Today is my daughter’s birthday. Natalie Marie Charles is four-years-old today. Praise God! I was preaching in Atlanta the night my son, H.B. III., was born. But I was blessed to be right there with Crystal when Natalie was born. Crystal wasn’t feeling well. And we didn’t take any chances. She had gone into premature labor with our son. And the doctor tried to delay my son’s birth as long as possible. But after about a week, he was born six weeks premature. So when Crystal started feeling pains, we went straight to the hospital. They ran all kinds of tests on her. And they concluded that the baby was doing fine. But Crystal was in more and more pain. I will never forget the doctor coming to me saying, “We have to get the baby out of there.” I was stunned. Something was going on with Crystal that they couldn’t figure out. And they wanted to get the baby out, just in case. We prayed as they prepared her for surgery. And I remember that all those thoughts I had about how scary it would be to be in the room while she gave birth never crossed my mind. I was just prayerfully concerned about my wife and my daughter (I knew I was having a girl the before Crystal even became pregnant!).

They drugged Crystal up pretty good and then began the surgery. But she would scream every time they went in, which shouldn’t have been happening. So they kept giving her more drugs, determined to get the baby out as quickly as possible. By God’s grace, it was a safe delivery and a healthy baby. But as they sat Natalie down, something was still not right with Crystal. They kept looking and found a large cyst, which they removed. It was a remarkable thing to experience; concern for my wife, joy for my daughter. As Crystal rested, I cut the umbilical cord and gave Natalie her first bath. It was quite an experience. But we have been blessed by God to have a wonderful daughter who is beautiful, quite smart for her age, and full of personality. And I praise God for her.

Most of our time together is spent singing. Our favorite song is very simple. Natalie sings, “Daddy, daddy.” Then I sing in response, “Natalie, Natalie.” We can sing this for half an hour without interruption, if Crystal doesn’t stop us. There is another little song I used to sing to her when she was a baby:

You’re daddy’s little girl, and I love you
You always make me smile, when I see you
You always pick me up, when I’m near you
I love you, you’re daddy’s little girl

And you always will be!!! Happy Birthday, baby girl.