So, What Were You Doing 30 Years Ago??

Monumental anniversaries are powerful forces for so many reasons. They not only cause us to remember and, to what extent we are able, relive the big moment that originally stole the show. They also snap a quick shot of an era of our lives. Like most any other, a tangy cocktail of an era both sweet and bitter, both beautiful and terrible. Such is life. But several times in the course of a long stay, a wonder comes along that blankets the whole tumultuous season in a smiling sun’s rays.

Right about this time of day 30 years ago, I sat in the waiting room of my OBGYN’s office with one thing on my mind: I meant to have a baby that day or else. My man worked in the oil field with BJ Hughes and they were sending him off for a month in two weeks, just when she was due. If she was on time, I was on my own. BUT, if she had a little nudging, the four of us – Keith, Amanda (our nearly-3-year-old daughter and the biggest dream-come-true of my 25 year-old life), this new little creature that had swung on my bottom ribs like monkey bars for months, and I would have 14 days together. Those were the stakes.

High indeed.

So early that morning, my big sister, Gay, came to Victoria, Texas where we’d been transferred with BJ Hughes, and together we went on a brisk little – well, as much as I hate to admit to it – jog to very deliberately see if we could get some action going. There is absolutely nothing about this approach that I’d recommend to an expectant mother no matter how great with child she is. Those were the 80’s when the pendulum had swung WAY to the left and we were advised to do any physical activity in our pregnancies that we’d been accustomed to doing at the time we conceived. That was for normal people. Not me. Most women didn’t teach high impact advanced aerobics classes. What I’m recommending is this: sit down the moment you realize you’re expecting and get up when you head to the hospital.

Because here’s what happened: I trained up a child in utero in the way she would go and when she was born, she did not depart from it. She stretched, rolled, tumbled, jumped, lunged, and high kicked so wildly from five months’ gestation to full term that I lived nonstop at my maximum target heart rate particularly when I climbed into bed at night. I sang in the choir at First Baptist Church in Victoria and, in those latter days, my blue choir robe came alive like a 3-D illustration of the raging sea in Mark 4, only not once did Jesus stand up from the boat and say, “Please be still!” Or was that “peace be still”??

It was prophetic. That child would demand the training wheels off her bicycle two days before her 3rd birthday then ride off on it like she was born to be wild.

Because she was.

Dr. Mabry took one look at me, peered over the sheet draped across my swollen tummy and said, “Is your husband in town?”

“Yes, sir! As a matter of fact he is!”

“Good, because I’m about to break this water and put you in the hospital. This child is on her way.”

I’d asked God for a boy. In fact, I did it just right. I used all the biblical terminology. I prayed in faith without doubting and summed it up confidently with, “In Jesus’ Name.” I made sure I asked before conception so we could start out with the appropriate gender and God wouldn’t have to go to any extra trouble. I persevered in asking until the circle formed perfectly on the bottom of the EPT test tube then I sat back, smiled, claimed it…and, yes, named it: Brandon Keith Moore.

At seven months along, my OB nurse, good friend, and sonogram technician, said, “Beth, I’m telling you, I think this is a girl.” I went home undeterred, sat back on the couch and said to the Lord with utter confidence, “This is not hard for you. In fact, nothing is too difficult for Thee!” (Using proper King James English is always most effective for times such as this.) “Change it,” I chirped then got very still to see if I felt anything.


“It’s a girl,” I told Keith when he came in from work that night.

“Are you sure?”


“How do you know?”

“I just know. That’s what they told me at the doctor’s office. And I asked God to change her into a boy and He didn’t. I could tell. I could tell He didn’t, that is.”

Young, strong, tan, black-headed, right winged, and at the peak of machismo as a 26 year old man tends to be, Keith grumbled something then looked up at me and said, “Well, then, we’ll have a girl.”

Good. Good plan.

The loud speaker went off over the grounds of BJ Hughes calling Keith Moore to the telephone. The kind with the black curly cord that was actually attached to the wall. “It’s your wife,” his supervisor said. “She said she needs to talk to you right away.”

“Hello?” Sounding a little frantic.

“Hey! Wanna have a baby today?”


“Yes, today. My parents are on their way to stay with Amanda. I’m packing. You better come get me.”

And he did.

Mamas push their babies into the world and then just keep on pushing.

We think we know just what we want them to be and just what will make them happy and we push and push and push and push, red-faced, grimacing, and threatening our husbands who got us into this shape. We just keep doing the thing we were doing the hours and minutes before they were born.

And, thank GOD, sometimes it doesn’t work.

I suppose Melissa would be at the peak of her professional basketball career if she kept going where I was pushing. And I’d be chaplain of the team. And assistant coach. Or head coach.

But she’s always had a mind of her own.

A fine one. Like her big sister’s.

I gave my heart away 30 years ago today for the second time in my life. Totally. Withholding nothing. Complete abandon. Both times to squirming little creatures that didn’t even weigh as much as their Daddy’s career trout.

I sat across a white-linened table from both of them 2 days ago, sharing three desserts, coffee and teas and I got lost in them all over again. Lost in their laughter. In the color of their eyes. In the way they use words. And sip out of a cup. Such a flawed woman. Such an embarrassing past. So many insecurities. Secrets that make me nauseous. And yet there before me, grace welled up in two distinct heaps, like twins born three years apart. Twins who only look a smidge alike. Twins as similar as salt and pepper…as homemade peach-vanilla ice cream and pico de gallo. Twins only because they each broke into my fortress, shimmied down the side, and ran off with my heart.

We asked the waiter at the restaurant if we could sit by a window because we needed to keep an eye on my car. We were seriously certain someone would want to steal the clothes we’d just bought from Anthropologie. Yes, all three of us. Of course, the birthday girl got the most but the three Moore women have always liked to do things together. So, we all got presents.

Just like Keith, Amanda, and I did 30 years ago today.

That very day a pair of ocean green eyes opened to this beautiful and terrible earth and none of us who know her well have ever seen life the same again.


And, as for Keith Moore?? Well, he wouldn’t trade that baby girl for a world full of fine sons.

And, whatever happened to that professional women’s basketball star? Well, a good friend of ours gave her a fragile centuries-old piece of Torah scroll a few days ago for her birthday.

And the child commenced to read it to me.





325 Responses to “So, What Were You Doing 30 Years Ago??”

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  1. 1
    Julie Reynolds says:

    This is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    Melissa, I wish you the very best of birthdays, may Jesus shine on you and reveal to you new and exciting things through His Word, may you feel His presence singing and dancing over you as we all celebrate the day you were born!

    Now I have to go wipe the ugly cry off my face!

  2. 2
    Lindsey says:

    What a sweet sweet post. I wasn’t alive 30 years ago today but in just about 10 weeks I’ll welcome my second child into the world, God willing. And I can’t even wrap my head around it. I’ve been praying recently that God would give me more of His love cause I can’t fathom how to love another baby so much. And I keep asking Him to not let me mess this up! Ha! God is so sweet! Happy Birthday Melissa, indeed!

    • 2.1
      Beth says:

      You were alive 30 years ago only in the heart of God who’d scheduled your arrival perfectly several years later for your generation. So thankful to be your sister, Lindsey. You are going to be a wonderful mom to those two. That second one will take your breath away just like the first.

      • marsha says:

        Thank you for sharing your mother’s heart. I have four children and your words bring me to tears. I love them so much!!!

        I will be attending your conference this week in Knoxville with my two daughters. We are so excited!! Can’t wait to get away with my girls (which we are rarely able to do) and to hear God’s voice speaking through you.

        Bless you. Thank you for allowing God to use you to encourage and equip moms all over the world!

  3. 3
    Susie says:

    What a beautiful way of sharing the blessing of a child. I too am celebrating the 25th birthday of my 2nd of 7 children. My daughter, Heidi, is one of the most amazing people I know and her heart for the Lord and her passion for life is contagious! I too look at my girls in awe of who they are becoming! My past is riddled with bad memories and poor choices but Gods grace has given me so much more than I could have ever imagined! My children never cease to amaze me!

  4. 4
    Melissa says:

    Good grief, I am a mess reading this! What love. What beauty. What grace. Happy birthday to you, Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick! Though I’ve only met you online, your wise and adventurous approach to life impacts my own. Wishing you a fantastic and joyous time of it in your 30s!

  5. 5
    Amanda May says:

    So beautiful. And that picture…BREATHTAKING! What a gift.

  6. 6
    Ang says:

    I love how you ended the last paragraph of the post:)
    Happy birthday sweet Melis:)

  7. 7
    April Jones says:

    Thank heaven for little girls…happy birthday to your amazing daughter. It constantly amazes me how a child can completely alter the very fabric of your being. I wouldn’t trade the ride for anything in the world. I can see you feel the same!

    Love and Hugs!


  8. 8

    Thank you for sharing.
    I am ministered to by the post.

  9. 9
    Melinda says:

    Every time I read one of your sumptous post about your enormous love for your girls I secretly wish that you’ll write a book on Mothering well. Then I remember that you already have and are walking out the gorgeous story right in front of us. Thank you for sharing the richness of your love story for them with us.

    Happy Happy Birthday to beautiful Melissa~only more lovely because she has a mom who encouraged her to foster that gorgeous mind of her own.

  10. 10
    Jennifer says:

    Since I’m 36 weeks pregnant and having a c-section in just under 3 weeks, I appreciate you telling me to sit down. I’m doing that a lot. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Birthday, Melissa!

  11. 11
    Nancy says:

    I actually could have written the exact same post ( although not nearly as well) and about boys, not girls. Mine were born 26 and 28 years ago on July 16th and 18th and I just love sitting across from them and marveling that 2 such precious young men could come from someone so flawed!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  12. 12
    Kathy says:

    Beth, you diverted my self focused day (bit of a pity party day, I’m embarrassed to say) to 30 years ago. A very bitter/sweet season and important to take the time to reflect. Thank you.

    I appreciate you sharing your wonderful memories and the joy of Melissa’s birth.

    This time 30 years ago, I was pregnant with my precious second son who was born before Thanksgiving in November, 1982. He has been a remarkable blessing (not always easy) each day of his almost 30 years.

    Between July and his birth in November I would sit in intensive care and watch my precious 57 year old father die after six weeks of horrible suffering and then assume the responsibility for my dear dear grandmother who had developed severe dementia.

    Bitter/Sweet- Again, thanks so much for sharing with us Dear Sister in Christ.

  13. 13
    Bethe says:

    You lived in Victoria?! How did I not know this? I was born in Victoria 31 years ago and my dad was the CEO at DeTar Hospital in that little town. Who knows, you and my mom could have been neighbors and not even realized it. At least, that’s what I’m going to imagine because it’s fun and I’ve taught all your Bible studies and already feel like kindred spirits.

    Happy birthday Melissa!

    • 13.1
      Beth says:

      She was born at DeTar Hospital! Isn’t that the worst name ever for a really great hospital?? So fun to connect with you, Bethe.

      • Breahn says:

        Ms. Beth… thank you for that post… you inspire me to be a really great mom to my two daughters….
        wanna hear something cool? I was born 30 years ago, in December in DeTar Hospital in Victoria too! =0)

        Happy Birthday Melissa!
        Breahn =0)

      • Heather VonBerg says:

        We lived in Victoria for a year and met some friends that we still keep in contact with! It was the first year of our marriage too! De-Tar is a funny name! I did my first Beth Moore simulcast there too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. 14
    Sheryl Vickery says:

    Oh how precious. A mother’s heart is the most valuable container ever invented. The treasures are priceless, timeless and (except for Mama Beth) unable to be put into words! ๐Ÿ™‚ I absolutely love all that God created in us women to be; I use to apologize for it, be insecure about it, and perhaps a little ashamed of it (should I be more like a man; less emotional, little tougher,seemingly have it more together?) I’m free of all that now. Love wearing my emotions in Christ, carefully for others to see. Just so thankful for all of it. Happy Birthday Melissa

  15. 15
    Shelly Elston says:

    Such beautiful words to describe your beautiful baby girl. I pray her day is FULL to the measure of God’s abundance. I have no doubt she will be celebrating it well and she will thank the Lord for every good and perfect gift He’s given to her. She blesses all who know her…and those of us who know OF her. Thank you for sharing your thoughts of her with all of us today.

    Happy 30th Birthday, Melissa! xo


  16. 16
    Pat from Kansas says:

    Happy Birthday, Melissa. I am also glad you were born you. I appreciate your spunk and take charge attitude. In fact, if I might so eloquently charge you with these words: “You Go Girl!

  17. 17
    Amy Beth says:

    What a gift to give your girls, for them to know how wanted, well-loved and valued they are to you. There’s not a whole lot else in the world that can compare to a mother’s love, I imagine.

  18. 18
    Sunni says:

    Oh my goodness. I am way too pregnant to be reading this right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    We will welcome our third little girl into the world in a few weeks.

  19. 19
    Tabitha says:

    Happy birthday, Melissa. I’m glad you struck out on your own path and life that God destined for you. I love to see your tweets about what you’re learning and studying (they make my inner geek rejoice). I love that your family loves Jesus and each other. I love that God can heal brokenness and make it amazing. I hope your birthday is as fabulous as our great creator who knit you in your momma’s womb and knew every step you’d ever take before you uttered your first cry. God bless you!

  20. 20
    Michele says:

    Thank you for sharing pieces of your lives with us like this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. 21
    Chanda says:

    I sit at the other end of this story, nursing a sweet baby girl with a busy two year old finally sleeping in the other room. It makes my heart hurt to imagine that my babies might just grow up on me one day. And yet, I am eager to revel in the beautiful people I am sure they will be! thanks for sharing your story, and for setting an example on how to love your babies right into God’s calling for them!
    Oh, and happy birthday Melissa!

    God Bless,

  22. 22
    Church Lady says:

    Beautiful. My eyes are filled with tears. What a post!! You have captured a mothers heart.

  23. 23
    Wilma Mansfield says:

    What a vivid and beautiful story! Isn’t it amazing the huge capacity God gave us to love our children? Isn’t it amazing to watch them grow even if they do their own thing and not necessarily what we want? Isn’t it amazing that they live a fulfilled life even though they leave our wings and fly on their own? Isn’t God amazing?!!!

  24. 24
    Melissa says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
    Happy Birthday Melissa!

  25. 25
    Rebecca says:

    NEAT story! : ) Our precious daughter was 31 yesterday! So, 30 years ago today, we were in San Antonio (yes, you and I would SO BE FRIENDS!) watching our new little big ONE year old totter around with her dolly and her fun toys.
    Sweet memories! Today, she is the mother of our 2 amazing grandsons with her 3rd son on the way in November. We are so incredibly blessed and cannot wait to meet the new little mister!
    Tell Amanda HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    • 25.1
      Rebecca says:

      OOPS~meant Melissa, our daughter’s name is Melissa too! : ) When I commented the first time I was distracted, my best, life long friend is in NYC with her hubby, and they admitted him on an emergency this am so I was trying to cancel 4 Broadway shows worth of tix and on hold when I emailed. Maybe I CAN’T multi-task! : (

  26. 26
    fuzzytop says:

    What a beautiful post…!

    Happy Birthday Melissa!


  27. 27
    Carlyn says:

    Thanks, Beth, for this heart-felt, warm, funny post. You made my day! 30 years ago I was a newlywed, but now I have two grown children.

  28. 28
    Wilma Mansfield says:

    Beth, I hope I am “tweeting” correctly. I am new to I am 68 and a Big Sister. Just a quick testimony to the power of God. My friend and I prayed for 2 months, several times a day, to be seated up front in Austin so that we could be close and personal. Both days, we got front row, center!! And then, and then,,, we got to have our picture taken with you. Our lives have been changed forever! Could you post the prayer you did as we faced each other and repeated it? I would love to be able to keep that and even repeat it at times when we just need it. Thank you so much for sharing your insite, your passion and love of God with us. What a true blessing you are! God bless you and give you strength and energy as you multi task in your life.

  29. 29
    Jamie in Katy says:

    Well, shoot, Beth. Now I’m crying. Thank you for sharing this in the way only you seem to be able to do. I have two daughters, one of whom could be Melissa’s clone in spirit (& she just turned 30, too). It continues to be a joyful ride!!!

  30. 30
    Tanisha says:

    6 years ago today we welcomed our daughter into the world also. Your post encouraged my heart because apparently that personality came with the date. I too had determined that she would be a boy. She made her grand entrance with her hand tucked under her chin giving us all the look that’s become her signature. Every child is a gift and the five God has blessed me with show me everyday what love, grace, and joy are all about

  31. 31
    Emilee says:

    Also, to answer your blog title’s question, ”So, what were you doing 30 years ago?”… I wasn’t born yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 31.1
      Beth says:

      That makes me twice as happy. So blessed to have you young things in this community. It keeps us older things on our toes.

  32. 32
    Kendra says:

    My sweet girl turned 10 on the 16 th and I sooo needed to read another Momma’s love story. thank you!

  33. 33
    Ruth says:

    OH, Miss Beth, the things you write that just make me cry…what a stunning (and characteristically amusing) account of your second-born’s entry into the world. As a woman whose mother died when she was 4 months old, I have a particular affection for mothers and daughters, some degree of vicarious living, I suppose. THANK YOU for so graciously and generously sharing the fierce and sweet love you share with your daughters with *us* here in SiestaVille.
    GOD BLESS Melissa this milestone year.

    • 33.1
      Beth says:

      Oh, Ruth. Oh my goodness. I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that your mom passed away when you were 4 months old. Lord, have mercy. Thank you for sharing something so tender and sacred with us.

  34. 34
    Paula Halcom says:

    That is so beautiful! I have a daughter as well (a two year old) and I can relate to all the ways they tie up your heart. I hope when mine is older I get the privilege of the kind of day you described with yours. The goal of having a healthy, close, relationship with my grown up daughter is on my mental dashboard every day.

  35. 35
    Lisha says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Maybe I am a little sentimental since I just celebrated my own special little anniversary 4 days ago (my only daughter and first child turned 22, and is a Religion major). Time sure does fly by quickly, doesn’t it!?

  36. 36
    Kim Woods says:

    You explained the it so well. So beautiful. Oh how they steal our hearts. I have two boys 13 and 15 and it’s such a crazy love. So hard to let go but so in love with what you know they will become:)

    Thank you for sharing this today

  37. 37
    Michele says:

    I can’t tell you much about what I was doing 30 years ago. It was a difficult time. I was about to enter 8th grade. Recently, I walked through the school where I went for 7th & 8th grade. NOTHING looked familiar. Other than one vague fragment of a memory as I glanced into the music room, I could have sworn I was never in that building before. Yet I spent two years there.

    Other fragments I remember from that general time frame: Getting picked on for not wearing “cool” clothes, not having many friends, and always looking for a fight. At home: being alone a lot, always sleeping with my back against the wall, and feeling safe when I was at my grandmother’s.

  38. 38
    moongirl says:

    This is unbelievably beautiful. The writing. The expression. The joy. The love. The ending. The women. The family.

  39. 39
    Kaylie says:

    I don’t think I’ve read a post you’ve written in the last few years that hasn’t made me cry, laugh, and start praying. Of course I’ve been pregnant or had a newborn the last three years so that might have something to with it as well.

    So beautiful. I’m gonna go watch my baby girls sleep now!

  40. 40
    moongirl says:

    Just realized if Melissa was born, I think you said, 2 weeks later, on her due date, we’d possibly share birthdays. 30 years ago, August 5th, I was born! Happy Birthday Melissa!

  41. 41
    Becky says:

    I was in tears at the end of the post. And then a big grin when I looked at the picture. I love that you had your earrings on and unless I am mistaken those eyelashes look like they are sporting some mascara:). I was so happy that my water broke when I had freshly blown dry hair and a healthy application

  42. 42
    Katie says:

    What a precious post!!! I am only days away from entering the delivery room for the fourth time ๐Ÿ™‚ I have two boys and one girl and we are about to have our second girl. I am just thrilled beyond words to be so close to being the mother of TWO girls!!!! I know my new best friend is about to be born! Raising these girls to be women who can’t get enough of their Savior is my goal, but I dread all the other junk that will enter their lives and distract them. Please pray for me as I start this journey of raising two girls ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. 43
    Brenda says:

    What a beautiful love story from a blessed mother’s heart. May you all rejoice this very day! Thirty years ago, I was holding my new beloved two month old daughter God had divinely chosen for us. On Mothers Day of that year, I was holding my precious newborn niece out on the ranch porch! All alone, I poured out my heart to Abba Daddy, that I wanted a baby to call my own. He had heard the cries of this mommas heart and little did I know, six hours away our daughter was being born by a young, selfless teenager who was lovingly placing her baby girl for adoption. Ashley recently celebrated her thirtieth birthday. My precious daughter was not born under my heart but in it..oh the divine and loving plans of our Heavenly Father. He looked tbe world over and chose us for our Ashley…I was forever changed and now called Mimzi by her daughter!

  44. 44
    Becky says:

    Oops…hit submit to soon. Was going to say a healthy application of make up! I may not be from Texas but good hair and mascara are sacred to this NC girl:) Love you Beth!

  45. 45
    Michele Hurst says:

    I was 15, thirty years ago.

    I wish this blog had a “like” button so you’d know I’d stopped by and shared in this precious memory! Happy Birthday, Melissa!

  46. 46
    Kmi B. in az says:

    Happy Birthday Melissa!

  47. 47
    Heather VonBerg says:

    WOW. You always know how to make us smile, laugh and cry. What a beautiful memory. I am unable to have children and never really knew I wanted them so badly until I knew I couldn’t! There were of course the signs I didn’t see such as never leaving the house without a baby doll, playing house all the time and just loving to see babies do all that they do. ๐Ÿ™‚ You are so blessed and you know it! Thank God for mom’s and daughters. I have a great mom too and you just made me so thankful again. 30 years ago I was -4 years in the making.. I am so excited Melissa got that scroll! I can’t wait to go to Fort Worth to see the dead sea scrolls. Happy Birthday Melissa.

    • 47.1
      heather vonberg says:

      but I do have two amazing step-sons and by no means feel cheated out of life.. just thought I should add that. I know God will send lots of little ones to my life for me to love! ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. 48
    Janet Carter says:

    I tweeted this, but not sure it made it “out” there, but I LOVED the earrings and big hair on mom – even in the midst of labor. You go girl.

    I had one daughter and three sons, and words can’t say how much I wanted that 3rd and 4th son to be another daughter. How happy are we both that God is bigger, wiser, and unfraid to say no!

    I know have my first grandchild on the way – a boy.

    Thanks Beth. I don’t know you, but I love you.

  49. 49
    Marie says:

    Siesta Mamma, this is a lovely post. I know that Melissa will be blessed by it.

    I think of my mother, and the illness that she endured to bring me into this world 28 years ago two weeks from today. At one point the doctor told my father that only one of us was going to make it. She could have aborted me. Few would have blamed her. Instead, she clung to the hope that God had a plan.

    Strength and faith are passed from mother to daughter in a mysterious way. Though it is unlikely I will be able to have children, I am thankful for the privilege of being a daughter. I am thankful to have read this post from a mother’s heart. I am thankful to know and love on so many precious little girls.

    I think I’d better tell my mom today how much I love her. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 49.1
      Beth says:

      You are so darling, Marie. I always enjoy hearing from you. And, do you know what, Sweet Thing? Because we’re in the faith, there are more ways than one to have children. Paul called Timothy and Titus things like “dear son” and “true son.” Take heart!

  50. 50
    Tonya says:

    On this day 24 years ago, I welcomed my first born! A month prior, we had moved across the country to Texas. I was terrified, but God was faithful. I had been certain that I was going to have a girl and I surprised when the doctor announced that we had a boy! Our girl arrived 4 1/2 years later. Children are such wonderful blessings!!!

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