They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
Psalm 145:6-8 New International Version (NIV)
I never celebrated my mother’s birthday. Not that I can remember.
My aunt told me she would have been 81 this year. It was a strange thing to me.
My mom died in 1975, it was so long ago. I was just a little girl, and she a young woman. It was strange to me, first, that I never thought of her in those terms. Hiding away all those thoughts and imaginings, it has always been seemingly too hard, too painful to think of her as anything but that young woman who loved me so much. I never thought of her in context of her, I always have thought of her in context to what she was to me. It was a strange thing to suddenly have an awareness of her life as something other than just the pain of losing her. It was in a moment a huge chunk of healing, over forty years needed.
Even as other women have come in and out of my life who have been “mother-figures” and I have said yes, she is old enough to be my mother, never once have I ever wondered what my own mother may have been like had she lived a longer life. I guess I was afraid it would open a floodgate of missed days, missed birthdays, holidays, events, that we were not allowed to share together. Perhaps, it would reopen wounds that I have prayed and asked God to heal over the years, wounds that disrupted my relationship with Him so deeply. But, there was none of that. It was like a healing balm. It was acceptance and separation and thanks. It wasn’t a sorrowful thing at all, it was peace. It was strange.
The other strange things was that I realized that I had never marked her birthday with any type of remembrance, or the day of her death, as some people do. A rather scary thing to admit is that I still carry a card from her funeral in my wallet. It is as if God wanted me to keep it there, knowing some day I would be ready to remember the days and her life and celebrate it. She helped to instill in me a strong faith and in the few years she had with me she poured into me a love for so many things – flowers, family, baking and cooking, music and singing, hard work and responsibility, but mostly faith that a loving a merciful God holds us in His hands.
So, this year, we celebrated my mom’s birthday! I pulled from my recipe files her favorite buttercream frosting recipe, written by her on a card – which actually turned out for me☺ – and baked a cake. It was good. It was satisfying. And it was not strange at all.
Thank you, Lord for this day and for the loving mother you gave to me, even if she was only here with me for a short time. I know her faith was strong, and she has been rejoicing with you all this time, and someday I will see her again! In your Son’s name I pray, Amen
It is with a bit of fear that I actually hit post on this…growth sometimes takes a little vulnerability?
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10