27 years ago today, on September 8, 1981, my hubby and I were blessed with the most amazing gift. 8 lb. 9oz, 20 inch long, Lori Elizabeth Pumpernickel* came into this world after 22 1/2 hours of labor and being 3 weeks overdue. From the moment she was placed into my arms my world changed. She was the gift that allowed me to be called 'mommy' and allowed the world to see us as a family and not just a couple.
The first time I held her was like holding my own heart and soul in my arms. I had the same hopes and dreams for her that every new mother holds for their child. I wanted her to be healthy, happy, safe and successful. I wanted things to be easy for her. I wanted her to have opportunities that I never had. I wanted to protect her and shield her from the world we live in. I was anxious to experience her milestones and her firsts with her. She was beautiful. She was perfect. She was part of me and part of my hubby. She was ours. I remember holding her and having her staring at me with huge eyes. Eyes that were taking in all that was going on around her. I remember being overwhelmed at the amount of responsibility that God had entrusted me with. I remember deciding that I couldn't promise her that she would never be sick. I couldn't promise that she would always be happy. I could do my best to keep her safe, but I couldn't control the world. I could give her the tools to be successful, but only she could make her dreams come true. In that moment, I turned raising her over to Jesus Christ. I prayed for the tools to be the best mom possible to this little miracle and asked for the help and guidance I would need to raise a godly woman for Him.
26 birthdays have come and gone. With each one she grew and changed and we celebrated all of her growth and milestones. On her first birthday she was disgusted by the prospect of actually getting her hands dirty in her cake:
The day of her 5th birthday she started kindergarten with a, "bye mom, bye dad, see you later," sense of confidence.
By her 10th birthday she knew Jesus. She loved Jesus. She could memorize scripture and rattle off bible verses like no other. She was storing God's word in her heart. She was already showing us glimpses of the godly young woman she was to become.
At 15 she was a special young woman. Holding true to the things she believed in and living her life for Jesus.
On her 18th birthday she was at a Christian College. She had become the beautiful, godly woman that we had prayed she would be. She was ready and open to serving her Savior, wherever that might take her.
Just before her 22nd birthday, she married her prince. A pastor. She committed her life fully to serving the Lord and embarked on a life of ministry.
Last November, their ministry led them to "that other state." She willingly jumped into the role of a Senior Pastor's wife. She left her family, her friends and the only place she had ever lived because Jesus called her to. Jesus says in Mark 16:15- "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." Our daughter is doing just that.
Today, her 27th birthday, will be the first birthday, since she was born, that we won't get to celebrate with her. We will miss that. We will miss watching her open her gifts and we will miss sharing her cake with her. We will miss her smile and her laugh. I know that I will probably shed a few tears over the course of the day if I let myself think too much about missing her.
27 years ago, we praised God for our beautiful baby girl. We asked Him to give us the tools to raise a godly woman for Him. Today we wish our first pride and joy a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and we thank Him for the pleasure of raising her and loving her and watching her grow to love Him. We are proud of who she has become.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LORI!!! We love you!!
*Of course our last name isn't Pumpernickel, that would just be silly. I don't usually even use the names of my family in my blog, but it didn't seem appropriate to announce the birth of 'baby girl Pumpernickel.' And, for those of you who don't know us, Pumpernickel isn't really much worse than the real thing.