A Most Unusual Birthday Party

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A cheerful heart is good medicine. —Proverbs 17:22, NLT

A few weeks ago, we celebrated my mother’s ninety-ninth birthday. Mom had gone into a nursing/rehab home just two-and-a-half months before due to her caregiver daughter falling. Three days after moving in, mom tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in isolation. She is a very social person, so this was difficult for her.

I live about 1,500 miles away, so I began to call every day.

Her voice sounded frail. Despite her usual cheerfulness, she sounded discouraged. One day I called and added my two sons in Alaska and Washington to the call.

As we spoke, my younger son told her that he and his family planned to fly to Missouri to be with her for her ninety-ninth birthday party.

That was less than eight weeks away. Suddenly, that frail voice changed! I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted. She said she wanted a church service and a pink birthday cake. So the plans began! We would bring church to her! The Sabbath arrived, and the dining area was decorated with balloons, flowers, and two large, beautiful pink birthday cakes. Family and friends were greeted with a special welcome and an opening prayer.

My brother sang three hymns and accompanied himself on his guitar.

This was followed by a devotional reading, “The Gift,” written especially for the occasion by one of her grandsons. Toward the end of the service, my mother stood up and recited a children’s poem she had written. Then she challenged everyone to make Jesus their best friend and be prepared for His soon coming. I was a little surprised she’d chosen that particular poem, but then I realized it contained a couple of lines that may have helped her overcome the discouragement of having her world turned upside down: I won’t feel blue, and I won’t feel sad I won’t cry, and I won’t get mad I will sit right here with a sassy grin Things are not as bad as they might have been Just sit here in the bright sunshine And catch another fishy on my fishin’ line.

And that’s exactly what she was doing! She’d just gone fishin’ for Jesus by asking for a church service for her birthday party. The birthday cake was enjoyed by all.

By consensus, it was the most unusual, most enjoyable birthday party we had ever attended. This is a perfect example of how to have a cheerful heart despite our circumstances.

Rita Kay Stevens

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