“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.
a time to be born and a time to die
a time to plant and a time to uproot
a time to kill and a time to heal
a time to tear down and a time to build
a time to weep and a time to laugh
a time to mourn and a time to dance…”
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
“Graduation time brings mixed emotions to our house this year. We have three children and this year our youngest graduates from college. I would not know what is wrong with me if I had not read about the “empty nest syndrome”.
It was a Sunday almost 22 years ago. Betty and I took our two kids and went to church. Betty sang in the choir. While I was preaching, Betty was timing the labor pains. When church was over, someone hurriedly told me that Betty was ready to go to the hospital. With calm haste, we rushed to the hospital and our Kim was born at 2:10 in the afternoon. The next Sunday she went to church and has been there ever since.
When our little one was only 6 months old, we moved to Springfield, Illinois. Everything was strange to her and she cried and hung on to all of us for dear life. Soon the people of the church won her over and she was blessed with many adopted grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters. Every Sunday, she would come home loaded with candy, gum, money, and all kinds of goodies.
At the age of 12 we moved to California and most of our friends thought we were bringing her to the sin center of the world to be ruined. Our church in Springfield had a good Christian school and Kim had always attended this school. How would she change from a Christian school to the public school and from Illinois to California? She made it through La Palma Junior High and Western High School in top form.
Then came the change of going to Pacific Christian College. Now, school days are over. She is excited…I am not ready for her to grow up. As a very unprejudiced father, I point to her and say…”There she is, Miss America”. Her inner Christian faith adds to her outward charm. That’s my girl…and I love her so.” – Floyd
Last month, while sorting through a box of memorabilia, I found this article written by my Dad. He wrote the Pastor’s column every week in the church newsletter, “Knott News”, at Knott Avenue Christian Church for years. Usually the article included something encouraging and humorous or news about an event or mission focus. Remembering back, I didn’t even know he wrote about me until the newsletter came in the mail to our house. It blessed my heart, but I honestly had no idea what he meant by some of those feelings he expressed. At that time in life, I was on the college graduate road with the whole world and all its opportunities ahead of me!
As I pulled the newsletter out of the box this spring, my heart was blessed again. But this time, for the first time, I knew what Dad meant as he described his feelings in that season of life. This June, our youngest graduates from high school. Dad’s recollection was right on. I can remember every moment of our Kelsey’s life from the ride to the hospital at 3:00 in the morning on the day we met her, to her first day at preschool and Kindergarten, to her ballet recitals, gymnastic practices, braces, Jr. High cheer leading and High School choir concerts. She is a talented, beautiful girl with a big heart and her cackling laugh and “all or nothing” spirit have richly blessed our home.
There have been some challenges and pains along the journey for Kelsey. Because of those trials, there is a strength, a fight, a genuineness, and an insight and wisdom that she possesses that will shape her life and bless others along the way. I watched in amazement, over her 19 years, how God placed so many people in Kelsey’s life at just the right time: mentors, friends, teachers, family and church family. In fact, I could name them with vivid recollection, but the list would be far too long. That’s how God graciously provides, and I, as one Mom, am eternally and profoundly grateful.
Now, my girl has made it through high school and is preparing for college, and she made an impact along the way. I will copy my Dad, who ironically became a very real Dad figure to Kelsey, when he said “There she is…Miss America”. Her inner Christian faith adds to her outward charm and beauty. That’s my girl and I love her so.
In this life, every season has challenges mixed with treasured blessings. Whatever season you are walking through right now, whether it be the bleakest of winter or the sunniest of summer – God has something for you. I believe that with all my heart. No time or experience are wasted in His plan. Contrary to the typical human near-sighted outlook, the journeys we face are short-lived and our trials are for a greater purpose:His purpose. Time flies by, as I can attest to this week. We miss a lot of the blessings by not staying engaged or not living in the moment, and wishing for the next season. This amazing scripture constantly remains on our bathroom mirror:
“Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way.” – James 1:3-4, The Message
When you are a child of God, you can walk through any season with hope and joy, knowing He is at work in you. Does that feel insurmountable? Break it down to this day of life. For this day alone: rise and shine, pray, get out of bed and have enough faith to keep walking baby steps and look up. God will meet you there.
Looking back, I can see that some of the darkest seasons of this life, where I did not see a way of escape – those have been some of the richest and most blessing-filled, beautiful spring seasons of all. They produced an unfathomable blessing with an immeasurable and unattainable understanding of God, the value of this life, the treasure of friends, the complete blessing of family. I call it: Priceless wisdom from an unwanted journey.
In this present season of change and growth in our family, we give thanks for the past years of amazing blessing and sweet memories, and we give thanks for what is ahead. As Audrey Hepburn says, “the good ol’ days are still ahead of you…may you have many of them”.
My intense and earnest daily prayer to God to protect Kelsey and her heart continues to this day. I pray the same for you: that June, 2015 will be fantastic. Junetastic. I pray it will be a season of growth, of change, of joy in seeing His blessings, of peace, love and forgiveness, and of conviction to utilize the passions of your heart.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” – Philippians 3:12-14, The Message