We all know what a dream deferred feels like.
America held her breath for many years and on one night exhaled.
The prayers from antiquity were answered.
My husband and I sat in our NY apartment as newlyweds a little over 8 years ago in joyful disbelief.
We felt so many things on that night when our President-Elect was announced.
We felt pride, relief, joy, thanksgiving, a concern for the safety of Obama and sheer excitement watching as the first African American President of the United States had been chosen.
It was a celebration of our democracy.
Silence, prayer and tears were the only befitting responses.
Then that sacred silence later turned into dancing and mere uncontrollable bliss.
Our only wish would have been that our great-grandparents and so many ancestors could have witnessed it, but we were beyond grateful that in our lifetime we could share in the change that had finally come to America.
Seeing the Obama family walk out and watching two adorable little black girls holding their parent's hands and waving to Americans who were so inspired was surreal. Watching a couple so very much in love waving at Americans who believed in them- looking into the faces of Americans that they believed in is something that we will never forget.
His oratorical gift was above exceptional and his mind-brilliant.
His plans of inclusion and his background of rallying communities and fighting for justice made him appealing to many.
His 'audacity to hope' gave our generation's 'lifeless body' a well needed heart transplant and resuscitation.
Knowing that our soon-to-be First lady was committed to her husband's public and private success and was accomplished in her own right and yet was very committed to her family's well-being and to the new American agenda was beyond inspiring.
By the time the inauguration rolled around, our hearts danced with gratitude for a new 'portrait' in the White House of a family that would look like ours and yet President Obama would be concerned about people of every race and background.
In both of the terms that President Obama served we sat in the seat of appreciation and awe as we saw America with new lenses.
This is not to say that everyone always agreed with him or that our household always agreed, but it has been encouraging to see millennials be heard and included in conversations, women and men of all ethnicities and age groups be represented in significant, historic roles, military families be supported, childhood obesity tackled, the cutting of the unemployment rate by 4.7%, the rescue of the auto industry that was sinking, this significant stabilization of an economy that was plummeting, the dropping of the veteran homeless percentage by 50%, the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Act that would assist in ensuring that women were not paid in ways that reflected discrimination, the Affordable Healthcare Act that would aid 20 million people and the ending of war to name a few of his top achievements.
My heart aches for families who had increased health coverage costs that made it difficult to afford, but my spirit is grateful for the millions who received quality, affordable care.
As a Believer and minister with some conservative and some liberal views, there were times when I felt proud to support our President and sometimes when I just couldn't.
At the end of the day we have to sleep with ourselves.
What I appreciate is having seen God use him for such a time as this.
There is only one Messiah and it's Jesus.
Our admiration for no president must seep over into exaltation because presidents are human and fallen as we all are.
However, my life is made seeing this family make an impact that can never be smeared out of History. Boys and girls have another model to add to existing models.
I grew up not seeing African Americans on greeting cards, limited in tv roles, not very many brown dolls, if any, and certainly not a First Family that had brown eyes, brown skin, ethnic hair or families that shared many similar life experiences until that moment.
In many ways we felt like we were all living vicariously through them as Black Americans and their success was important to all of us. We would often give God praise that this, in the words of the late great, Maya Angelou, "was the dream and the hope of the slave."
Some found, "Yes we can" and "Yes we did," offensively irritating but many of us knew that this was an era where Black votes and Non -black votes increased significantly and reminded the entire nation of the power of our voices in our voting...and the thirst for change. Change was demanded and anticipated. Life as we knew it was no longer good enough.
We wanted an America in reality that she appeared to be, in the words of Dr. M. L. King, 'on paper.'
In these 8 years we have watched our Commander in Chief make great decisions, colossal mistakes, ground breaking and historic moves, some that we supported and some that we did not.
Yet, we have seen him be a global ambassador who has not been committed to perfectionism but to progress.
Steady, risk taking progress.
This Administration has not been committed to busyness but to bettering the lives of others in intentional and significant ways. Every president will receive the baton with a new set of burdens and blessings and expectations, but we are grateful for fruitful progression.
As we embark upon a new era, I want to thank our 44th President for:
1. Being a president that we did not have to always agree with.
2. Being a Christian man of integrity.
3. Being a man who protected and prioritized his family and openly displayed love to his wife and children.
4. Being a president who was concerned about all Americans and especially those that have been historically overlooked, undervalued or marginalized.
5. Being committed to being the President to all Americans.
6. Being committed to sharing the spotlight and celebrating those around him who worked diligently.
7. Being a leader who remembered that this office was not about him, but about the people that he served.
8. Being a leader that has dignity, resilience and respect for others and himself and rose above criticism carefully.
9. Being a leader who acknowledged his faults and sought to improve his weaknesses.
10. Being a leader of authenticity, sacrifice and courage who did the ground work long before he got into the highest office in the land that proved his love for people and communities and his desire to impact with words and deeds even when the cameras were no longer rolling.
We celebrate America's past and yet history keeps moving.
Today America will gain a new President.
Join me in praying for all living Presidents, our out going President and our incoming President.
Despite our political affiliations, it is my prayer that each of us will continue our civic duties and will respect one another's views even if they differ because at the end of the day we are all Americans and can continue to impact change.
I shared a post of my heart concern for this past election season in social media recently and I want to share it with each of you.
We can't allow political differences to keep us from moving forward or from reconciling.
Christ came to reconcile us. Let us offer that to others. Where reconciliation is not possible, may grace and a holy anger abound.
May we together approach the future seeking justice, loving mercy and walking humbly before our God. Micah 6:8
Dear Father, thank you for our beloved country, but remind us that it does not belong to us, it belongs to you.
Forgive us as a country for the great divide that keeps us from reconciling with others.
Thank you for the past, present and future.
Make us one.
We thank you for the way that you have used President Obama and we pray that you will use President Trump.
May all of their efforts bring you glory.
Grant wisdom, insight, and direction as you have done in ages past.
All presidents and people must bow at your feet and we honor you because you are the only One that reigns over an unshakable Kingdom. We place our 'unknown future in the hands of an all-knowing God.'
We. Trust. In. You. God.
In your name, amen!