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I wish I could turn back the years for you, Give you back the days you laid down for me.

Tough times aplenty, rough days there were many. So much lost, so much stolen. More than I could count or measure.

I wish I could give you those days back.

But standing here right now, I can see that life only flows forward, and as much as I am grateful, For your life poured out to nourish mine,

I can only ‘pay it forward’ I can’t out-give what you’ve given me, Mama… And maybe I’m just not meant to.

How do you ‘return the favour’ to your one and only caregiver, who paid a price every day, Chose the lesser portion so I could grow, Always gave me the bigger room, so I’d know, How much I was loved.

There’s only one worthy response. And that is to entrust you into the Hands that can Restore, the Heart that can out-give even a mother’s love, and even one like yours, To the Father who adores you just the same as He did the day you were born.

Oh how deeply you are loved! How deeply you are seen and known, and loved.

The apple of God’s eye; I’ve seen it Every year. How he cherishes you and honours you. Your every tear, Counted, weighed, treasured. And your fears, Stilled in the deep knowing: GOD is alive. GOD found us, and kept us alive. Paid the greatest price to redeem every bit of life, The good, bad, ugly, all held in his EVER-LASTING arms, Jesus, the man who stayed faithful, and remains Not afar, but nearer than our breath.

How wonderful that He’s not just a pain-killer, fooling the nerve receptors into thinking there’s no real damage, How cool that He’s not just God sitting on a ruler’s throne! How tender that He would kneel even to tie my school shoes if He had to, that He would take honour in loving the least of us, in the best way that He does.

Thank you for giving me the greatest gift of them all: knowing Jesus. And knowing Him like this!

I hope you now know that every bit of pain and sacrifice was worth it because Jesus is not my religion, He’s not my perfect answer to a questioning world, He’s not my quick-fix and free ride to success, He’s my Life, and my Everything, the very Breath my soul survives on. He’s my Friend and Father and everything I could ever need. And for that gift, only God can recompense you. How beautiful that He does, He so faithfully does.

Love you Mama… happy birthday. ❤️

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