And so, it begins…
Many years ago, I read a book which left a lasting impression upon my heart and life. It was written by the founder and president of The Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman. Entitled, “The Measure of Success: A Letter to My Children,” it inspired me to share the benefit of my lessons learned with the young people I encounter as I journey through life. It has inspired me to pen this post, dedicated to my god-daughter, Tabitha Kiana “Kiki” Kelly, and all you comprise the Class of 2015 transitioning from high school to their next.
It was an honor to hold you as an infant with great expectation for who and what you’d develop into as your Creator graced you with time and experience. Your parents dedicated you publicly to the Lord, and I stood as a witness and promised participant in the process. For these first 18 years, I’ve been more of a silent partner, and I’ve kept you and them undergirded with prayer. Being present for your graduation from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts has been another gift from God to me–another commencement to behold. Although I can no longer hold you in the bend of my arm, you have a permanent place in the bend of my heart.
As I celebrate you this weekend, many encouraging passages of scripture come to mind. The most prevalent is found in the first chapter of Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, “…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6, NKJV).” Equally encouraging is one of a few passages my mother brought to my attention at a critical phase of my life. I recall this one with every new ending, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning… (Ecclesiastes 7:8a, NKJV).” God-daughter, as the first of many pivotal moments in your lifetime, may you keep these words of God close to your heart for instant recall when you face the inevitable challenges assigned as part of your necessary journey to the destiny God has prepared you to enter into.
While you are not above reproach, you are a unique gift to the earth. Encased within your being are many gifts and abilities. They are not given for you to stroke or horde; instead, they are entrusted to you for honoring and honing. You are to seek the maturing of your gifts so that in excellence you demonstrate to the world the power and purpose of God in the earth; freely you have received, and freely you must give.
It is my responsibility to warn you, too, of the enemy in the earth who’s task it is to do all in his limited power to steal, kill and destroy (Joh 10:10, NKJV) the influence and impact you were born to make upon the lives of others. To that end, there will be challenges, temptations, and even failures. When the obstacles seem insurmountable, keep this prayer on your lips:
To you who have come to steal, kill and destroy; to interrupt, to interfere, to thwart, to halt, to maime and silence me… My name is Tabitha. I am full of good works–created to bring glory to my Creator. I will rise in spite of your attempt–you have come against me in vain, because I’ve been called by God and I will accomplish the thing for which I was sent. Although you work against me, it will not prosper, because the power within me–the Holy Spirit–trumps you, and I live abundantly in the promises of God.
Now, dear god-daughter, concerning your parents and others God has ordained to nurture, protect and project you… We are not perfect–never were, never will be. If, and when, we should fail to meet your expectation, do not allow bitterness to take root (Eph 4:27, NKJV). Instead, know that mommy, daddy and god-mommie, like you, are works in progress (Eph 2:10, NKJV). There is a constant war (struggle) in our flesh (Rom 7:15-20, NKJV). But the fight is fixed, and I (you, we) win! As Christ has done for you, forgive me now, and forgive me often (Mat 18:21-22, NKJV). Such a practice will build our relationship. Forgiveness does not excuse bad behavior, disrespect or disloyalty. Forgiveness frees you from the sting and pain of the past; it builds a bridge to a better future and healthier relationships with each new person God brings into your life.
I am still learning; learning is a lifelong event–never ending. Seek to understand (Pro 4:7, NKJV), with the same vigor as you seek to be understood. Know that you can always return “home”. “Home” is in the heart of those you love and those who love you, cherish you, believe the best for you. And, should you ever feel you cannot find your way “home,” find your way to worship. God will always lead you “home,” because it begins (and ends) with Him. I have tagged a video of a song that ministers to me as I minister to God in worship. I encourage you to allow your heart and feet to connect with it and gain strength in knowing the Only Wise God, Father and Creator always has you on His mind. Some day, dear god-daughter, you will minister this song in dance; and whether I am present in the natural or witnessing from heavenly clouds, I will be cheering you on and ringing my lighted tambourine with great joy! I will forever love you. Even when earth-bound breath has moved out of my body, the memory of my love will comfort you when you least expect it–but most need it. ~god-mommie