Bastard Son! I remember it well. That’s how my step mother called me. Bastard Son! Unworthy of anything good. Useless! Expendable. Yes, she meant it and all the other unnamed curses too.
My father visited me once in a while in my mother’s one bedroom house. He was a successful business man. But, he had other families. What did I know? All I remember is that they planned to get married. Mom got dumped. That was the last I saw of my father in a while. The name calling from my stepmom followed suit.
At 5, I would become aware of it – Bastard Son, Useless child…you name it. Soon, I would believe it. It won’t be much later, after finding a friend in Jesus that I would confront it. So, yeah, he wasn’t around and he didn’t defend me either. In fact, he backed my stepmom. I was terribly sick once and called to ask for help. He said he was sick too and to ask my mom.
They say each child brings his own luck. I felt like I brought a curse to my mother. I felt like it was a burden for me to be born.
Ladies! Its easy for you to see what it means to be a woman. All you need to do is look and you find strong women still going. They know how to do things. They can show you how to be beautiful, noble, caring women. But, we men have a hard time. We have fewer role models now than in earlier centuries. Down the line, its hard to find capable men, fathers, and grandpas who are available to help young men. Its difficult to address the issues of manhood because its emotional and men don’t like stuff like that. Most of them get lost along the way, are sabotaged by pornography, adultery, and hard times. Truth is –
It is HARD to be a man in the 21st century.
I had no blueprint on how to be one. Who is a man? What is a man? Who will teach me to be one? How should men act? What should men say? How should men behave…what does it mean to be a man? For the longest, I was stuck. Like many boys and young men today, I was lost in the world of manhood.
In Africa, I learned English from Looney Tunes. I had the wisdom of grandma but with mom working long hours, I had to grow up by try and error. And you won’t believe some of bloopers in my life I have had in my youth (20’s). Things which I would have avoided if I knew what I was supposed to do. I did find and ask men to be my mentors. They disappeared when I mentioned the word – manhood. Believe me, I tried and go tired of asking and decided to try my luck.
With no male role model, father, or someone to speak into my life, as is with many young men today, my life inner life became a spiral. I drifted into doubt, an orphan spirit, low self-esteem, identity crisis, and the fear of authenticity. I often sabotaged my own success, because I was either afraid or did not know how to manage it especially if it was turning point to becoming a man. My actions were often unconscious, but rooted in the things I missed and the things I lost. The most important of those things being a Father’s Blessing!
In Brief –
A father’s blessing speaks to your identity. It establishes who you are on the inside. Ignites confidence. It tells you that this is who you are no matter what the world says. It tells you that regardless of what happens, you are a son or daughter of your father, this is your people, this is your home – you belong.
It gives you permission to take risks and make mistakes. It commissions you to explore what is possible and venture into the unknown to do the attempt the impossible in whatever field you chose. It knights you to experience life, experience failure, and experience growth. It knights you into manhood.
For sisters – it brings out the Proverbs thirty one Noble Woman out of you. It causes your true beauty to shine: causes you to walk on sunshine even in hard times for the rest of your life. It affirms that you are loved and that you matter. If you fail, the blessing tells you to come home. If you lose everything, the blessing speaks to you, letting you know that you are not alone, never without a friend, and never without a helping hand – you are family.
When people lose faith in you, regardless of what happened, the blessing of your father (physical, spiritual, mentor) whispers – I BELIEVE IN YOU. In its own right, it becomes your “Cloud of Witnesses” here on earth. It becomes the stream that channels the blessings of others who will become cheerleaders for your life. It becomes a source of strength.
God, in the creation story, each day said it was good. He created man and woman and blessed them saying – be fruitful and multiply. He blessed Abraham – you will become the father of many nations. He blessed Israel – you are a people chosen by God for his own. He blessed David – you are a man after my own heart and from you THE KING will be born. He blessed Jesus – this is my own dear son with whom I am well pleased and this is my son – listen to him. He blessed us with every good blessing there is under heaven. But, his first blessing for us all who come to Him through his son, Jesus, was to adopt us into his family and to call us children of the most High God, Lights of the World, and Salt of the Earth.
Every blessing the divine blessed people with became what they were known for. It came to pass. Think back and compare your life and the life of those who had dads versus those who didn’t. Overwhelmingly, you will see a huge difference. I am convinced you will notice that those who had fathers and those who had men speak into them turned out really well. You will find a high percentage. Where as those guys who didn’t, had some difficulties they had to deal with as they entered their 20’s. I am one of them.
So, you see – a father’s blessing is EXTREMELY important.
It establishes you, authenticates your identity, ignites your passion, clothes you with the will of fire, affirms that you matter, paves your future with light, and sends blessings ahead of you to help you believe and stand firm at every turning point. It is an inheritance, a piece of the ancient legacy we hope to carry and long to live.
That’s why the blessing of a dying man meant so much to me.
For the Longest of Time:
I had been praying for a Father’s blessing. Recently, on this one Saturday morning, I rode my bike, helping invite people to Church and Vacation Bible School. Something said go see Grandpa. Grandpa’s name was Mr. Peter Yunga. He was born in 1943. He was the father of my cousin’s friend. He was a man of God on many accounts. He was dying of cancer and in his last days.
So when that still small voice inspired me to stop and go visit Mr. Peter, I was scared. I was afraid to see him frail and dying. When I got to his daughter’s house, he was sleeping. But, he woke for a brief moment while I was there. I was led to see him and then left alone with him. I saw his bones, his pains, his groaning. It was a tearful sight. He could barely open his eyes. Everyone was waiting for him to draw his last. Even me.
He was surprised I came. He tried to wake up but it was unbearable. I gently placed my hand over him on his hospital stretcher at home and said,
“Please, don’t move. Its okay. I just came to say hi.”
I then saw something moving under his white blanket. It was Mr. Peter’s hands. With great pain, he moved his hands out from under the blanket like a little chick breaking out of an egg. His hands were trembling as if he was experiencing a Tundra snow storm for the first time. It was painful to watch. Then his hands searched the air while his eyelids darted. Then, his hands landed on my hands.
He said, “Your hands. Give me your hands.”
couldn’t believe it. He was searching for my hands? In all that pain?
He then held my hands together and half closed to signify the importance of what he was about to do. It was a knighting and commissioning moment by a warrior for a warrior; by a King for a prince; from a loving father to a cherished son. Then, with unbearable pain, he sat up, struggled to open his eyes while loosing his breath, and with a cracked voice, he said –
“God. God…bless him.“
Unable to breath, he stopped, took in a few breaths and added,
“Success. Life. Laughter. Joy. Bless his family. Bless him with a family. May he have joy. May he have peace. May he succeed...”
He said more and then did the “divine” thing –
He drew in breath and blew over my hands and body.
A symbolism I understood. It symbolized Our Great God breathing into man the breath of life to bring him to life. It represented Jesus breathing on his disciples and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” In that fashion, Mr. Peter was calling on God to be a witness and asking the Holy Spirit to sign the spectacle as complete.
AND HE DID. GOD DID. It was his idea.
Grandpa Peter, upon saying that, fell backward to the bed in groans and pains, trying to catch his breath and slowly dozed off. It was the last I heard and saw of him. We buried him days later. He is now probably playing soccer with Jesus in Heaven.
I can’t explain it but something changed in me. Something shifted. Plus, the presence of God in that room when He opened his mouth to speak. The goosebumps! The WIND!
A father’s blessing is something a father, no matter how bad he is or has been, will refuse his children. Ask your fathers to bless you. Tomorrow is promised to no one. If you have a father who has blessed you, give God thanks. If you even have a father, be grateful and honor him. But, if you don’t have one and have never been blessed or understand what I am saying about absent fathers, then I have a treat for you.
I leave you with the blessing of a man who paid the price for Jesus Christ. A man who pioneered many things. A man who was the first to call forth the best in me. He is now in heaven. But he left a blessing for his sons and daughters. Now, I share it with you.
After watching, if you receive it, comment with an amen.
I myself leave you with this blessing:
Life is not full of surprises: WE ARE! YOU ARE!