This whole graduating thing is not for the faint of heart, y'all. Every time an event comes up, I am so emotional! Silly things make me cry. I cannot imagine how our friends must feel who have kids going away, because our lives aren't changing at all, but it's still incredibly heart wrenching. I guess it's just a mom thing. Last night our church gave a dinner to honor the graduating class of 2017, and it was beautiful.
I thought I'd share some pictures.
We got there early and took this before we walked in. The dinner was at the Windyke country club, in an outdoor tent. The weather was perfect for an outside dinner. We signed in and I loved on all "my" girls who showed up.
After we ate, Abbey gave a message to the girls, and one of the bible fellowship teachers gave one to the guys. Jason (the youth pastor) spoke, then our pastor spoke. I am so incredibly thankful for our church family! I know I say it all the time, but it's true.
(Abbey and me.)
After all of the speaking, we watched a picture slideshow, then went out to take pictures.
(Pastor Chuck and Graham.) I am so grateful for this man of God who is our preacher. His message last night was so sweet and one that I pray all the seniors take to heart.
This picture cracks me up! We were posing for a selfie, and somehow it's just fitting for this whole group of girls.
(Rachel and me.)
(Left to right are Hannah, Kathryn, BK, and Rachel.)
(Hannah and Abigail.)
(Rachel, BK, Hannah, and Graham.)
(Jason and Graham.)
(Abigail and Rachel.)
(Graham and Abigail.) They were trying to recreate a second grade pose.
I have several things I'm praying for over these graduates.
I pray that they always, always, always love Jesus with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.
I pray they always love others more than they love themselves.
I pray that they will always and forever CLING to Jesus and never, ever, ever let Him go. These college years will be the hardest of their lives, and this is the age when believers turn their backs on God. My prayer is that they never do that. I know He has a firm grasp on them, but I pray they literally cling to Him. I know some of these students have such a strong walk with God, but several of them do not.
I pray that they remain lifelong friends. Most of them have grown up together. Graham has been friends with several of these girls since he was in kindergarten. Some of these friends are newer, and their bonds are strong. I pray they never lose touch. There are several who are staying here in Memphis.
I pray that as they start a new phase of life that they will trust in God for His plan for their lives. I love these girls so much, and some of them have had the same goals and dreams for a very long time. My prayer for the ones like this is that they are open to what God has in store for them. How many of us know that though we can make our plans, the Lord determines our steps? And we all know, as well, that sometimes what we plan for our lives just doesn't go how we thought it would. I pray that they trust God, that they're open to His plan as He leads them, and that they're obedient to His call on their lives.
I pray that during these college years and into adulthood, that their faith in God grows stronger, that they develop stronger, deeper relationships with the Lord. Every single year of our life, we should be closer to God than we were the year before. We should be continually moving up if you imagine us at the bottom and God at the top, on a graph. We should never be just staying the same in our relationship with Him, and we certainly should not be content in that, if we are. I pray that as they continue to grow in age, that they will see more and more the goodness of the Lord and His lovingkindness.
I pray for new relationships as they move on. Some of them will meet their future spouses. Some of them have already met their future spouses, and just don't know it yet. Our pastor mentioned this in his talk to them last night, that they should look for the people around who are believers, and form close relationships with them. Friends will either drag you down or lift you up. The bible calls this kind of uplifting friend an iron that sharpens iron friend. (Somewhere in Ecclesiastes.) Prayerfully, many of them will join an on-campus ministry like the BCM. (I didn't know until last night that this stands for Baptist Collegiate Ministry.)
I have been co-leading this precious group of girls since their ninth grade year. Next to raising my own boys, it has been one of the biggest privileges of my life. I have grown so close to these lovies, and I honestly don't know if I'll ever feel the same about another group of girls, partly because they've been best friends to my boys, partly just because I know them so very well. I pray they always consider me as one of their mentors, or a spiritual mama. I will forever be available to them, and I hope to continue our relationship as they go through college, get married, and start having babies. I love them that much. I cannot wait to see how their lives unfold, as God sets His plan for them in action. It's such an exciting time!
Hopefully some of them will read this today. If you're one of them, know that I love you so much.
Love to all.