Wednesday, June 15, 2016

To Allison on your graduation:

There is nothing more I want for you this week than for you to feel celebrated. YOU DID IT!! Tonight, you will have your diploma. A mere piece of paper, but oh, what it represents. . . . hard work, stress, tough decisions, lifelong friendships, wonderful teachers and mentors, so much learning, so much questioning, so much deciding about what you believe and the kind of person you want to be . . .

You have navigated these years so well. I know there have been times you wanted to give up. Times when it seemed your hard work wasn’t going to pay off. Times when you wondered if it was all worth it. I hope as you walk across that stage tonight when they call your name that you will know, in the deepest places of your heart, that, yes, it was all worth it. I hope you will hear in your heart the voices of God, His angels, your family and friends, saying “Well done, sweet girl.”

I also know there have been times when I have missed cues about how stressed you were, times when I misjudged the importance of a given moment or decision, times when I was too eager to jump in with my own opinion instead of just listening. Thank you for the forgiveness and grace you have extended to me during those times. You have been an example to me.

God has given me some incredible gifts this past year as I have done my best to get ready to set you free to soar . . .  He has confirmed your decision to attend Seattle Pacific in some amazing ways. He has assured me that He has plans for me that will fill the void while you are away. He has reminded me in so many moments to stop and take a mental picture – to record in my mind and heart the gift that it is to be your Mom. Even this morning, when you were leaving, and you said, “This is the last time I’ll be walking out the door to go to school.” I stopped and thought about how many mornings there have been, how many times I’ve said “have a good day”. What I want you to know is how very grateful I am for every single one of those days.

God has also used His Word, as He so often does, to remind me of how our lives have come full circle.

At some point, I think in the last couple of years, Micah 6:8 has become your favorite Bible verse. “The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” It was the theme verse for your Jackson mission trip. It is one of the driving forces behind what you want to do with your life. And it holds a deep, rich meaning for me.

Do you know that you memorized this verse as a very young child? It was either Cubbies or Sparkies, so you were no older than 6. I remember working on it with you. I was always grateful that when you were given memory verses, there were always activities and questions that helped you understand the verse. You would learn what words like “just” and “mercy” meant. It wasn’t just about rote memory; it was about getting to know your Father.

Sometime after memorizing that verse, we were at the park for one of our Saturday play dates. You came over to me at one point very distressed because the other kids you were playing with were being mean to another child on the playground. You told the other kids to stop being mean and they wouldn’t. The other child walked away and you did too. You didn’t want to be a part of that. At such a young age, God gave you the courage to do that.

Later that day, I told you how proud I was of you for how you handled that situation. You said, “Mom, I just kept thinking about that verse I memorized about doing what is right and loving mercy.” I was speechless and so grateful that God was faithfully helping you hide His word in your heart.

Why am I sharing this with you now? Because it is an amazing example of how God works in our lives. Years later, this verse is a driving, guiding force for you, a “mission statement” for your life. We didn’t know back then what the future held, but He did. He was developing in you a heart for the oppressed, the abused, the misunderstood. And He has used EVERY circumstance of your life to shape you into who He wants you to be, to equip you to accomplish the purposes He has for your life.

So as you complete this chapter of your life, I want you to know, at the very deepest levels, that God is always working, always active in your life. There will be times when you can’t hear Him and you wonder why He is silent. There will be times when He feels distant. There will be times when you can’t make sense of what is going on.

But you have a history. A history of knowing that He is always working, always redeeming, always loving. That’s what we cling to during the dark times.

But now – now is a time to celebrate, to be happy, and to be grateful. So, tonight when you walk across that stage and receive that diploma, when you hug your friends and take thousands of selfies and feel like the world belongs to you, may you know I am celebrating too – celebrating who you are, who you will be, and the crazy, amazing, life-changing, incredible gift it is to be your Mom. I will never stop being grateful for that.

He is singing over you today. That is true every day, but especially today, may you hear Him singing over you.

You did it! We are so proud. He is so proud. We celebrate you today!