I, James Atticus Bowden, was born today – November 18th, 1950 – in Lawton, Oklahoma. This year is the second birthday that my Father, James Albert Bowden, never had. I know he’s in Heaven. He communicated to me in a dream – that wasn’t like any dream I’d ever known – the night he died, that he was okay and concerned about me. Yet, I’m keenly aware of this time in my life in respect to his.
I’m not living his life. He planned on retiring at 62. I’m working with no plans to retire – now. In fact, I worked today – Sunday – on an Army ‘Futures’ exercise at Carlisle Barracks, PA. I grateful to have the work in this economy. I’ve earned well-taxed wages since I was 16. Been on my own financially since I was 17.
I’ve lived a life for family, faith and freedom from the time I had the presence of mind to choose. I decided to live a life of hierarchical duties when I was 16. Went to West Point and away life went. A life of success and failure. And, I know success and failure are relative – and personal. I’ve lived life and learned from it.
Life changed at age 32 with daily Bible reading. At age 36, I got the message that I would NOT serve the desires of my heart, but “You will read and write.” At age 42, my Bible reading led me to these words I take as my personal covenant
Isaiah 59:21 [King James Version]
21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.
At age 59 during a retreat studying the Jewish Fall festivals, I gave up seeing any of my dreams, hopes, or most begged prayers happen in my life. It was emotionally wrenching. I didn’t give up in life. I gave up, honestly, on living to see any of the things I wanted for others and myself. Peace followed.
Life continued with ups and downs. Since then, I’ve been laid off twice in my contracting world. Both times the Lord blessed me with new jobs at higher wages. Other challenges and blessings continue to abound in the little life I know – and the greater world I care about.
I’m grateful for too many things to list – but most of all for God’s Grace through the risen, living Lord Jesus Christ. However, I want to share some sweet birthday presents that make me so grateful to be alive today.
Three older grand babies sang, “Happy Birthday, Papa.” The 4 month old will someday.
My wife, Katherine, wrote, “I am so blessed to still have you give unconditional love to me.”
My daughter, Molly, wrote, “Not a day has gone by that I didn’t feel completely loved by my Daddy. That love was louder than insecurities, that love was louder than nay-sayers, that love helped to give the courage for so many things. Early on, you set an example of sacrifice, hard work, never giving up, a deep rooted love of country and above all a passionate love for Christ.”
My daughter, Maggie, wrote, “Hope you feel as loved and celebrated as you are.”
My son, Albert, texted, “Love u too.”
As the Bowden-Maley Clan says, “God is good all the time – no matter what. No matter what.”