Two days ago, my wife reminded me that my first child, my daughter, Amira Elyse Kingsberry's birthday was today. Normally, I remember it before it comes each year, but when my wife said it, it caught me off guard. I've been so busy with work stuff. Most times, it would make me sad or I'd fight tears, but this year it startled me. It just shook me a little. I said, "whoa" and before I could really think about it or reflect, I had to go attend to my children who were avoiding going to sleep like I told them!
Amira's life and death always make me think about my purpose in life and whether I am living it. I think the reminder startled me because I recently did some soul searching about one of my occupations and decided it just wasn't my destiny. It shouldn't have startled me because I have learned to live by faith and trust God. However, you do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.
People always told me I would be and It had always been prophesied to me that I'd be a preacher, but I didn't want to do it. In my mind, preachers made no money and I grew up in the land of preachers and churches where everyone went to church, but had the same problems everyone else did (I mean even the hype, Charismatic, Pentecostal, sho 'nuff Bible-teaching, churches). Thus, I never wanted to be labeled as a hypocrite, even though I had times in life where I was... Lord, help.
Eventually, I accepted the calling. It was just who I was: a preacher. And I wanted to be living this purpose as my daughter and children grew up. So, in 2007, my wife and I moved back to NC in pursuit of purpose. We planted the church that God had put in my heart. I pursued my purpose to be the preacher I had always knew God had called me to be and it was because of Amira.
I encourage you, if you're nosey enough, to buy and read my book The Fourth Man Principle. It's an easy read about purposed adversity and our struggle with Amira's health, decline, and eventual passing. It was the greatest challenge of my faith and life, but I have learned so much from the experience. It has has fueled my heart and passion as a purpose-driven preacher, pastor, and servant of God in ways that I never imagined.
So, when my wife reminded me of Amira's birthday, I was startled because I knew that it was time to gauge whether I'm living out my purpose again. This is the same purpose that brought us back to NC and fueled the resilience to weather the storms of life and ministry. I asked myself, "Are you doing what God told you to do? Did Amira die in vain?" And in recent years, God called me out of public education, though I tried to stay on that pay scale with those benefits. I tried to make it my purpose because it had become comfortable, but in 2014 He shifted me. I didn't know what to do when I left education, but God led me back into law practice and supernaturally touched my firm as I trusted Him.
Now, it's time for me to make another change and to refocus. I don't think I'll be able to completely come out law practice, but I must press into Kingdom advancement more. Although I've been in ministry for eight years, there's more to do.
It's one thing to know, but to really know is another thing. Years ago, in 2010, while trying to get answers about Amira's illness, the Lord told me and reaffirmed my life purpose to me. I'll never forget it. At my dentist's office I heard in that deep place: "Your purpose is to be my mouthpiece, you will use your creative and artistic gifts, but the main purpose is to speak for me—You and your whole household after you." And I promised to do just this: Speak for God! So, today, I reaffirm this purpose and commit to it more fully in honor and memory of my baby girl, Amira Elyse Kingsberry.