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