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Graduation Speech.

2014
05.01

School is over and I have one day left before graduation. Ahhhhh. This means that tomorrow I will stand up in front of far too many people and speak. What I’ll be sharing is very personal and I think summarizes everything. I thought I would share it with you. All the times I say the name of my school, I’ve replaced with “Christian College.”

The first thing we tend to hear when people give their testimony is “I did or did not grow up in a Christian home.” Well, it’s not that easy for me. I was born to parents with differing views. My Father is an atheist and my mom is a christian. I learned equally from both of them. 

My Dad has questioned God and the Bible and thus made me think about my faith from a skeptical angle. I’ve always been thankful for that. He has made my think about the facts of my beliefs which have resulted in an even stronger certainty in the reality of God. My mom on the other hand, did know the Lord, but struggled to break free from legalism. She was raised in a church with some wrong and confusing doctrine and as a result studied out the Word of God more diligently than anyone I know. Her walk with the Lord has brought her to a place of extreme growth. She has been a wonderful example to me. 

At age 4 my parents separated. I don’t remember a lot from this time. I do remember that afterwards both my started parents dating. That was not my favorite thing and was difficult for me to handle. At age 7, my mom remarried to a man who I admire, respect and love very much. In the midst of some chaotic times, I found myself making some very bad choices. I would steal and I would lie constantly. I would look through fashion magazines and desire to look like the world. I wanted to wear clothing and making up that I thought would make me something special. I wanted to be desired by people, I wanted to feel beautiful. As I got older, I realized that I wanted attention from boys and this is always a dangerous path. I’m thankful for my parents discernment. They noticed these things in me and quickly intervened. I believe they have saved me from a lot of pain. 

There’s a lot from my childhood I don’t remember. Partly because I was young, partly because I’m forgetful in nature and partly because some things I blocked from my memory. However, John 3:16 is one thing I’ve never forgotten. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who so ever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I can’t tell you the first time I heard it, maybe from Veggie-tales or Adventures in Odyssey. Or maybe it was from my Mom reading me a Bible story. All I know, is that from as far back as I remember, I have known that verse. I’ve never once doubted the reality of Christ in my life. Though I do wish I could tell you a certain time I put my trust in Christ, I simply can’t. 

However, I do know for sure that by age 13 the Gospel was 100% clear to me. I could see from my life the corruption of my sin nature. I never needed anyone to tell me I was a sinner. I knew all too well. I realized the holiness of God and that’s one of the reasons I desired Him so much. He is unlike this world with it’s burdens and pains. God is perfect and I’ve always known I’m not. And this is my favorite part, John 3:16, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for my sins, to take my place and the only thing for me to do, is believe in Him. That is the most precious news. The moment I placed my trust in Jesus I was saved. I was saved from the bondage of sin, from an eternity in hell, from guilt and shame and I was saved from my own destruction. Praise the Lord! That is something that can never be lost, because nothing can separate me from the Father’s love. 

I’m extremely blessed that my Mom and stepdad fully live by those truths. They are people who are sold out for Christ and are raising my siblings to be the same. 

I’m also blessed by my Dad. I’ve always believed one of the main reasons God put me on earth is to show Him Christ’s love. And I pray that one day He will come to a saving faith in Christ. And he is here tonight, by the way, if anyone feels like doing some witnessing…

All that to say, I have great parents and they have been a to encouragement to me.

In my teen years, my love for the Lord grew and in turn my love for the church. I loved being involved with any and all ministry. I did hospitality team, worship team, greeting team, youth group, Bible studies, you name it. I loved serving and growing with fellow believers. 

Then the summer after I graduated high school, I went to Twin Peeks Bible camp and the (Christian College) camping team was there. I remember them talking about the school and having no interest. But, God had other plans. Through the course of the next year, God kept laying the school on my heart. I would go to the website and just stare at it. Eventually, there was a huge desire and excitement to go. 

And so I went. I’ll tell you what, my first semester freshmen year was awful. Just awful! I had never shared a room with someone and I had three roommates. One of them was named Hannah Moore and she was crazy! She was loud and had way too many pink things. I didn’t like what God was showing me. I didn’t like that He was pointing out areas in my life that needed to be changed. So, I decided I wasn’t going to come back. But then something happened over Christmas break, God reminded me that I committed three years at Frontier to Him. So once again, I went. It was awesome. I had a new attitude, a willing attitude. And He did great things in me. Hannah Moore is even one of my best friends now. You know what, The biggest lesson I’ve learned from it all, the lesson I will carry with me, is that I am so weak. I will fail people, I will fail myself, I will hurt others and be hurt, I will make mistakes. But God is so good. He is going to use me anyway. The past three years I have done things that have horrified me. I was asked to speak at the ladies retreat and I cried out of fear. Public speaking scares me to death, coming up in front of you scars me to death. I was asked to be an RA, what? I’m supposed to be a leader? I don’t want to. But God is so good. He is so good. And despite all my weakness and fear, He works through me. All I have to do is relax and trust Him. 

 

My time at (Christian College) has been incredible. The staff has trained me to feel equipped for ministry. They have loved me, as well as my classmates, and truly sought to prepare me the best they could. Mrs. Miles has a famous saying “you will be who you are now becoming.” All I can say, is thank you to all the people at Frontier for helping me become who I will be. This school has helped me grow in not only my Bible knowledge, but also my love for the Bible. 

 

 The staff and the students are family. They’ve cried with me, prayed with me, challenged me and lived life with me. They can never be replaced. I couldn’t be more proud of my classmates. When I look at them I see people who are going to make a difference. To the graduates, thank you so much. Thank you for being by my side the past three years. Thank you for loving Jesus so much. God is so good and He is going to use you despite your faults. I love you and will miss you terribly. 

A wise woman once told me, it is important that you disregard what the world teaches success to be, and remember, truly, what is important in your lives. The best use of our lives is to spend it on something that outlasts it. 

I’m not graduating from Harvard with some important decree. But I have something far more valuable. 

I’m walking away from (Christian College) with friends that I’ll have for a lifetime, with lessons and principles that have shaped who I am and what my ministry will look like, but most of all I’m leaving as an entirely different person, a person more grounded in truth and in my identity in Christ. 

 

Now: And now that I’m graduating, the next big thing is a missions trip to Europe this summer. And how much you wanna bet that God is going to call me to do more things that scare me?!! Then, I’m heading home for a while to work and intern at my church. I desire to serve God with my life and allow Him to guide my path. I hope to take the lessons (Christian College) has taught me and put them to good use. 

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