Story 22 :: Graduation Present

It was graduation day. I’ll never forget the atmosphere. My family was all there, even my sister with her two week old baby. When I crossed the stage my family gave me the loudest shout. In the midst of all I went through, my family has always been there. I could not have asked for anything better. They stood with me through thick and thin. They were always my biggest fans and supporters. My mother is a tremendous intercessor, and I swear I may have never made it without her commitment and cries out to God that He work on my behalf.

My youth pastor was there but moreso for some of the PFC leadership that was graduating in my class. I will never forget him seeing me afterwards with a jovial hug and his goofy laugh. I so wanted restoration with my first spiritual leader and pastor, perhaps this was the time. He gave me a card and I gave him a hug and thanked him for the card and for coming and seeing me graduate. He laughed and made the distinction, “O, no, that is from the church and the Senior Pastor. He just wanted me to pass it on to you. Good seeing you.” He gave me a pat on the back and then went off to be with some of his fellas and the PFC leadership. Sadly, nothing ever improved. No restoration was ever given. And to this day, I wish I had a better conclusion to share, but sadly I do not.

Then, my good friend Lisa (who ironically became PFC president next year and became the second woman to lead the group) gave me a framed drawing she did of “The voice of one crying in the wilderness …” passage of scripture. It was a beautiful tribute to the struggle I went through that she was intimately acquainted with. I never wrote about the power of her friendship, but she and her family (which were elders in the church) came to my defense on more than one occasion concerning the youth pastor’s behavior and example he was displaying toward me. To this day, I have tremendous respect and great value for Lisa, her parents, and our friendship.

Then, it was as if the Lord gave me a graduation present. That summer, I went on a trip to Israel with Campus Choir. We traveled the entire land, singing God’s praises in the land where Christ walked and ministering His word in churches throughout the city. We had several prophetic moments. The trip was all the more special, a symbol of God’s grace, because Dr. Rickie Moore was invited to join us for the entire week. The Lord gave me two amazing teachers to guide my spiritual development and give me the opportunity to practice my calling in an environment that it was OK to fail. The Lord gave me the opportunity to end this chapter of my life by sharing one last moment with two men of whom I have great honor for: Dr. Rickie Moore and Dr. David Horton.