Crystal Senter-Brown
2 min readFeb 9, 2021


How I learned about “free will” at my 4th birthday party

The first birthday party I remember was my 4th birthday party. It was in our tiny apartment on Church Street in Morristown, Tennessee.

Back then, there were no Chuck E. Cheese or Adventureland birthday parties. Our parties were often held right in our living room, with our cousins and close friends in attendance.

Mama always made a cake, and that year I remember asking for a cookie monster cake.

And I was specific: I wanted his MOUTH to be a REAL cookie!

On the day of the party, I remember my mother putting out plates of snacks for the guests to enjoy when they arrived.

One of the bowls contained pastel mints. You know those mints you often eat at weddings? Or at Chinese restaurants at the counter?

As mama put each plate at each place, she turned to me and said:

“Do not touch any of this. This is for our guests.”

And you know the moment she left the room, what did I do? I began to eat the mints off of each plate! 😂😂😂

As the guests arrived, the party started. But as the day went along, my stomach began to hurt! It was all the mints I had eaten!

Each time I wanted to tell my mother about my stomach ache, I thought about her telling me not to eat anything off of the plates. I didn’t listen. So that stomach ache was my punishment.

My stomach ache eventually went away but I learned a lesson that day about why we are sometimes told “no”.

Sometimes it is for our own good! And for our stomach’s own good! 😂😂

In our reading today we learned that God frees us as his daughters. This means he allows us to make our own decisions, but he also gives us the right mind to make the RIGHT decision.

Do we always make the right decision?

Four year old Crystal didn’t, that’s for sure.

And to be honest? There are days when God gives me clear directions on what to do, and I still do what I want! 👀

But I believe that as long as we are focused on God‘s plan for our lives, and really make the effort not to be distracted, God smiles on us. I believe that. And I also believe that the more we stretch our muscle of discipline, the more we are able to walk the path he has created for us.