Today my aunt would have been 73 years old. I still keep her birthday on my calendar even though I haven’t celebrated with her in eight years. She now celebrates her birthday in heaven where she happens to be saving me a seat. We had an agreement that whoever made it first, the other one had to save a seat.
I dedicate November 20th of every year to remembering her more than the other 364. Her life was full of challenges – poor health for the majority of her life, her father passed away when she was only 13 leaving her to care for my grandmother, not many earthly riches (but always enough to satisfy her), and finding love late in life celebrating only nine anniversaries with him.
Despite the battles she fought there was always one thing I could count on her for – unconditional love. With the exception of my incredible husband, I have never felt such love here on earth. Love that was never to be questioned, love that ran deeper than any ocean on the planet, love that saw past every single imperfection, love that knew what I needed before I knew it myself.
Where did she get this gift she gave to me so freely? I firmly believe it was obedience.
John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (ESV)
She had the most trusting childlike faith in the Father I have ever witnessed. I know absolutely her earthly life was no picnic, but her spiritual life and relationship with Him gave her all she needed to demonstrate all encompassing love.
The witness of her life goes before me daily, helping when the rough patches hit, reminding me God is enough.
So happy birthday in heaven, Joyce. Some day I will hear you say the words “little one” again. Until then, save my seat!
Tend your flock well shepherdess (hearts, minds and bodies) – as my shepherdess aunt tended me.