suggested that she could use her bracelet making talent. Using the colors in the poem for the bracelets, she would have an opening to be a witness for Christ. I was proud of myself for that one... and yes, I know... supposed to be humble. But it was an awesome idea

      6. Same verse for having a teachable heart but the gift is the Bible Study/Journal -"Her: Raising a Proverbs 31 Woman".

      7 & 8 - same verses with modified eraser/candy

      9. I was really bummed that I couldn't use the Jeremiah 64:8 for the clay pot - but then I thought about the flowers and why can't I do a two-fer?? So I bought 3 mini-clay pots at the dollar store and wrote one of the following "We are the clay and He is the Potter", "With His loving hands we are molded", "When we allow Him to use us as a vessel, beautiful things grow.". I bought a package of wild flower seeds (scripture reference) and then wrote the "Instructions for Growing". Those instructions included recognizing the fires of life make us stronger, the pots may crack but they can still be used, we are beautifully yet imperfectly made and should embrace that. the pots may get dirty but they can be cleaned and finally that if you plant a seed, and nourish it with the Word of God, Faith in God, and Trust in God, beautiful things will grow because He loves us more. So I got my two-fer...

      10 & 11. same verse and gift

      12. Instead of a candle which she will forget about and burn the house down with, we got her a clip on book light. Same verse. (Softball family spending alot of nights on the road - she can read her Bible study in the dark now.)

      13. Our K is not a sandals girl except for slip-ons over softball socks between games so that didn't work. However, she does have some gnarly feet and so while at Bath and Body Works, we grabbed some foot care products and then found a random pedicure set in the $1 bin at Target. I loved the verse and the encouragement to step out in faith.

      Thank you again for your post. Birthday dinner tomorrow night with family and I can't wait! Not sure if she will get a greater blessing than her dad and I did as we shopped this list and studied the scripture to find our personal application for our girl.

    2. What a gift you have given me by taking the time to share your successful gifts ideas and Scriptures! Thank you so much and many blessings!

    3. Update - we purchased another copy of "Her: Raising a Proverbs 31 Woman" for our K's step-sister and they have been doing the study together. They told me yesterday how much it meant to them to do it. And they are BOTH making the bracelets to give to friends. They used the cards I made as examples but have made their own. So proud of these young women.

    4. Great job, MOMMY! So terrifically happy for you and them!

  8. Loved these ideas. Trying to mark the occasion for our soon to be 13 yr old and to continue to point her to Jesus.

  9. Thank you for sharing! I plan on borrowing this for my daughter's upcoming 13th.

  10. Replies
    1. Happy late 17th birthday! You are awesome!

  11. But I dont know what i want :(

  12. When I was 13 years old I did not know Jesus. Do you? I can tell you about Him for He would be your best present ever!

  13. Yes i know him :) But its just i dont know what i want for my birthday everyone here at my house and my friends keep asking me what i want and i say i dont no

  14. Do you have any ideas for a present???

  15. And yes please tell me something about him

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Hello any ideas for a birthday present???