Thursday, February 24, 2011


Be prepared that this post is long...

In a little over two months, I will graduate from my masters program.  It's weird to me.  It feels like it happened very slow and very fast all at the same time.  I know my blog has been somewhat lonely since I started the program, but it seems like I just wrote the post about starting classes.

Yesterday, I received an email congratulating me on meeting the requirements for graduation. Today, I received an email reminding me of the grad fair where I can order my cap, gown, and (this time around) hood.   Much like in my undergraduate years, these emails flooded me with relief and a little stress:  this is really happening! 

God has a funny way of helping me grow and reminding me of where I've been all at the same time.  The email I received about graduation also contained the dates, times, and locations for the graduation ceremonies. In an institution of our size, we have numerous ceremonies.  My ceremony is Friday, May 13 at 8:00 p.m. in the Hearnes Center.

Let me break it down to you as to why this exact date and time is so very symbolic to me.

First, for those who don't know, the 13th is a big thing for the hubs and me.  Specifically, Friday the 13th is even more special.  You see, Hubs proposed to me on Friday, April 13, 2007.  On Friday, July 13, 2007 we were married.  We started our jobs in our current city on August 13.  Our new home has the number 13 in the address (which we did not know until we closed).  We celebrate every Friday the 13th.  It is our special day.  More important than our anniversary, it allows us to remember the little things and celebrate the Lord's hand in our life and our love for each other.  Now, my grad school graduation will be added to the list of important family activities that landed on Friday the 13th.

Lest you think it ends there, something heavy hit me about the announcement of my ceremony.  You see, going to the same institution for undergrad and grad school does some funny things to a person.  Or I should say, does some funny things to me.  I had known the date and time of my ceremony for a few months but the location was news to me.  The Hearnes Center.  Not a big deal.  It's the largest place to hold a graduation ceremony.  What's weird to me is that almost exactly five years ago, I stood on the floor of the Hearnes Center to receive my Bachelors in Arts.  The same floor.  And yet, on May 13, 2011, I will be in a completely different place.

I left undergrad feeling alone.  Uncertain.  Unhappy.  Unwanted.  And unprepared.  This had nothing to do with anyone but me.  My family was all there--smiling, taking pictures.  My future employers--the family who would help me find my place in the world while I watched their daughter--were there.  I had plans--a job even.  Yet, as I stood there on that rainy, chilly, day, all I could feel was alone.  I was so far away from my God I could have had the world but it wouldn't have mattered.  I didn't have it together.  But most importantly, I had no idea why I didn't have it together.  I knew I was a mess.  But I wasn't ready to fall back into the arms of the God who loved me and the family who supported me.  So I stood on that day wanting to be anywhere but in my cap and gown.  Wanting to run back to the certainty of college--the ability to pretend that the real world didn't exist.

My God held tight to me.  He held me and taught me even when I didn't think I wanted him to.  And though I didn't know it, he was teaching the same lessons to a tall, dark, and hansom young man I would meet four months later and marry just more than a year past my graduation.

Friday May 13, I will stand in front of the loving family I had there the first time.  I will stand with a husband who sacrificed alongside me for two years to make this day happen.  And most importantly, I will stand there clinging to the promises of my Father in Heaven that he will never leave me nor forsake me.  That I can love him even when I don't understand.  And that he will love me.  I can stand in confidence.  Not in my job.  Not in my abilities or knowledge that I learned.  And definitely not in my ability to make plans and be certain they will turn out as I wish.  But I can stand confident that no matter what happens, I am not in control.  After five years, I have learned the best control of all is no control at all.

And I look forward to standing in the same spot and being in a different place.

2 Corinthians 7:15-17 (English Standard Version) (from

15And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers(A) the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16I rejoice, because I have perfect(B) confidence in you.

Here's to growth.

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