The Gift

“Over the past couple of years, as time sped forward, all of his journeys abroad just seemed to draw his heart closer to home. The only problem was, he could never really go home—”

Excerpt from “If I Should Die” Book one Ebenezer series Donevy Westphal

brown book page

The day before I remembered, but in the morning as I called my daughter, I had forgotten. At my age, this happens often… Who am I kidding? If I’m being really honest, that has been how I’ve been all of my life.

I think, “Next week is so-and-so’s- birthday”—and I may even do a countdown. Three days left, two days, and tomorrow… only to forget on the very day of the event. I wish it weren’t so but that is the way my brain works.

So, the day of my daughter’s birthday, as Old Fuzzy hollars at her “Happy Birthday” I remember the day and twenty-nine plus years ago. It was a hot July day, sweltering, with no air conditioning. Old Fuzzy (back then he was a much younger old fuzzy) and I were putting up garden produce.

I was grating and freezing zucchini. I had been busily busy that day until a little afternoon when I decided I was tired and feeling out of sorts. At that stage in the pregnancy, I went and lay down.

We had some non-Christian friends whose oldest daughter had offered to stay with our three boys when we went to the hospital. At about eleven that evening, Bonnie brought Penelopy over, and old/young Fuzzy and I left for the hospital at 11:30. Our daughter was born exactly at midnight.

After the tussle the nurse and I had over me using the bathroom or the bedpan, I had just gotten back into bed when the nurse came in with a dilemma. The baby won’t go to sleep in her bassinet…

I told her that baby had been part of my body for nine months and she was welcome to sleep on my stomach. So, they brought her in and she fell asleep listening to my heartbeat. She’s still there—in my heart.

In my heart—I believe one of the greatest gifts we have given our children is each other. I grew up alone with a sister six years older than me. A sister that I idolized, but she was gone before I understood what we were about. And the connection got lost through the years.

My cousin, Coco was closer to me than a sister (she was only a year older than me) but my aunt remarried and snatched Coco away. I had other cousins who were close, but usually only during summer times and life goes on for all of us.

No one knows what the future holds and I do pray my children will always be able to relish their family ties. Even as we all grow older and time washes away memories, may the good we have known remain.

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39)

If we love God more than “all of these”, we will love all of these more.


“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.” ~ D. A. Carson

It is only too easy to convince ourselves that we are gaining holiness when we are in reality only drifting away from it. I don’t know why that is. It could be that as we grow older the fight doesn’t get harder, it is just more difficult to fight. Therefore we slide into telling ourselves little consolations, that are kind of like little untruths.

“And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17)

“Wherefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him back to see what shall be after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)