Today is a milestone for me.
No I’m not quite 50 yet! The Lord says the same, I’ll step into that new decade next Saturday, on 30 Sept.
The milestone for me is getting to do one of the things that has been on my bucket list for some time now & connecting it with a passion, cause and purpose that is so far greater than myself.
See, more than 30 years ago when I went back home on military leave to visit my mom, Patricia Ann Keyes, in Brooklyn, I discovered that my mom had had a baby!!!
That’s what I said!!!
I mean “what’s really going on?!
Nah … but it wasn’t like that.
See, mom had stepped up to the plate with a heart larger than life to be a solution to someone else’s dilemma. In the mid 80s Brooklyn was set on fire with a crack epidemic and there were countless children born to mothers addicted to crack cocaine; unable, unqualified and sometimes unwilling to take care of their own children!
Surely, there were no easy fixes. But when times get their worst, heroes are needed and my mom became one of those. She always had a heart for kids not just her own. She was loved and respected by all of my child hood friends & kids that I grew up with throughout the neighborhood but now strangers who were calling her “mom.”
That was my very 1st introduction to foster care and adopting. Prior to that the only experience I ever had with Fostering or adoption as a child was what I saw on TV with Todd Bridges & Gary Coleman , Conrad Bain on the sitcom, “Different Strokes.”
Fast forward a few years, my lovely fiancée, Kendra & I were having deep discussions about one day adopting while planning to be married in 1989. We never put a date on it though so it remained just a wish or a dream. Six years would pass before our suave son, Denzell was born and then another six years before our youngest daughter, Apryl would make her special appearance.
Yet, it was only another two years before our whole world would be turned “right side up” with the dynamic entrance of our oldest daughter, LaRhonda , then at the age of 15 years old! She is officially our oldest and she made it perfectly clear. Yes, LaRhonda Jade, the world changer was home and everyone would know it!!!
Trust me on this one, it would take a few books and a movie to explain all of this but LaRhonda took over our lives and engrained herself into the DNA of our hearts like she had been there from day one. No doubt, God blessed us with all threel each one of our children are gifts from God & they are each uniquely ours in their own way.
This brings me back to the MILESTONE though. You thought I had forgotten? Over the past 10 years God has been calling me, stretching me, challenging me, redefining me, preparing me to become a greater voice and instrument for those children who have been neglected, abused or rejected by family and placed in the care of the state.
The bible calls them orphans. What we call them doesn’t matter as much as who they are. They are often tarnished by ugly and undeserved experiences but they are still precious jewels and treasures of hope who have been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Furthermore, we have a mandate to be there for them in their most needful moments.
God has entrusted us with them even though we did not birth them naturally. They are deserving of our love; our time; our energies; our mentoring; our training; our faith; our testimonies and most of all our compassion.
With this in mind, God calls me out to the deep ; into uncomfortable places; to be inconvenienced at times; to spend myself, whatever I am; whatever I will be with all that is within me to speak in their behalf; to learn from them; to teach them too; to carefully help mold those who will allow me and to become their own pottery too.
In this new season that God has graced me with, I am honored to choose to lay down my time , talent and treasure for their cause.
Today, when I jump out of that plane to SKY DIVE; it is not the plane I’m jumping out of . It is my comfort zone. It is the borders of my conveniences. It is my excuses. It is the thousand and one reasons of being too busy to make a difference that I am exiting!
And Lord have mercy; when I land, I want to hit the ground running for THEM like never before! So my friend, I’m jumping out to jump in. I’m jumping into this problem that none of us could solve alone but doing nothing is not an option. I know you are busy. I am too but everyone needs to do something because when we do what can be done together we literally set the stage for miracles to happen! You do believe in miracles don’t you?
So, in their honor today I’m lacing up my CHUCKS!!! See back in the day when I was about their age “Chucks” are what I used to wear the most.
This is when I was truly free. This is when I truly believed God. It’s when I breathed the idea morning , noon and night that with God all things was possible. It’s when my unexperienced heart knew no limits and boundaries for what God could & would do in the lives of those who would only believe him.
I’m putting on my CHUCKS as I tap into my navigational system to find my way back to the place where I first believed God; when God first gave me dreams, ideas & visions to build shelters and centers and schools and my imagination ran wild with faith as a young teenager.
So, I’m jumping TODAY. There is no turning back & I’m ready. I’m jumping out at 11,000 feet with my CHUCKS laced up ever so tightly so that I can once again find me & break him FREE.
… And when I LAND, I aim to hit the ground running in order to gain, gather and release and army of those committed to serve OUR CHILDREN who have been praying and waiting for us to show up.
Today, is a milestone.
Pastor Mel Keyes,
Joshua House of Worship
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