Tuesday, May 9, 2017

On the Graduation of my 8th Grade Son (and God's Guiding Hand Through It All)

I have called Immanuel my home for all of my adult life. I came here as a 23 year old, brand-spankin' new teacher: hopeful, excited, starry eyed, and slightly terrified. Little did I know what God had in store for me at this newfound home. The next five years were a gift that was given to me, an experience to teach at the most wonderful Lutheran school I have ever called home. When my husband and I were expecting our first child, I knew that he or she would someday call Immanuel their home also.

As I wrapped up my final days of teaching second grade, Charlie was born. Thoughts of him being a student at Immanuel seemed like something far off in the distance. Every parent who stares adoringly at their newborn baby finds it hard to imagine that he will someday be a schoolboy. Amazingly, it seemed, those days quickly arrived. He was soon ready to be a "great big preschooler" at Immanuel. He seemingly raced his way through preschool, kindergarten, and the primary grades. Before I knew it, he was old enough to join the basketball team and take up the saxophone in the school band. In the next breath, he was in middle school enjoying outdoor education at Walcamp. Even by the time he was 11 years old, those eighth graders still seemed so big to me! Surely my little boy would never be that big!

And in the blink of an eye, it all happened. A few weeks ago, he was preparing for confirmation, writing his statement of faith, and I've been forced to visualize his 8th grade graduation. How did this happen? When did this happen? As the weather warms up, and I see buds on the trees and my tulips sprouting up through the grass, I feel the clock racing and I can't stop it. May is going to end before I know it, and his time at Immanuel Lutheran School will be over. 

I am overwhelmed with this bittersweet situation. I'm so thankful, happy, and overjoyed that he has had this experience at Immanuel. It has made him such a wonderful, brilliant, and strong Christian young man. I can't wait to see the man he will become, and I'm so excited for his future, but every fiber in my being does not want his Immanuel days to end!

Our God never ceases to amaze me, and once again I saw His guidance in my life and Charlie's as well. About a month ago, we were talking about his upcoming confirmation, and I asked him what verse he chose to be his confirmation verse. He told me he chose Matthew 28:20, "and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Surprised, I asked him if he knew that was my confirmation verse as well. He had unknowingly chosen the same verse that was given to me at my confirmation so many years ago. I immediately saw a "God moment," as we call them at Immanuel. I don't think it's a coincidence, I don't believe in luck. I believe in God's guiding hand, and I believe that He knows my heart just like he knows my son's. That verse means a lot to us, because it's a promise that we will never have to begin new adventures alone. We will never have to face new situations without God by our side. There is nothing that will keep Him from us, nothing that can separate us from Him. 

Thank you God, for the past 12 years at Immanuel, for blessing Charlie as a student here at our school, for the promise of never leaving his side for the rest of his life, and for the blessings I am confident you have planned for his future!

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