The day we’ve been working towards for the past 18+ years has arrived. Today my husband and I are moving our baby girl to college. Even though helping to shape her into an independent adult has been the goal all along, I will admit I feel a bit unprepared for the other side now that we are staring that goal right in the face.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT)
Today marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, not only for Hillary, but for the whole family. We are entering a new season. It’s time, yet change can be scary. Lately, the range of emotions at my house has covered quite a bit of territory—anywhere from total dread to pure excitement, sometimes all at the same time!
We will encounter various seasons over the course of our lives, and our calling, or activity, will be a bit different in each one. For instance, when my daughter was born with significant health issues, I was called to leave my teaching job behind to stay at home with her. It was quite a transition. Are you currently moving from one season into another? Perhaps you have just come out on the other side of a life-altering transition. No matter your story I am confident that you can relate to this idea of changing seasons. It can be hard, sometimes even downright scary, to let go of the comfortable and enter into the unknown. I have good news—we have company!! We are not alone. Heed these words from God to the prophet Isaiah and take comfort:
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)
These words are for you and me too. Go ahead and acknowledge that life may never be the same. Let’s not allow fear to paralyze us though. Rather, let’s walk boldly into the future knowing that God is with us each step of the way and will see us through to victory. As a good friend frequently tells me, “I read the end of the book—we win!”
Best wishes to the college freshmen and their families as they embark on that next chapter. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Go get’em Hillary!
My daughter, my baby, and my miracle, all wrapped up quite neatly into one person will be graduating from high school in a few short hours. Just the thought brings tears to my eyes, happy ones of course. According to the dictionary, to graduate means to complete an academic degree, course of training, or high school. The ceremony tonight is called commencement. To commence means to start or begin. Hmm…which is it, an ending or a beginning? I am going to give one of Hillary’s favorite answers—both! It is an ending AND a beginning all rolled up into one special evening. We celebrate her accomplishments tonight and look forward to what God has in store for the next chapter of her life. As her newly decorated graduation cap states, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow!” If you’ve ever been to Disney World you might remember that quote from the Carousel of Progress. There’s a chance you might even be singing it right now!
A time of transition…are you there? It applies to much more than graduation. Did you just pass your driver’s test? Get married? Divorced? Have your first child? Send a child off to school for the first time? Begin a new job? Retire? Are you moving? Grieving? All of these events and many more involve a time of transition, moving from one chapter to the next, a beginning and an end. Life will never be quite the same. Sometimes that thought makes us sad and other times it makes us happy. Change can be scary and exciting, sometimes all at once. Do you embrace change or fear it? If you’re like me, it just depends on the circumstances.
If you can relate on any level to where I find myself today as a parent of a graduate, I want to leave you with two somewhat familiar, but powerful, promises found in God’s Word that bring me comfort during these times of transition:
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
Dedicated to my graduate, Hillary Jayne Leipold, and all graduates from the Class of 2014
So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. Joshua 3:14-16 (NLT)
Sorry I haven’t written anything lately. I was just waiting for God to supply some material. That, and a little time. I’ve been rather busy with the start of a new semester and watching my favorite cheerleader, my daughter Hillary, in action. As I write this, we are on our way to take a closer look at one of the three colleges Hillary is considering for the next chapter of her life. College has become a bad word at our house over the last several months. It seems my girl isn’t all that excited about leaving her comfort zone and wading into the unknown.
For the past few weeks I have been wrestling with God over a pretty big decision, at least in my small mind. I have waffled quite a bit during this decision-making process. This morning as I was praying for Hillary and about our day ahead God provided the material for my blog as well as an answer to prayer.
It turns out that I’m not so different from my girl. This decision that I have been grappling with would require me to step outside my comfort zone in a big way too. I can give a whole host of reasons why I shouldn’t step into the Jordan by accepting this assignment, the first being that I am not qualified, or at least not in my mind. I can certainly relate to Moses. But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11 NLT) God reminded me this morning that it isn’t about me. It’s about His power at work IN me. And with that I repeat the words of Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) I was unable to view this as God’s calling until He related it to my daughter’s situation this morning. As I encourage her to put her foot in the Jordan, I must be willing to do the same. For the first time in weeks, I have peace regarding this decision.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
Are you facing a decision that would lead you into uncharted waters too? Afraid to leave your comfort zone? May I invite you to step into the Jordan with me? I would welcome the company. Let’s step out in faith together!