Two Sundays ago, my family, along with our fellow D-group members (Discipleship group), were invited to witness a unique sixteenth birthday celebration. There were no balloons hanging from the ceiling nor was there a DJ filling the house with loud music. There was only an LCD projector, a laptop and a karaoke system.
About twenty to thirty people lined up for the breakfast buffet that cool morning. Close friends and family were there to witness Ally’s Bat Barakah.
Bat Barakah or Bar Mitvah, as some are more familiar with, is a Jewish tradition where the 13-year-old son or daughter of a Jewish family is given the rite of passage. I’ve seen this in movies and in documentaries shown on TV. So, “Bar” means son and “Bat” means daughter while Barakah means blessing. So in sense Bar/Bat Barakah means Blessing of the son or daughter.
The program began with Mike, Ally’s father, sharing his and her wife’s desire to bless their daughter as they publicly declare that she is no longer a child but a young lady. They (Mike and Mavic) wanted their community to see their daughter the same way. Blessings will also be given to Ally not only by them but also by a select group of women.
Why the need for a blessing? Mike quotes Deuteronomy 8:18 which says 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” God indeed gave Ally her skills, intelligence and talent to be used for the glory of God. Both parents believed that though their daughter is only sixteen, she was well beyond her age and that it was the right time to do it to do the ceremony.
What will that blessing give Ally? Again in Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, ” This is the day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that i have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Ally was reminded to choose God and choose life. She chooses to live her life for God who will develop her not only physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well.
God will also confirm Ally’s identity and to whom she belongs to. Ally is a woman of God. The Lord will also reveal her true purpose in life as God has specific purposes for us and our children.
Soon the six women who were chosen to bestow blessings to Ally were called one by one. These women were hand-picked by Mike and Mavic as they have seen how these chosen few lived the Christian life and that they are truly women of influence.
As Mavic bestowed her blessing to Ally, I was touched by her statement and I quote, ” I don’t need to tell you anything because you already know. We always talk about anything and we do that all the time.” Because Mavic and Mike chose to continue homeschooling their children until high school, they have created a unique bond with each other. More than the goals achieved, lessons learned and formulas memorized, it’s the moment by moment conversation they had with each other that really mattered. They know each other very well, so just like what Mavic said, “there’s nothing more to say.”
As Mavic ended her talk, she took her katana and warned Ally and her future suitors or soon to be husband that if they make a mistake in hurting their daughter… they have to face the Katana not only of Mavic but that of Mike and Ally’s older brother, Paddy! (The katana is one of their props when the family used to dress up for Cosplays)
Soon Mike took the stage again and presented not only his blessings to Ally but also a purity ring to her daughter. The ring had two hearts and a cross at the middle which symbolizes Ally and her future husband with God at the center. Wearing the purity ring is a vow Ally makes that she will remain pure and preserve herself until the day she gets married. What a poignant moment between father and daughter.
As always, I was inspired by the celebration and blessing that these parents did to their children. This was the first time my family ever witnessed an event like these. We were moved to do the same when our kids reach that age too or older. But more than the celebration, it’s the commitment to bring up our children in the way of the Lord. There is no perfect parent, neither is there a parent child. But we have a perfect Father in heaven who trains us through his Word so we too can pass on the training to our children and to their children’s children.
Our children will also serve Him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything He has done. Psalm 22:3-31
It was a bittersweet moment to see this family. Happy that they started this tradition with their two older kids but sad because in a few weeks they will be moving to the county where katanas were made. The family will be moving to Japan for a mission God has called them. Though my “friendship” with Mavic is short-lived I have seen her heart because she wears it on her sleeves. She is a passionate teacher and mom to her kids. She has a heart for the Lord though their relationship has its ups and downs too. Yet she openly shares her mistakes and joys to encourage me when I needed them. I will truly miss her.
It is my prayer that God will continue to not only provide for them and bless them in their new adventure but He will also sustain and comfort them as they face new challenges ahead. Sayonara my friend!
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples. Psalm 96:2-3
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