I want to dedicate the Joy Notes page of this website to testimonies and thoughts and reflections of gratitude. And, I want to start by saying how very thankful I am to all of those who have helped me to become the woman that I am today. I want to go on record and say that I remember that my journey has been laden with God’s grace. Grace that has shown up in both opened and closed doors. Grace that in some seasons felt like punishment, but it was really preservation. Grace, that is beckoning me forward and upward even now.
Initially, my thought was to simply list the names of the many many people who have touched my life in good and sometimes character building ways to help me get to this point. However, it occurred to me that inevitably, someone would be left out and that would defeat my whole purpose. So instead of names, I’ll just say, that I remember you. And, I am grateful for you all.
For as far back as my mind can reach, I can find individuals who have been exceptionally kind, generous and helpful to me. I am grateful for my family members, my friends, my sorority sisters, colleagues, co-workers and church families. I remember the impact and love of my parents, my brother, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles and cousins, my step-parents, the parents of friends, my surrogate families, teachers, professors, guidance counselors, mentors, coaches, Pastors and bosses.
I remember those who have led me and those who have allowed me to lead and give guidance to them. I remember those who have listened to and encouraged my dreams, sown into my life with words, money and opportunities; I even remember the naysayers and enemies, those who didn’t understand or like me, I remember those who didn’t believe in my call. For, even they contributed to making me better. I remember those who have been with me since childhood and those who I knew only for a day, a bus ride, or a summer, a semester or a season of life. I remember those who gave me rides when I was car-less, those who wrote me checks when I was broke, those who’ve given me gifts and shared experiences with me, which have helped to expand my mind and perspective. I remember those who fed me when I was hungry, those who shared their stories with me, opened up their hearts and homes to me, those who hired me, those who voted for me when I ran for office, those who challenged me to be my best, when I wanted to just be good.
I remember those who took a risk on me when I was an unlikely choice, those who prayed for me, encouraged me, and listened to my bible study lessons and sermons, those who corrected me when I was wrong. I remember those who trusted me, those who befriended me and loved me and even those who walked away. I remember those who saw something in me when I didn’t see it in myself, and those who forgave me. I remember those who recommended me for positions, those who edited my work, those who studied with me at every level of schooling, those who laughed with me, laughed at me and even those who have cried with me. I remember those who remembered me.
Some of those who have had a profound and significant impact upon my life are no longer here to read these words; nevertheless I remember them. I shall never forget their contributions to making me, me. There are a few names which I must list because to not do so would simply not be right. They are: Mary Wilson, Anthony Bridgeforth, William Bridgeforth and Colin Cain. You each already know that I simply would not be without your parenting, your friendship, your guidance, your love and support. Thank you.
Finally, there is one name that precedes, goes alongside and comes behind all the other named and unnamed influences of my life. I am grateful beyond words to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is my relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, which sustains me, grounds me, frees me and elevates me. I am not worthy of Your grace, but I am grateful for it. I cannot comprehend Your love, but I do not want to live one moment without it. Thank You for saving me and thank You for designing this destiny for me; I am intensely humbled and eternally grateful.