Just celebrated my 63rd birthday in August. Not a milestone birthday, but it was a historical one, which I will explain later.
Birthdays were never a big deal growing up. The only birthday party I can remember as a child was when I turned six. But there was one problem; it was a swimming party and my swimsuit was in the moving van.
Packed and going to the “other side” of town.
Mom and dad had divorced. That day was the first time I heard about the break up. Dad had declared bankruptcy, found another woman to replace mom, and we would no longer be living together in that pretty house on Santa Monica Dr. in Corpus Christi, TX.
Mom was faced with going back to work and raising three girls on her own. This was back in 1961 when most moms stayed home and raised their children.
Birthday parties were an extra expense that mom could no longer afford. Keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table was her focus.
My sisters and I often talk about those days. Between the three of us, we put the pieces together. Those were some crazy years. Filled with dysfunction and struggles. None of us were close (back then). We just existed under the same roof.
When I became a mother back in 1984, I realized some of the hardships my mom must have endured. I could barely keep my head above water while working with my two boys, and I had a husband. She had 3 girls, a pile of debt and no spouse. In my 30’s, I gained an appreciation for all she had done.
Had the appreciation and respect for her, but the distance was still there. We had never truly bonded. The mother-daughter thing that all my friends talked about was foreign to me.
No matter how distant I felt from my mom, there was one time a year that I felt an intense closeness to her. Felt like I was truly adored by her.
Every year on August 25th mom called, and I was a little girl again. She remembered the day I was born like it was 1954 all over. No matter what age, mom made me feel like a little princess. Once a year, I felt that mother-daughter bond, and it was so sweet.
Mom died in May 2016. I didn’t miss her call last August, but this year was different. All day I longed to hear her voice. To hear her recollect the day I was born. To hear her speak words of endearment about her baby girl.
The historical event I referred to earlier that occurred on my birthday this year might have triggered the flood of memories. On August 25th Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. First Cat 4 hurricane to hit the Texas Gulf Coast since 1961. Corpus Christi had been the original target, but Harvey ended up going in about 30 miles northeast of Corpus in Rockport, TX, sparing the Sparkling City by the Sea the brunt of the storm.
During the day on the 25th I saw images on television of Corpus Christi Bay as the news reporters awaited the storm. That’s where I lived for the first 18 years of my life! Never before had my mind been filled with so many memories of my childhood. And my mom.
My sweet husband tried his best to make my day special. Despite his efforts, my heart longed for something more. Mom’s call.
God heard my sorrow and answered. The Holy Spirit whispered the words from Psalm 139:13-16 over and over in my mind:
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. (vs 13)
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (vs 14)
My frame was not hidden from you. (vs 15)
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (vs 16)
Mom is no longer on this earth, but my Heavenly Father reigns forever. Reminding me I am His wonderfully created creation. Filling the longings of my heart with His Word and presence.
As I write, it’s the day after the storm. Harvey’s strong winds have ceased, but the rain is predicted to linger for days, causing catastrophic flooding in Texas.
Hundreds have lost everything to Harvey. Thousands of homes have sustained serious damage and are without power. Certainly more serious losses than a missed phone call.
I pray that my heart, along with all those affected by this historical hurricane, will be flooded with the knowledge that through every storm our hope remains in Christ alone.
- Thankful for the reminder on this day after the storm that the love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies are new every morning.
Great is His faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23).