Inspired by Hampton Roads license plates

Published 10:13 pm Thursday, December 1, 2016

By Tonya S. Swindell

While driving through Hampton Roads traffic, I enjoy looking at personalized license plates. Many of them provide hopeful messages and teach powerful lessons. And whenever possible I like telling others about inspiration I receive.

I usually see two of my favorite license plates when I drive to work. My co-worker, Verneka, has one that says: “Power In Me” (POWERNME). She told me it was inspired by a lady named Miss Dixie or “Sparkle” who encouraged her to believe that God’s power resides within.

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My friend Carolyn’s license plate says: DUE TIME. She chose it to remind herself of the hopeful message in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

Drivers give a “thumbs-up” or call from their windows to express appreciation for the simple but strong encouragement her license plate provides.

When I found out Janay, my friend’s daughter, chose: “Look back for what?!” (LKBK4WT) as a license tag when she was just a teenager, I was in awe of her wisdom. I told her mother, Tracy, the license plate could “preach a sermon” about letting go of the past and moving forward.

“In His Time” (NHZTYME) reminds me God will carry out His plan at an appointed time, and “Choose Glory” (CHZGLRY) inspires me to honor Him. When I see “My Joy” (MYJOY), I think of Nehemiah 8:10 because it reminds me “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Two days after the 2016 presidential election I saw: “To Forgive” (2 4GV) and considered how difficult it is for people to forgive at this time. The Holy Spirit added to the complexity of what it means to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw or mistake” when I saw a different license plate the very next day.

“Forgive Us” (4 GVE US) was on a car in a parking lot outside a movie theatre in Hampton. The humble message reminds me everybody needs forgiveness, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

“Forgive Us” also reminds me of “The Lord’s Prayer”: “Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

“God Given” (GDGVN) and “Go with grace” (GO WGRCE) inspires me to receive unmerited favor and love from God and then exhibit them to myself and others. Such inspiration elevates my mood, settles my soul and focuses my thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable.

And I’m grateful for clever arrangements of letters, characters and numbers that minister to me every day.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( She can be reached at