"Now, if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may share in his glory” Romans 8:17.
All I have is this black and white photo now, and the memories the accompany it, of a time long since past when my name once appeared in lights on the marquee of this Holiday Inn. It was in 1974, 35 years ago to be exact, when I was crowned "Miss Teen Queen," Junior Division, in a beauty pageant held in this very hotel in downtown Louisville. Joetta Thomas was crowned "Miss Teen Queen,” Senior Division, and Gayle Kelcy, her runner-up in a tightly contested competition of African American young women, mostly older than me, who were, as I saw it, poised, sophisticated, and glamorous.
"What in the world am I doing here?," I kept asking myself as the older women tried to teach me to walk, and talk, and turn on the runway. I was not nearly as poised as Joetta and the rest of the contestants. “How could I possibly win?,” I said.
But somehow, something kept edging me forward, a "Yes, you can!" spirit. It took me to that crowning moment, a moment that is forever cemented in my mind. It was the spirit of my middle school counselor, a pretty black woman, and my elementary school teachers, especially Ms. Sexton, my math teacher, who taught me and mentored me and told me I was somebody. It was the spirit of my mother, and my mother's mother before her, queens in their own right, who seriously insisted that you just didn’t leave the house dressed any kind of way.
I think about that picture when I see young girls degrading themselves and living beneath what God has for them. I that about this picture, too, when I see African American girls looking at girls of other hues thinking they don’t measure up. I tell them, “Honey, you measure up. You are a queen fit for a king. You are a royal priesthood.”
And now that I am older, I am able to look back across the pages of time and see that it was the Holy Spirit at work in my life all along, as it was in this same year, 1974, when He saved me, called me into His glorious kingdom, and truly made me a queen, a co-heir with Jesus Christ. Now, that was a crowning moment indeed!