Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Do They Observe Birthdays In Heaven?

Today is Tammy Jayne Hull Litton's birthday. July 15, 1960, was a day that I can’t possibly remember because I was just two days from celebrating my own first birthday. I now know that this day was one of the most blessed days in my life.

Tammy was born into a very stressful situation. Her birth mother lived in a small Oklahoma town and pretended that this child was her husband’s—but in fact this child was the responsibility of another man. In our fragile human state, powerful secrets require extraordinary effort to maintain. So while her husband was away, the doctor induced labor and Tammy was born.

At this same moment, God knew that another woman named Betty Hull was longing for a little girl. He connected her to a doctor who understood how important secrets can be. Some secrets are bad, but the ones that make sure little girls get born are necessary. Within hours of Tammy’s birth, Betty picked her up with trembling hands and a delight filled heart and beheld an amazing miracle for the very first time.

Within those tiny dimpled hands rested the genius of an accomplished oboist. Within those ears was the makings of perfect pitch. Within those big brown eyes was the vision a tender mother and wife. Her thick dark hair and olive skin was beautiful. In that moment in time, Betty had no way of knowing that the baby would be fun-loving, highly organized and full of joy, with a keen wit and a great mind. She had no idea that this little girl in whom God had placed such desire for Himself would believe His word and touch lives and fulfill the dreams and hopes of others so perfectly.

Betty couldn’t possibly grasp that God would use her to shape the life of one who would shape so many other lives. Only God knew, because He keeps some secrets really well. Until, that is, it’s His time to shout it from the roof tops. Until His genius plan becomes clearer to much slower mortals.

Birthdays are very important days. Days to remember that only God fully knows all things. We can trust him to keep the secrets that need to be kept. We can also trust Him to celebrate the things that really matter.

I conclude that there must be birthdays in heaven. On a day like this, there must be a gathering to celebrate God's creative genius. (What must it be like to live in such a state of perpetual awe?) There must be a daily expression of His unique creativity in the life of one little girl. There must be a moment, if not much longer, likely on July 15th, in which the Lord beckons Tammy to His side and says to the host of grateful souls and amazed angelic throng, "My ways are higher than your ways"—and this is my precious daughter, who often felt disconnected and undone in her birth but now knows the glory of my purposes.

With warm tears bathing my face, I offer blind praise to my God and King for His genius love and great grace marked in time on July 15th. I’ll be forever grateful for this day. Bells must be ringing, joyous music must be played in heaven because God, the author of life, has given life, redeemed life and gloriously granted eternal life to one precious child, Tammy.

Ed Litton


The Wife said...

Pastor Ed-
Now you have me crying!! I love how you write so eloquently, and move the soul. Yes they do celebrate birthdays in heaven, and today I remember the BEAUTIFUL, GRACEFUL, AMAZING woman......Tammy Litton.

Happy Birthday Tammy! God Bless You! I love you!
- Heather Marsden

Anonymous said...

Wow!!!! What beautiful words and thoughts. You are gifted. I wish I lived closer, and I could hear you preach.
mam in NC

Anonymous said...

I did not know that today was Tammy's birthday. It is so amazing, I can not count the times that she came to my mind today, talking with a friend just remembering her, thinking about how many times she told me that she was praying for me and my family. Happy birthday Girlfriend!

Wife of Rob said...

I'm all weepy now...what an amazing tribute to one so precious.

Jen Bartlett

MessickMom said...

Happy Birthday, my friend, Tammy! And, what beautiful words, Pastor Ed. I'm so thankful that God allowed the Messicks to know and appreciate Tammy. It is true that she touched the lives of so many people in her life and death.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pastor, for the reminder of Tammy's birthday. The Lord brings her to my mind often. Jan

Anonymous said...

For the Lord gave this gift unto us, and it was through Love this gift unfolded and multiplied. Tammy's quiet touch, a gift to us all, made possible through God's grace. Happy Birthday precious child!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
Doesn't seem like you are ready to move on with your life. What about your new love?

Ed Litton said...

I think I can understand why the above person might think this, but they would just have to suffer this loss to understand that real love does not fade for Tammy or take away from my real love for Kathy Ferguson. I hope no one ever has to suffer such a loss but I am so grateful for God's gain. I am VERY ready to move on and I am moving on.
Ed Litton

Anonymous said...

I won't be the first person to ever say or think this, but I've always wished that our departed loved ones and friends could hear all of the kind, heartfelt words that are said about them after they're gone. Some are shared while they're here, but they would likely be surprised at how deeply they were loved by so many. If Tammy could hear all of the comments made in response to your blogs since her death Ed, I'm sure she would be very moved, and she would certainly be moved by the way you have honored her.

David Simpson said...

Thanks for the moving entry to your blog, though I am irritated by the anonymous post you graciously answered. The ability to remember Tammy and to write about her so eloquently honors not only her memory, but your children and all those who loved her. Why would someone question your "moving on?" Don't ever move on, Ed. Always remember the special blessings of God. I'm sure those who come into your life in the future will understand that you can't be the person you are today without the events of the past, and those memories should be remembered, cherished, and celebrated.

Anyone who can't understand deserves to remain anonymous.

Ed LItton said...

I just want to say that I love Dave Simpson.

Anonymous said...

Life is what causes us to "move on", how we "move on" is what is so important. Events in our lives can make us better or bitter. I have seen you become "better" in a number of ways. all of which I am sure, our God is pleased. So Pastor Ed, remember but "move on", God has a plan for you and Kathy. We love you!

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed,

I want to echo your and Dave's thoughts about the anonymous responder. If someone has not been through the grief of losing a spouse, they can only speculate. Many people told me that I wasn't grieving properly or to their expectations when Bob died, so I know how such responses can be hurtful.

You are so very ready for this new part of your life and God in his glory provided you a precious partner. I'm VERY proud of you and grateful for God's blessings to you. I love you and Kathy! Teresa Graham

Anonymous said...

If you have ever been truly in love, then Pastor Ed's feelings for Tammy are quite clear. The bible says "Let not your heart be troubled..." It does not say "Let not your heart forget..." Ed and Tammy had a very special relationship. God ordained their union and it was a part of his plan. Though we must all "move on", love teaches us that love never forgets. Pastor Ed, I love you!

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed.
I remember telling you in counseling that there was no way you could possibly know what I was going through. I now know U do and I am so sorry. I pray that you and Kathy have a wonderful marriage.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed,
I get a great joy in reading your blogs. I can not be in the service so this is as close as I come to my home church. After reading this I realized that I had alot more in common with Mrs. Tammy than I though. We were both adopted! Thank you so much for sharing this. God Bless, Tina