Today is my friend Atha’s birthday. It should be a very happy day of celebrating for Atha, her family, and for me. Atha and I should be going out to lunch one day this week to celebrate our birthdays that are close together, paying for each other’s lunch while we laugh and while we share some heart-to-heart time. But none of this will be happening today, or this week, or ever again. At least not happening with Atha present. Atha is in heaven now, and has been for nearly three months.
Is that even possible?
I wrote about my dear friend Atha after her memorial service. Here’s the link in case you missed it and would like to know her better. This Is My Friend She was……she is……so worth knowing. I can’t believe she’s not here now.
I still hear her voice clearly in my head, and her wonderful laughter. I had lunch today with Atha’s daughter, Sarah, and I saw Atha in Sarah’s movements……the way Sarah held up her index finger as she talked……the way she opened her eyes so wide and moved her head…….her laughter.
I have so much I’d like to tell Atha. I deeply miss our conversations, whether in person or more often, on the phone. She was my best porch buddy, where I would sit as we chatted on the phone……my iced tea by my side……until the mosquitoes would drive me inside.
I still hear her words of advice, mixed with southern charm and sometimes a dash of sarcasm, depending on the subject. I hear her words of comfort during the hard times, and her words mixed with the fire of resolve over injustices or wrong that either of us were enduring.
And I will always hear, and never forget, one of the most impacting things she…..or anyone……ever said to me.
“You are established in your purpose, Patty,” she said to me one day. I wrote about that, too. My Purpose
I will carry that with me always.
I’ve been missing her more the past few days, probably because of her birthday. The special days are always hardest. This past Saturday evening, for some reason, I just wanted so much to go sit out on my porch and talk to Atha. I was so sad, and the tears came. So I went up to my table that holds my Bible and I sat down, opening the pages, and reading here and reading there as I asked the Lord to give me a word that I needed.
I ended up in Isaiah 46. God was speaking to Israel but principles are there for us as well. Listen to verses 9-10:
Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other. I am God and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’
I looked at that after reading it, and I said to myself, “Wait. What did that just say?”
So I read it again. Yes, there it was! Atha’s words to me were spoken by God to me as well!!
Atha said, “You are established in your purpose.”
God said, “My purpose will be established.”
Isn’t that just awesome and amazing?!!
God has a purpose, and His purpose WILL be established. He WILL accomplish all of His good pleasure. He will accomplish His plan, according to His purpose that He has established……and in which He IS established.
And I wanted to say, “Well, Atha……looky there!!”…….to borrow an old childhood word. Looky at that, would you?
Wasn’t God SO extra good and loving to show me those verses when I was so sad?
So I thanked God for reminding me of Who He is, and that He has a purpose even for the pain. I don’t understand it……I may not even at this point really like it…..but His purpose will be established. It will be accomplished, whether I see it or understand it this side of heaven or not.
Verses like this become memorial stones to me, so beside that verse I wrote, “Remembering Atha, June 2016.”
Atha would absolutely love this. I wonder if God told her how He leaned down and spoke to me on Saturday evening, using her words that are His words.
It was just all wrapped up together like a beautiful package, perfect for this birthday week.
Happy Birthday, Atha. I miss you, I love you, and I am so happy that you are…..and always will be…..my friend, Atha.
2 thoughts on “A Gift on Atha’s Birthday”
One of my favorites of your writings, Patty! I can tell by your words how special she was/is to you. I’m figuring, she thinks you’re quite special too. Love the book of Isaiah.
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Thank you, Steve! Atha was certainly one of a kind. I miss her deeply. And I agree – the book of Isaiah is full of profound nuggets. I love it, too!