My mother, Ellen Louise Charles, turns 65 years old today. And I am glad to be able to celebrate it with her. As many of you know, the Lord called my father, H.B. Charles Sr., to glory while I was in my middle teens. But the Lord has graciously given me these years with my mother. She has been able to see my development as a man, my growth as a Christian and a pastor, and my life as a husband and a father. And my mother has been my biggest cheerleader every step of the way. I praise God for the gift my mother is to me. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, all I have to do is call my mom. And she will inevitably make me feel like the most special and important person in the world. Plus, she will inevitably say something to make me bust up laughing.

The plan was for me and my siblings to all meet up in Oklahoma City this weekend, where my mother lives, to celebrate her birthday. But these plans fell through. So I sent for her to come here and spend her birthday here with us. I am glad it turned out this way. If we would have gone to OKC, I would have had to rush back tonight to be in the pulpit in the morning. But now that she is here, we get to spend our birthdays together (I turn 34 years old on Sunday). I am glad that the providence worked things out this way. I have even talked her into singing “Only What You Do for Christ Will Last” in one of our services Sunday. It should be a great weekend. The only problem is that my children will no doubt give her a long report of my “wrongdoings.” When I do something that H.B. and Natalie don’t like, they regularly threaten to tell my mom on me, so that I can get a “whipping” when she sees me. I try to tell them that I’m a grown man and that I don’t get whippings. But that only makes them laugh. They are convinced their grandmother is the great equalizer. So I guess I should brace myself for my birthday “whipping.” I am just grateful that my mom is still with me to issue it.

Happy Birthday mom! I love you.