Happy Birthday, Tredessa

Tredessa turned 26!

We were in Wilmore, Kentucky for the Ichthus Festival on Saturday, on Dessa’s birthday,  gathering information and learning from people who have managed to keep a festival going for 40 years now.  I got to watch watch Tredessa in action interviewing people much older and I was so impressed at her ease and ability to draw the most important information from them.  She is soft-spoken and gentle, easy to talk to (and talk, they did), but she has the ability to harness millions of bits of data, opinion, strategy (both good and bad, both successful and disastrous) and infuse it into a leadership team of nearly 100 people who will make Heaven Fest all God has ordained it to be.

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I stood back and watched.  I listened.  I thought, “Wow!  She is good.” 

Then I remembered.  She’s my girl.  She’s my beautiful baby.  She’s my little Dessy-Pooh-Pie.  She is 26.  And I know her to be a caring person, a life-giving, true friend/sister/daughter to her family and influential auntie to the grand-bebes, a true comrade-of-the-heart to those who take the time to know her, and a young woman wholly devoted to the Lord.


Tre was a gift to us.

Tredessa was born on a beautiful day in Kokomo, Indiana.  The timing of her arrival was planned only by God and how good He was to give us this amazing daughter.  She was born exactly 1 year and 3 weeks after her sister, Stephanie, making her the 3rd girl in a row.  I remember getting into the car to go to the hospital and the smell of lilacs (it seems it would have been late for that, but I recall it, nonetheless).  I remember a hot sun and a cool breeze, the shrubs all fluttering lightly and knowing I’d soon have another baby.  Somehow the day seemed blessed.  Somehow it seemed the birds were singing in celebration and God had particularly delighted in creating a wondrous day.

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I took her home in a yellow outfit and sunbonnet and few days later, symbolizing the dazzling brightness and joy of her arrival.  And the summer of Tredessa (1983) was a blessed one.  It was daddy and mommy and our three adorable little girls, Tara, Stephanie and Tredessa and life was just so, so, so good: lots of hair and barrettes and blow-up swimming pools and bbqing and church life and friends and Martha Miniature dresses and hot and humid Indiana.  She was sweet and easy.  I recall sweet and easy days of love. 

26 wishes for Tredessa on the occasion of her 26th birthday

Tredessa, I love you and bless and wish so many good things for you.  Can I tell you a few?

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  1. I wish for all of your days to have the sense of blessing on them in your life that the day of your birth and all the days I have known you since have had.
  2. I wish for God to show you the next step…just the one, so you’ll know without a doubt you are dwelling directly in the place He has prepared.
  3. I am wishing thousands of hugs and kisses for you from the children you’ll have someday (with the most amazing man you’ll marry someday), the fruit of all the seeds of love you have planted in your nieces and nephews.
  4. As a matter of fact, I pray your siblings will be as great at loving and watching over your kids as you have been with theirs.  You have an unusual and very intentional connection to all those little boogers.
  5. I pray that one day you will hear the reports and know the impact you made on the Venezuelan orphans in spite of the government overtake.  Those kids will grow up.  They will look for their (spiritual) Mama Tredessa.
  6. I pray that you will cause thousands of people to know God’s love and understand His work in their lives they way you do.  The way you go after God makes people hungry to know Him that way.
  7. I wish for your joy to be full, full, full.
  8. I am praying peace for you in these days of transition.
  9. All your dreams can come true, it can happen for you, if you’re young at heart…and it doesn’t hurt that you are, in fact, actually young!
  10. I hope you wear lots of dresses this year because you are so cute in them.
  11. Like Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility, you are practical, circumspect and discreet.  You are tremendously sensible and use your head in every situation, but there is that deeply emotional side.  There is that part of you that sometimes scares you and very few people know it exists.  I pray a whole bunch of people will take the initiative to find that side and drag your vulnerability out of you.  *smile…be brave…
  12. I wish you “rest for your soul.”  Because that is what Jesus wants for you, too.  (Remember telling me that??)
  13. I am wishing with all my might you will hear the secrets of the Lord as you fear Him and give Him your reverent awe.
  14. Do you know you garner trust from people young and old?  May it always be so.
  15. I hope you’ll always know how you bless me.  A few years ago, after you’d had a consultation with some one who thought they were dealing with a novice, as she searched for ways to express what a “surprise” you’d been, how efficient and advanced for your years you were, she said to me, “Well, Tredessa is an extraordinary young woman.  She told me she is gifted just like you.”  And, wow, I was taken aback and swelled with pride.  I was honored that you’d tell some one something like that.  Honey?  You’re waaaaaay more amazing!
  16. I pray for the Lord to be your strong tower.  You have a strength, an inner resolve, but babycake, you will never be so strong you don’t have to lean on Jesus!  I know you know that, but this is a reminder.
  17. I am praying for clear guidance and direction from the One who said He’d lead you and guide you.  He will.
  18. I hope you’ll let the doors that must close, close.  And look back with gratefulness and humility.
  19. Be brave as you walk through new doors.
  20. Fall in love, if you have time.
  21. Flirt a lot first.  Come on-you can do it.
  22. I wish for you to accept the fact that you are a spiritual brickhouse!  Seriously!  Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power and don’t worry about it!  Never apologize for that!
  23. I wish a great summer for you.
  24. I am praying Heaven Fest will bless you back!
  25. I wish thousands more songs for you.  Sing your soul out, Tre Tre.  Play your funky music! (Have mercy on me, sometimes, though).
  26. And baby?  Live with abandon!  Really, really live with abandon!  It’s your time!  It is!

Happy Birthday a smidgen late, my beloved daughter…mom

pictured: TOP ROW~Tre with the man she “found” on her birthday at Ichthus…on the Techno stage; SECOND ROW~The “Dessa’s ladies” collage from her b-day celebration; THIRD ROW~Tre with Tara and Hunter and me at Ichthus this past week; FOURTH ROW~Tredessa with her sometimes archnemesis/sometimes best buddy, Luke; Tre with niece Averi-the-little-lady.

7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Tredessa


    You are an amazing younger sister! I learn so much from you about patience and grace. I look up to you in so many ways!

    A few things you that are good at:

    Hair growing
    Movie watching

    I am so looking forward to seeing you fall in love and get married, but that also reminds me to enjoy this time with you NOW – because I will miss Tredessa Rhoades when she is gone! ;o)

    I love you little sis!

  2. Thanks, mama! That was so beautiful and such a blessing. I will take those birthday wishes/advice to heart. Thank you for making me into the person that I am today. And thanks, Steph, for your wonderful words. I’m pretty lucky to be a part of such an amazing family. Love you!

  3. Happy Birthday you beautiful, brunette, bombshell, Tredessa! You are an awesome example of a girl who “serves with strength and joy, just like Jesus.” I love you, Dawn

  4. Happy birthday Dess! It’s a bummer we couldn’t all be with you on your birthday but I’m glad you met a “man”…he looks awesome! :) I love you and am so blessed to have you a sister!

  5. Oh, Thatcher! I agree with Wrex…you can do a little better than that! hahahah

    So much to say to my sweet friend, Tredessa…I am so blessed by you…more than you will ever know…even though I think I tell you at least once a week. :)
    You are magnificently beautiful…inside and out…
    You have the sweetest spirit…that I desire so much for myself…
    You make loving and living for the Lord soooo incredibly attractive…
    You are so very loyal and life giving when you speak of your friends…
    You have the tiniest, most feminine hands and you DO grow hair better than anyone I know…let’s trade!

    This list could go on and on…maybe I should start up my blog again for this reason. ;) I hope you know how much you are loved and cherished this birthday…because you are…by many. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  6. Dessa-roo!! Wow, what a KILLER blog this is… a true, yet abbreviated representation of you. I say it’s abbreviated because there’s so much depth to you… I recognize Jesus in you… oh yes, I’m watching for Him and find Him regularly in you. You are my sister… I will fight for you like a brother…

    I love you! :)


    ps. You are the bomb!

  7. Dessa,
    Just like I told you on your Birthday…You are comfort to me. You are one of my best friends and confidants. I love to talk to you on the phone…(I abhor talking on the phone!) What would I, could I do without dessa in my life? I am grateful for you and I definitely celebrate you EVERYDAY! With Love, Tara

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