This week I had the blessed opportunity of attending my very first Debut! A debut is a celebration in the Philippines when a girl turns 18 years old. It’s similar to a quinceanera in Latin American culture, or sweet 16 in American culture. In Filipino culture, the debut is a coming of age ceremony when a young girl blossoms into woman hood. 18 was the theme of the celebration. There were three different groups of 18 special people in the debutant’s life. One group of 18 came one by one and presented gifts with a short speech appreciating the debutant. Another group presented candles and wishes for the debutant in her life ahead. The final group of 18 were young men who presented roses and danced with the debutant. Of course there was also food and games included in the festivities.
This beautiful young lady, the debutant, is a member of my church and a singer on our worship team. In January she joined our worship training at church and made a commitment to grow spiritually and musically for the sake of serving God and the church through worship. I’ve had the opportunity to watch her grow in this short time from a shy quiet girl hiding in the background to a beautiful young lady who has a powerful voice and pure heart.
I was surprised and so honored when she invited me to her debut. I’ve always desired to partake in as many Filipino cultural experiences as possible, and attending a debut was definitely on the list. I found the perfect present, got all dolled up, and went expecting a great time. I was even more surprised when I was approached and asked to have a part in the ceremony! I was given the privilege of presenting one of the 18 candles along with a wish.
My heart was so full as I approached the beautiful debutant and shared my delight in knowing her. As tears poured from her eyes I realized my place in her life. She looks up to me. My words and opinion of her have value. Yes, I am her leader and my intention has always been to disciple and guide her, along with the others, but I never know what they truly receive from me. I set out in obedience and hope for the best. Being there that night with her closest friends and family memebers really meant a lot to me. She gave me permission to speak into her life and celebrate the happy occasions with her. I am in awe!
Through this blessing, I realize that we all have a coming of age time in our lives, even multiple times. Yes, we grow older physically, but I’m thinking about our spiritual growth. How do we celebrate the milestones God has given us? Do we invite Him to our special celebrations? What promise or encouraging Word has He spoken over your life? Do you know His place in your life? Does He add value to you? So many thoughts that require much attention and some soul searching.
For me, I realize that my value gives value to others. As I grow in the Lord and know myself as He knows me, I can then confidently share that same love and value to others. Like the debutant, I no longer want to live in the quiet, hidden shadows of the past. I want to come out and be known as the beautiful woman I am, the one I was created to be.