Celebrations abound for reaching milestone birthdays ... baby's 1st birthday ... turning "double-digits" ... then reaching 16 to finally get a driver's license ... getting to vote at 18 ... becoming "legal" at 21 (although this made no difference to this Granny) ... becoming a "quarter-century" at 25 ... then the decades --- 30 ... 40 ... 50 (which my dear husband reached this year).
But there's one milestone that I'm about to reach next week that neither Hallmark nor Gibson
have the appropriate message for ...
For the past 32 years I have dreamed of this birthday ... even secretly dreaded the day. Now, I want to preface this with the fact that I truly believe that God knows the number of our days here on earth. Jeremiah 29:11 gives us the promise that God knows His plans for each of us. These plans are not to bring us harm but to bring us to Him.
For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (KJV)
Next week will mark my 48th birthday. Not a "decade" milestone nor an elaborate ordeal. But, for its history: It was 9 days before I turned 16 years old (32 years ago) that a drunk driver took my aunt's life. When this happened, my 16th birthday held little if no significance for me. At a time when all of my friends had anxiously awaited getting their driver's licenses, I had no desire to get mine. (And didn't get it until I was 17 1/2 years old.)
However, 48 years to the day before my aunt's funeral, she made her grand entrance into the world ... we said our final earthly good-byes to her on her 48th birthday. The comfort I have is in knowing that I did not say good-bye forever. We will meet again. Only Omniscient God knew the events that would surround August 18th even before He spoke the universe into existence. That is my comfort.
I counted my childhood as a privileged one. My Granny, aunts, uncles & cousins all lived around me. They were the most influential people in my life along with my parents. I always felt as if I had 3 "mother-figures" in my life: my Mother as my "Mother" ... my aunts have been my "mom"s ... and my Granny was always my "mommy". What a blessing to have such role models in my family.
So tomorrow ... August 18th ... I will remember my dear aunt. Celebrate her 80th birthday ... and her rebirth in Heaven with her Savior. And as in the past 32 years, I will quietly cry and miss her deeply. I will remember that day as it was 32 years ago ... the overflowing community in our small home church who had come to pay their respects to her and her family ... the dark, rainy day that symbolized to me only God can bring peace and comfort to those who grieve ... and my Granny upon losing her child.
As I prepare my heart and soul for my silent milestone next week, I will rejoice and be thankful for my dear aunt, my family and my childhood. We lived in a very close-knit community ... we rejoiced with those who rejoiced and grieved with those who grieved ... and although I'm away from our community, we still share in rejoicing and grieving. I have imagined over the past 32 years that my aunt has bowed and worshiped our Savior ... her melodious voice has sang praises to our King ... and she has reunited with loved ones in Glory.
We each have milestones in our lives that may not always fit into a "category" or fit a "traditional" milestone. But it's the comfort of knowing that God sees what's ahead of us even though we just see each moment that passes us by. My upcoming birthday is a silent milestone for me. I plan to treat it as any other day for me. No fanfare ... no birthday bash ... no fuss. I will thank God for my family and will thank Him for bringing me through the day I turn 48. And I will cherish my memories.
Here is a picture of my dear Granny holding my daughter ... my aunt's namesake. I see pieces of my aunt in her great-niece ... I like to believe that she is still holding her "mom" spot even in the hearts of her family that she never got to meet here on earth.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.