Friday, May 30, 2008

An Open Letter to my JOY

Dear Joy:

Today is your High School graduation. By the time tonight ends, you will have completed another of life’s key milestones. So often I watch parents view their child’s High School graduation as a sad event as they think of their son or daughter leaving home and heading off to college. Without question, I will greatly miss having you present in our home every day once you leave for Liberty, but for me today is not a day of sadness but one of great celebration.

Eight-teen years ago God gave your mom and I one of the greatest “joys” of our life when He gave us you. But one thing I have never allowed myself to forget is that His giving you to us was not for us to own you for our purposes and our pleasure, but rather to raise you in such a way that you would be owned by Him for His purposes and His pleasure. As I look at the amazing young lady you have become, I can’t help but see tonight’s festivities with a sense of accomplishment. Though we were not perfect and though we made multiple mistakes over the years as your parents, I can smile with great satisfaction as I watch you walk across that platform tonight and receive your diploma.

For me, tonight is one of a sense of “Mission Accomplished.” Don’t get me wrong. I know that your mom and I still have a key role to play in your life, and I look forward to each and every stage that is ahead, but in a very real sense, the formative years come to an end tonight. From here on out you will be more on your own each and every day. But you are ready. Your love for life, your love for Jesus, and your love for people are genuine traits that you possess and that everyone who knows you can clearly see.

You’ve come a long way from that highly strong willed little girl that tried your parent’s patience on an hourly basis at times. Your mom could not be more right when she says that it is amazing what God can do with a strong willed child when He gets a hold of their heart. How true that is of you. God got a hold of your heart and it is amazing what He has, is, and will continue to do through you. I can’t wait to see where He takes you from here. And no matter where that place is or what it entails, you can count on one thing...that same dad that cheered on each dig you made on the volleyball court and who cheered you on each time you knocked an opposing player on their butt on the soccer field, will continue to be your #1 cheerleader in whatever God has in store for you.

It seems like just yesterday that we celebrated your first birthday in Ohio on the same day that I was ordained into ministry. Then we watched you graduate from Kindergarten in Indiana. Now tonight in Pennsylvania we will watch you give your valedictorian address and end your High School career. Enjoy it, sweetheart. You have earned it. You have worked hard. You have matured. And along the way you have brought me countless “joys” in so many different ways. I love you, Joy, and I am so very proud of you!


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