How fitting that it was right before Mother's Day.
We had our graduation recognition last Sunday. Kindergartners, eighth graders, and high school seniors were celebrated for their accomplishments. There were college graduates, too! Each one smiled in a bit of embarrassment at the attention, we clapped and they received a gift from our church. It was SHOCKING that they had all grown up! I found myself wiping tears that they were so old.
At the close of the service, the pastor/my beloved, felt compelled to have special prayer for the graduates and their parents. The students were to gather around our Youth Pastor on one side of the sanctuary. Then, he asked the parents of them to come forward for prayer as well. They were to join me on the other side.
The kids moved slowly toward Pastor Keenan, while the parents rushed to the front for prayer. They huddled around me in tears. So many new things lay before them. So many fears danced in their heads.
My heart went out to these sweet parents. They were afraid, shocked that the time had passed so quickly, and in need of some encouragement! And so, with tears of my own, I prayed for these moms and dads. That they would be braver than ever before. That they would show their faith to their growing up kids. That they wouldn't worry but would trust God more than ever.
I learned that from my mom.
I had seen my own mother in times of crisis. Decades ago, we were in hiding - a story for another day. During those months, my mom didn't walk the floor wringing her hands and worrying. She trusted in the Lord Almighty! She had a sword and a gun. The sword was the Word of God as mentioned in Ephesians 6:17. She wielded it with courage and might, knowing a Bible verse for every hour, every situation. The gun was real and loaded.
She was Rahab before I knew the story, minus the prostitute situation, of course. She put her trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, willing to start a new life with her family. She trusted that He could and would help her!
I saw that my mother's faith was genuine. She could be strong and courageous each day because she KNEW the Lord was with her, just like stories in the Scripture! She didn't just have a Bible she was living in it! She had page after page marked and ready to share at a moment's notice. (We found that Bible recently. It is a treasure!)
My mom had hidden God's Word in her heart! It gave her strength and wisdom!
I hoped these Moms and Dads standing before me would show their faith to their graduates, too. Just like them, they were starting a new chapter in life. Many unknowns were just around the corner. They needed God's strength and His Word! I pray that they will be warriors and not worriers! That their faith will be bigger than their fears! That they will boldly face the future! Whew!
These parents didn't realize it, but they were all going to be fine. God is big enough to take care of every one of them and their growing up children who were babies not too long ago. He saw them formed in the womb and will continue to see them wherever their paths lead them.
How about you? Do you have a graduate or child who is going on to a chapter you never expected would be here so soon? Is your heart racing every time you think of the change that is coming? It's all perfectly normal, and completely terrifying! Take this word of advice from your Aunt Dawn: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the LORD in everything you do, and He will show you the right way," Proverbs 3:5-6 GNT.
Being a parent or a graduate is tough! It's good we don't have to get through it all on our own! We can take strength from the Father of all Fathers. He can give us a good dose every day!
Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.