The Day I Was Born

Fifty-eight years ago today Porter Horne’s mother was exceedingly grateful.  The Horne’s, and their two little boys, lived across the pond from my family’s house.  On this particular day, March 23, 1954, five year old Porter was enjoying a tricycle ride with his older brother – until something went terribly wrong.   Porter rode his little trike down the dock and never put on the brakes.  He and his tricycle fell into the water.  His frightened brother ran to get their mother.  Their panicked mother, who could not swim, noticed my dad’s car pulling into his driveway at that exact time.  She screamed to my dad that her son was at the bottom of the pond.  My dad ran to the pond, jumped in and pulled the lifeless boy out of the murky water.  After a few minutes of mouth to mouth resuscitation, the boy began to breathe.  An ambulance arrived to take the boy to the local hospital where he completely recovered.

The headline from the Tampa Tribune the next day read, “Baby’s Birth Saves Gainesville Boy from Drowning”.   You see, my mother had called my Dad home that particular morning because of my imminent birth.  It happened at just the right time and place…  Not a minute too soon, or too late.  I don’t remember anything about the day I was born, but I’m sure Mrs. Horne remembered.  And I’m sure my parents remembered.  What is even more special to me is that God remembers, and knows the day I was born.

Psalm 139:13-16

    For you created my inmost being;

        you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

    [14] I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

        your works are wonderful,

        I know that full well.

    [15] My frame was not hidden from you

        when I was made in the secret place.

    When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

        [16] your eyes saw my unformed body.

    All the days ordained for me

        were written in your book

        before one of them came to be.

 These verses amaze me, showing me that I’m known, created and cared for by God.

Acts 17:26-27

    From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. [27] God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

I am humbled that God also picked the time and place for me to live, in order for me to seek him, reach out for him and find him.

I am also truly amazed that God looks at each of us as described below.   No matter what circumstances we were born into, or whether or not anyone cares that we were born….God does care, lovingly picks us up and wants  us feel valued and known – to be found by Him.   I have had the incredible privilege to know and love many young men and women who grew up as orphans.  They grew up never knowing their birthdays. I was able to celebrate birthdays with many of them for the first time. Their life had previously not been celebrated by another person.  But God celebrated them all along.

Ezekiel 16:1-7

    The word of the Lord came to me: [2] “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices [3] and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. [4] On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. [5] No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.

    [6] ” ‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!” [7] I made you grow like a plant of the field…….

I particularly miss my mom and dad on my birthday, as I think about the difference they made in my life from that day forward….as well as the difference in Porter Horne’s life, his parent’s life, his brother’s life and so many, many other lives.  I pray likewise, that my life and your life can be always be used to help other people find life.

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  1. Bonnye Stare

    I was just thinking what a blessing your birth was and about this story before I knew you had written about it. Yes, it is comforting to think about how God thinks about each person and his/ her birth. You are a wonderful message from God.

    • jeanieshaw

      Thank you my kind cousin for being such an encourager. We plan to be in San Antonio for a big church conference in July. Perhaps we could see you???

  2. Carolyn Harrell

    I certainly remember this day. You have been full of surprises and blessings for so many all your life. Happy, happy birthday. Is your health all wonderful now? Hope we can see one another before too long. You are quite young, little sister, and all your energy and antics show this. Your spiritual wisdom is beyond your years. You are your daddy’s girl always having scripture references for everything! Love you lots.

    • jeanieshaw

      Oh those are very kind words from my big sister who has had such a huge impact on my life. I hope to see you soon. I’ll be in Orlando in April. Will e-mail. Health is getting better…had a few glitches along the way which I e-mailed you about. Thanks and love you so much.

  3. Becky Settimio

    I never knew this story. I love you very much, Aunt Jeanie and appreciate your encouragement. You are a treasure to our family!
    Much love,
    Oh, and Happy Birthday!!!

  4. Angie Middleton

    Let’s see….I’ve know you 54 years and I never heard this story! Learn something new every day! You have always been special.

    • jeanieshaw

      Love you Angie. Surprised you had not heard this one 🙂

  5. Teresa Wells

    Happy Birthday Jeanie! Hope you had a great day.

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks Teresa. It was a good one.

  6. Suzie Riederer

    Dear Jeanie,
    wow, what a story. After reading it I thought how neat this is. You have been and still are so very influential in so many people’s life. To learn that it started the day you were born is one of those God stories that I love because it illustrates that God has a plan for our lives always, no matter where we are at. Thank you that you are such an obedient, loving daughter of God. Because of it He can use you to impact so many. I am very grateful to have you in my life. Love, Suzie

    • jeanieshaw

      Suzie, God is so amazing in all his timing…even if I don’t always think so. You are one of the most encouraging women I know. Thanks for being you.

  7. Shari Simpson-Cabelin

    What an incredible tale and such a testament to our God, his care, his detail, his story-telling abilities 🙂 You were special and set apart from the first moment of your life–not surprising at all.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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