For years I have appreciated Henry Van Dyke’s literary works that touch my heart and often offer hope. One of his beautiful poems is entitled, “A Prayer For A Mother’s Birthday.”
Today is my own mother’s birthday. Although she no longer lives on Earth, her love and influence remain with me. One of the greatest blessings in my life was to have a mother who prayed for me.
I present the poem below in memory of my beloved mother. I am thankful for her consistent love, Christian character, and teaching of Biblical hope.
A PRAYER FOR A MOTHER’S BIRTHDAY
“Lord Jesus, Thou hast known
A mother’s love and tender care:
And Thou wilt hear, while for my own
Mother most dear I make this birthday prayer.
Protect her life, I pray,
Who gave the gift of life to me;
And may she know from day to day
The deepening glow of Life that comes from Thee.
As once upon her breast,
Fearless and well content I lay,
So let her heart on Thee at rest
Feel fears depart and troubles fade away.
Her every wish fulfill;
And even if Thou must refuse
In anything, let Thy wise will
A comfort bring such as kind mother’s use.
Ah, hold her by the hand,
As once her hand held mine;
And though she may not understand
Life’s winding way, lead her in peace divine.
I cannot pay my debt
For all the love that she has given;
But Thou, love’s Lord, wilt not forget
Her due reward — bless her in earth and heaven.”
(Henry Van Dyke)
A forty-year birthday marks a milestone that I can hardly believe my son has reached. It does not mean that he is old or “over the hill” as some say — but perhaps it does indicate that his parents are!
How well I remember his birth as a time of joy, hope, thankfulness, and with prayers for him and his future. Having him as a son still fills me with the same feelings of joy, hope, and thankfulness. I continue to pray for him, his future, and his beautiful family with whom he is blessed.
So many prayers have been answered along his life’s journey so far. I have experienced exceeding parental pride through these 40 years. I have loved watching his gift of encouragement impact others. I have learned the value of wisdom for his life perhaps through recognizing its need in my own.
Proverbs, a book of Wisdom, is a good reference for living well. It offers wisdom for all generations — mine, my son’s, and his child’s. It offers hope that all of us need at every age of life.
Today my prayer is for my son to always know God’s Wisdom and Hope. They are found in the Bible and can be easily instilled in the head by reading. They can only be deeply ingrained in the heart by God’s Holy Spirit. They are worth the sacrifice of time and study.
Happy birthday, my beloved son! May your life be full of Wisdom and Hope always!
“My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce;
So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.
My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof,
For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
and the man who gains understanding.
For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold.
She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her.
Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens.
By His knowledge the deeps were broken up, and the skies drip with dew.
My son, let them not vanish from your sight;
Keep sound wisdom and discretion,
So they will be life to your soul and adornment to your neck.
Then you will walk in your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3: 1 – 24)
“Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.” (General Douglas MacArthur at age seventy-eight)
As wise General MacArthur realized it is one’s outlook more than one’s age that makes one old. Today is the birthday of my beloved. He has spent decades studying Biblical wisdom, and this is a good example the rest of us could follow. He maintains interest in this study; perhaps he will never grow “old.”
Happy birthday, Dear! May you always have HOPE. Below are some verses especially pertinent to one who is accumulating years and wisdom. I am thankful that God and His Word never change despite radical changes in our world. I am also thankful to share your golden years and God’s blessings.
“For You are my HOPE; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth. By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You…. But as for me, I will HOPE continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me until I declare Your strength to this generation. For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; and my soul, which You have redeemed.” (Psalm 71: 5, 6, 14 – 19, 23)
“They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green,” (Psalm 92: 14)
“The glory of young men is their strength, and the honor of old men is their gray hair.”
(Proverbs 20: 29)
“Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46: 4)
January 31, 1985, was unforgettable for me. A precious bundle of beautiful baby was delivered via C-section where a record winter snow had just covered the world outside.
She weighed “about 9 pounds,” according to an experienced doctor, who proved accurate (exactly nine pounds) according to the scales. A length of twenty-two and a half inches meant she was half an inch longer than her older brother had been four and a half years earlier.
She really was a beautiful baby, and every possible moment was spent just holding her and being awed by such a miraculous gift. Sincere promises were made to love her and to do my best to take care of her and to be there for her… always. From my heart came prayers for her physical, mental, and spiritual growth, and with hope for her future.
Today I wonder how 35 years have gone by so quickly. If I am alive another 35 years then I’ll be 100! It seems strange to ponder these thoughts of time passing and of aging, but… “c‘est la vie” (“that’s life”).
These past 35 years have been full of continuing love, joy, prayers, and special memories. I’m still thankful for the awesome gift she is and appreciative of her tender heart and gentle spirit. She’s still my “little dear” even though she now stands about four inches taller than I do (there’s a funny story about where she gets her “tall genes”).
We laugh when her actions sometimes show she is “a chip off the block.” We’ve (partially) merged my realism-leaning art appreciation with her abstract-leaning artistic talents. Together we share a meaningful special song…. She constantly broadens my horizons in many ways, and best of all she has caused my heart to grow exponentially in ways she cannot imagine.
I pray the best for her, which means God’s best. He’ll do His part; she must do hers. May she… “Trust in the Lord with all” her “heart, and…” “not lean on” her “own understanding. In all… ways acknowledge Him, and He will make” her “paths straight.”
I still pray for her, and as long as I have breath and consciousness I will still hope for her future.
Happy birthday, Little Dear!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5,6)
“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair and wearing gold jewelry or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3: 3, 4)
Bella, Ciao! Buon Compleanno! Ti Amo! Abbi Sempre Speranza! Ciao, Bella Bella!!!
Happy birthday with love to my precious granddaughter! How perfect that Bella in Italian means “beautiful.” I totally agree that you are — even if we’re not Italian!
Remember that it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside than on the outside. It’s better to be kind and good and loving than just to look pretty. Follow God everyday to become truly beautiful in your heart!
Remember that it’s more important to be wise than just smart. It’s better to be wise enough to make right choices and think good thoughts than to be smart enough to be a clever fool. Learn God’s ways to grow in His wisdom to live right!
God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He will be with you ALWAYS! Remember one of our favorite verses: “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!” (Phillipians 4:13)
I remember your birth brought hope for your future, prayers, and excitement! The first time I met you as a beautiful bundle of baby I unleashed a load of love and released tears of joy. It was a moment I will always cherish and never forget.
You, granddaughter, are a gift from heaven, and I am blessed beyond measure to be your grandparent! To your parents: THANK YOU for your part in the Beautiful Bella miracle!
To God, the Creator of Life: Thank You for this amazing gift of a granddaughter! May her life be filled with Faith, Hope, and Love. May she walk Your Way, believe Your Truth, and live Life according to Your plan. Thank You for her time now on earth, and thank You even more for her eternal life to come in heaven that will never end, because her name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord.” Psalm 127:3