It was when I woke up today -- the sunlight just beginning to filter into the bedroom -- that I stretched and said aloud, "It's my 58th birthday ..." Nobody was here to answer me, but I thought it was a perfectly good way to start the day ... so I said it.
This morning, no one had officially acknowledged or recognized my birthday yet, but I felt a sense of being somehow acknowledged and celebrated. As if the Lord gently whispered me awake with his own greeting of "Happy Birthday, Nan."
It was then the truth occurred to me -- that my Heavenly Father, more than anyone else, was aware of the day, too. He knew the day, the hour and the very minute I had been born on November 28, 1954. He knew the doctor's name and the nurse that attended my birth. He also knew Gene Snyder, my parent's neighbor, would rush Mom to the hospital in the backseat of his deputy car -- lights flashing and siren blaring.
Daddy was working the night shift across town and knew he'd not make it in time, so he and Gene worked it out, promising Mom he'd meet her at the hospital. It must have been a close call for him, because he worked until 7 a.m. and made it in time for my birth a few moments after 7:30! Imagine his reaction when the doctor (or nurse) came out to talk with him after I'd arrived. Four times Daddy had heard the words, "It's a girl." And now, on this fifth time around - Dad got another girl.
Still, he loved and accepted me, and Mom said it was Dad who gave me my middle name, Lorraine, because he thought it was pretty. Later, he referred to me as his little "Princess." I knew, as I grew up, that I was loved. That is such a secure feeling for a child, and my parents offered their love and acceptance freely. How blessed I was to be their child!
This morning the parallel was amazing. Yes, my earthly Dad loved and accepted me, but my Heavenly Father loved me even more! He knew every little detail about me as a developing embryo, as a newborn and all through the years since. He created and fashioned me beneath my mother's heart. He gave me a personality and a look that is unique to me alone. Even if I had an identical twin, I would still be uniquely, individually the "me" He created me to be! He also gave me abilities to develop and use for His glory.
Not only did my Heavenly Father attend my birth, He knew the moment of my conception and knew the exact second on the clock they wheeled my mother to the delivery room. He oversaw the entire birth process and kept me in His loving care step by step. I was never ever, even for a moment, out of His sight.
On that cold November morning in 1954, I exited the comforting warmth of Mom's womb and entered the sterile environment of a cold delivery room. Seconds later, I was turned over the doctor's arm and promptly spanked on the bottom. Not because I had done anything wrong, but because that's what doctors did back then to make sure you took your first deep breath. It must have worked, because I'm here!
I can honestly say that in 58 years of living, I've never experienced what I did this morning.
Perhaps because I was the only one at home and it was quiet. Perhaps because I was lying there thinking about the day and its significance. Mostly, I think, because I was rejoicing in the Lord's goodness. In my heart, He rekindled the peaceful assurance of knowing Him as my Father and what He promises in His word ...
"You are my child, and I will never leave you or forsake you. No matter how old you get, or how many wrinkles and age spots you have, I will always love you. No matter how many fragile bones or crippled joints you might experience, you are mine, and I love you. No matter how forgetful you might become, I will never forget you.
Because I love you, I have given you the one gift that can never be compared with any other gift you'll receive in your lifetime. I gave my only Son for you, Nan, and I opened your heart up to believe you needed a Savior. You see, I've had my eye on you for all eternity, and you will never be abandoned. That's how much I love you. On your birthday and every other day."
Wow, what a way to start a birthday -- or any day! Just me and my Lord. As I got up and padded to the kitchen to fix a hot drink, I glanced at the clock and stopped in my tracks. It showed the very time I had been born 58 years ago today.
Mom holding her fifth daughter!