Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Birthday Reflections - 2015

Birthday Reflections - 2015

I am reaching into my blog archives to re-post this from June of 2012. I recently heard the song that is the basis of this sharing and was catapulted in memory to the dearness of what evolved in this sharing. I loved re-visiting it and I hope those who remember it do, too.

 I’ve not done any blog posts for some months so here is one - not new - but in some ways fresh again to me! 


My birthday directs me into reflection. There is gratefulness for life - God’s gift of days to me that today number sixty-nine years. I’ve received a wonderful outpouring of care, yet one gift took me by surprise and it is via its offering that I share my reflections with you.

As one who has entered the world of social media, I have been blessed to meet people online who have become friends, enriching my days. Through my writings for Rest Ministries, there are those who share in the challenges of living with chronic pain and/or illness. Other support sites have become places where understanding is given and received.

But Facebook crosses all spectrums of my life experiences: some family members keep me informed of their life events, friends from over the years, work colleagues who remain friends, my former students, and those in the groups mentioned above. 

Additionally, a whole new community of friends on Facebook “find each other” because of shared interests.

I dedicate this blog post to one such friend, Owen, in thanksgiving for the gift he brought to my page in birthday greetings with a song!

 We met online because of our mutual admiration for the trumpeter, Chris Botti. I had not expected greetings from Owen which made the ones he sent most exceptional. I could not contain my tears. 

As I told Owen, “Chris and Christ” brought us together!” 

How could it be otherwise when I live near Seattle, Washington and Owen lives in the Philippines?

Though the song he shared is most known for its being sung at weddings, it mirrors the relationship that Christ longs to have with us. Here are its lyrics  intertwined with my birthday reflections for this year.

I Will Be Here
(composer and lyricist: Steven Curtis Chapman)

Tomorrow morning if you wake up 
and the sun does not appear
I will be here

Sixty-nine years ago, at six months gestation, I was born as a wee preemie.The words that greeted my mother were, “There is no way your daughter will survive. There is hope for your son [my twin], but not for her.”

Four complete blood transfusions later + one incubator + a God with plans had me resting in His care for two months before being released to go home.

“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” 
(Psalm 139:15-16 NLT).

If in the dark, we lose sight of love
Hold my hand, and have no fear
'Cause I will be here

Baptized at birth, a conscious awareness of Jesus all my life, and an adult commitment to Christ as my Lord and Savior have equalled ensuring years filled with joys and challenges and always God’s faithfulness.

“Be still, and know that I am God” 
(Psalm 46:10a NLT)!

I will be here
When you feel like being quiet
When you need to speak your mind
I will listen

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” 
( Hebrews 4:16 NLT).

And I will be here
When the laughter turns to cryin'
Through the winning, losing and trying
We'll be together
I will be here

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7 NLT).

Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
And the future is unclear
I will be here
Just as sure as seasons were made for change
Our lifetimes were made for these years
So I will be here

Twenty years ago this month, it became necessary for me to take an early retirement from my beloved teaching career. God brought His peace to what would have been a gut wrenching decision without it. 

June is a natural time to reflect on those priceless years and young faces. My students are grown now, many with children of their own. In my daily prayers for them I turn to this gift from God’s Word - words that  held me steady during my teaching years.

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young”
 (Isaiah 40:11 ESV).

I will be here
And you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

True, the mirror of life reveals changes as I have grown older. Yet the gift of years is to be treasured if I have followed the One leading me and helping me learn life’s lessons along the way - lessons that keep me close to Him and to those who are gifts in my life.

“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you” (Psalm 35:4-5 NLT).

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me

With God the Father’s plan in place, Jesus lived out his earthly days and, as promised, reconciled me [us] to my [our] Creator. 

In turn, being true to Him is being true to the One who sent Him to model on earth the life I am to lead.

“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me” 
(John 17:6-8 NLT).

Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
And the sun does not appear
I will be here
Oh, I will be here.

Birthdays are special celebrations. Yet a new day is birthed within me each morning and with it comes the Lord’s glory and presence uniquely greeting me. May I be faithful to carry that gift to others for more years to come.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1 ESV).

Thank you, Owen, for the gift of this song 
as recored by Gary Valenciano

"The Masterpiece" print by Bette Myers
Photo taken by Lynn - scene in her apartment

from the June, 2012 Facebook Posting

Owen: here is a very good rendition of this song. sung by one of our finest filipino artist. he is also a Christian. and this is for you, HAPPY BIRTHDAY friend!

Lynn: Owen - I respond to your glorious birthday gift through tearful eyes. Across the many miles you have touched my heart with this song and its message. I cannot imagine a better gift that will come to me! The song is so meaningful at this time, as is your friendship. God bless you!

Owen: thanks! it's my pleasure and a blessing to have you as a new Christian friend.

Lynn: . . . and all because of Chris and Christ!

Owen: ha ha ha... AMEN!