I was listening to the news the other night and they were discussing the many graduation services taking place. It is time for Graduation. A time for students to leave the comfort of school, teachers they have come to know and love and time to become independent. For some it will be a time to leave the comforts of home, the support of parents and to test the waters.
For the students, even though some might not admit it, it is scary for them too. Mom and Dad has been around and been there when they were needed. They might have been lucky enough to be surrounded by grandparents, aunts and uncles who have helped them on their way also. Now they are on their own to make their own decisions; good or bad.
I remember those days…even though it’s been so long. I remember having to decide some things on my own. I was brought up in the church and needed to decide if I wanted to stick with my Mom’s faith or move on to other things. I remember having to decide on Sunday morning do I really want to get up and go to church or do I want to sleep in. Some advice here, I would sleep in and have a crummy week; nothing went right. It’s a time for you to decide whether you will follow in your parents’ footsteps or if you will test the waters.
As a young adult you have people wanting to give you all kinds of advice about this and that. How do you decide who to listen to and who to ignore? God is the best source of advice. God will never lead you down the wrong path. If you have had a relationship with God he has your name written in the palm of His hand. Isaiah 49:16 says in part, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” He knows and cares about you.
I turned from my Mother’s faith for a short while; exploring life on my own. I was lost and searching for something to satisfy my soul. I had it all along I just didn’t know it. I think God puts young adults on the pathway of searching for Him. We can’t depend on our parent’s faith any longer. We have to find our own faith. I remember finding my own faith. I was so excited when I realized I had my own faith. Was it different from Mom’s? Not really, but it was mine. It was her no longer pushing me to church or pushing faith on me. It was something I searched for and found. Christ never left me. The relationship I had with Him was always there, it was the fellowship that was gone. When I got back into fellowship with Him again life was good. Now I still had challenges, difficulties and decisions to make, but it was easier knowing He was helping me get through those times.
Exploring new faiths, exploring new ideas, exploring new thoughts are all wonderful things as long as they don’t lead us out of fellowship with God. It’s when we walk away from His fellowship and pursue things that are not good do we get in trouble.
If I were to give a talk to Graduates this would be my advice. I would ask them to remember God has their names engraved in the palm of His hands. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had a relationship with Him; He still has your name in His hands. He holds you in His heart and He’s willing to hold your hand if you will let Him. Be yourself and be the person Mom and Dad raised you to be. It’s okay to chase after dreams and new ideas, but if they lead you down the road that leads you away from who you once were, who mom and dad raised you to be and who God wants you to be it’s best to turn around. We have a saying in Texas if you see the road is flooded, “Turn around don’t drown.” If the road you are turning down is flooded with things that are enticing, turn around don’t drown. Remember the advice, “If it seems too good to be true it probably is.” Stick with what you know to be true. People will try to convince you to turn from your ways or their ways are better, but stick to what you know in your heart is best. Pray at all times never ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” This chapter of your life might be closing, but if you journey on with God He is writing a new chapter and it will end in success. It will be a process, but together you will be successful in all you do. Never be afraid to take a hold of God’s hand. Let Him lead you and you can’t go wrong. There will be times He will even carry you through those rough times. If you do stray, don’t be afraid to come back to Christ…He’ll be waiting on you.
Parents hold their child’s hands for a little while, but their hearts forever. Mom and Dad may not be holding your hand, but they are in your heart forever. Even when we mess up as young adults and we all do, Mom and Dad will always be there to love us no matter what.
Don’t be afraid to admit that Mom and Dad might just know something. For years I suggested my daughter go into a certain field. She insisted I was wrong years later she had revealed to me maybe I was right after all. You are considered an adult; they see you as an adult. So don’t be afraid to sit down and have a discussion with them. Finally, support mom and dad in all they do. Encourage them. This is a new time for them and it may be just as challenging as yours is. They will allow you to test the waters, but they won’t let you drown. They may test the waters and it may seem strange to see your parents doing crazy stuff, but let them enjoy life.
This is an exciting and scary time for both of you; know all those mixed feelings are normal. Keep a level head and remember your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will have you covered in prayer. Remember God is as close as a breath away. Regardless of what others say, it’s okay to take God’s hand and let Him lead you into the future. The road He has taken might be scary, fun and you might wonder where you are going, but with God leading you it won’t be wrong.
Not only do Mom and Dad have you in their heart God has you as well. He’s got you in His heart and He’s got your back. Trust Him, pray with Him, and enjoy His company as together you start on this new journey together.
Dear God: I do remember Graduation Day as well as my daughters. As a young person I was excited and nervous at all the same time. It is so different now with all the things going on and all the decisions they have to make. Its’ so hard to discern which voices you listen to and which ones to ignore as you journey in life. You want to step out and explore, but it’s hard leaving your comfort zone. You are challenged to be yourself, but you are still discovering who you really are. I pray for all those who are taking their next step in life whether it is work, school or training. Guide them and as they look at their hands remind them their name is written in the palm of your hands. Bless them and keep them safe. Amen