Monday, February 15, 2021

Precious Butterfly, Spread Your Wings and Fly!

(My speech at my daughter Mwape’s wedding)

My wedding speech is entitled, “Precious butterfly, spread your wings and fly.” Three nights ago, I lay awake at night. I could not sleep. There was one thought that overpowered me. It was the thought that our daughter, Mwape, was getting married. I could not understand why that thought was so emotionally overwhelming. I kept wiping tears away. One song kept playing in my mind that night and it was the song “Butterfly kisses” by Bob Carlisle. The first line of that song goes, “Two things I know for sure. She was sent here from heaven and she’s daddy’s little girl.” That represents my deepest feelings for Mwape. It is from that song that I borrowed the title of my wedding speech. I want to say to Mwape, on behalf of her mom and I, “Precious butterfly, spread your wings and fly.” That night when I could not sleep, I figured the best way to release my pent-up emotions was to get out of bed and write a letter to Mwape that I would read on her wedding day as my speech. Here it is…

Our dearest Mwape, you are now entering that phase of life that your mom and I have walked for the last thirty-three years. It has been our highest honour and joy in life to see how you have grown up into the polished jewel that you are today. I recall the first words your mother spoke the moment you were born. Yes, I was there. She said, “My daughter!” with a sense of relief after the hours of labour pains. It is those same words that have echoed in my mind for the last twenty-seven years. Today I realise that someone will start to call you, “My wife!” with the same emotional intensity, for the years that God will give you together. 

My speech refers to you as a precious butterfly. The birth of a butterfly is unique. It simply changes from a caterpillar into a butterfly. Mwape, your birth was like that. It signalled a very significant shift in our lives as a family. It was at the point that we moved from our first home—45 Boli Street, in Libala—to what became the KBC manse. It was barely four walls and a roof. We asked the deacons to put a ceiling in two rooms—our bedroom and the sitting-room because winter was around the corner and we wanted our precious baby girl to be warm. That shift into an unfinished house, which later slowly got completed, and in which we lived for almost twenty years, is etched upon our memories by your birth into this world.

Your spiritual conversion to Christ also manifests how you resemble a precious butterfly. It is said that when the butterfly first comes out of the caterpillar stage, it cannot fly. It takes some time for its wings to unfold. I recall those anxious moments when, as your dad, I wondered whether grace had wrought its saving effects on you. One day, while away on a preaching trip to Australia, I totally failed to sleep as I wrestled with this thought until I wrote a letter to you, which both of us have since highly treasured. The beautiful spiritual life that your mom and I have seen in you since then is testimony to the “amazing grace” of God in your life.

We all love the way butterflies float in the air as they go from one flower to another, almost dancing in the sunshine of the day as they enjoy the food that God has given them freely in those flowers. Mwape, if there is something we will truly miss in our home once the knight in shining armour whisks you away today will be your sense of humour and your hearty laughter. Whether you were with mom or any of your siblings or friends or ba Miriam, your whereabouts was easily detected by that buoyant spirit that floated in the air through your hearty laughter. Oh, we will miss that sunshine! (A side note here to Ceswa: This explains the steep bride price. We were hoping it would scare you and we would keep Mwape a little longer so that we continue to enjoy her exuberant joy. But judging from how quickly you paid your lobola, we clearly underestimated your determination to enjoy the same benefits!)

Okay, I digress. How can we talk about butterflies without speaking about amazing beauty? I am impressed with Ceswa’s sense of taste, but I will admit that I am biased. Mwape, your quest for excellence in everything you do has recently been seen in your video productions. The quality of videos you produce on your YouTube channel, Crown Your Mane, makes me wonder if we use the same camera. We look forward to seeing what you will do with your new home now that you have the freedom to do with your home what you want to do with it.

I wish I could say that I have butterfly traits. I doubt that I will fool anyone even if I attempted to make such a claim. However, one trait that you are taking with you into your marriage that you certainly got from my genes is that of communication. You share your life with family and friends around the world. You have remained in touch with the preachers who have visited our home to the point where their children have become your friends, despite the fact that you have never met them. Ceswa can relax knowing that his home will be well connected with families on both sides because of your natural gift as a communicator.

Let me end with some words of thanks. I begin with your mother, Mwape. I take very little credit for what God has done in your life because my pastoral and preaching work kept me on the road and in the air quite a lot, as you obviously know. Your mom carried the bulk of the work in the home. When I look at how all of you have turned out—especially now that we are going back to an empty nest—I am the first to thank God for her. I can say in the words of Proverbs 31, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” On behalf of my wife, let me also thank Mwape’s matron, Mrs Natasha Matafwali, and the full team of ladies she enlisted to help Mwape with her wedding preparations. Thank you very much!

Let me add to this your grandparents and your uncles and aunts who have counselled us and come alongside us in the task of parenting. We could not have achieved what we have done without them. Lastly, I want to thank the church—Kabwata Baptist Church. (Here I address the church directly.) I thank you for your many prayers for the children of your pastor. There are days when I am overwhelmed at the thought that while I was running around serving you, you bathed our children with the tears of your prayers. I’ll go to my grave in peace because you pastored our children while I pastored you, among my fellow elders. Continue to pray for them as they go into marriage and family life. Please do not stop praying for them.

I end with the words of the song where I got the theme of my wedding speech. It says…

She’ll change her name today.

She’ll make a promise and I’ll give her away.

Standing in the bride-room just staring at her.

She asked me what I’m thinking, and I said 

“I’m not sure. I just feel like I’m losing my baby girl.”

“Walk me down the aisle, Daddy. It’s just about time.”

“Does my wedding gown look pretty, Daddy? Daddy, don’t cry.”

Oh, with all that I’ve done wrong 

I must have done something right.

(I’ve seen God’s grace and light) 

To deserve her love every morning and butterfly kisses

I couldn’t ask God for more. Man, this is what love is.

I know I’ve gotta let her go, but I’ll always remember

Every hug in the morning and butterfly kisses...

Mwape, “[our] precious butterfly, spread your wings [today] and fly.” Ceswa, she is all yours!


  1. Wow, very touching, it does touch many a heart, biblically and evangelistically

  2. Butterfly Kisses! One of my favourite songs.
    Welcome daddy to Mwaoe❤️

  3. Aaaaawww... So beautiful! Mwape you are so blessed to have a dad like uncle Conrad ❤️

  4. Pstr Conrad this is very profound and definitely from the depths of your heart, thanks for sharing.

  5. What is left to say! You said it all and eloquently. If only i had my Dad's feelings for me to hold and cherish and know how he felt about me before he left for glory 51 years ago now. Surely, God has done a marvelous thing!

  6. Wow! This is a well articulated and thought-out message, man of God.

    Every sentence moved me! I wish there is a way of keeping this in my humble archives so that I would return to it at will.

    Kelvin Jatwa,
    Your disciple since 2003

  7. Wow!! This is so awesome. Nice send off for your little princess. Hearty ode to your daughter. Congratulations to her and husband. May God bless their union.

  8. Awww this is a beautiful speech.

  9. What a beautiful speech! I can feel the profound love you have for your daughters. A father's wholesome love, what a blessing!