Friday, May 6, 2016

The Roller Coaster of Graduation

Today's Five Minute Friday prompt word is quite appropriately, "miss."  Join us if you like at

The month of May is one of my favorite times of the year.  The cold weather is behind us, the sweltering days of summer have yet to arrive.  May is the month of promise, when high school and college seniors graduate, school children are promoted, love-struck couples recite vows to each other, and summer vacation lies ahead.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of completing a chapter in your life and beginning a new one. It's kind of like riding a roller coaster.  You know it will be exciting, you understand that others have gone before you and survived, yet the inevitable twists and turns and sudden drops keep your heart racing, simultaneously feeling love, hate, excitement, and in a sense, dread.

Ironically, my husband and I are experiencing a sort of graduation ourselves right now. After much planning, praying, discussing, and waiting, he announced to our church last week that he would soon be stepping down as senior pastor of the church we have loved and led for the past sixteen years.

The time was right.  As difficult as the announcement was, knowing what we needed to do and not following through would be disobedience to the plan the Lord has for us.  What we weren't expecting was the sudden surge of emotions that the thought of saying good-bye to our church family would bring.

In order to take on a new venture, there is always a trade-off.  You cannot change and yet remain the same.  Saying hello to a new occupation, a new home, a new city, a new church, means saying good-bye to what we have known and loved and grown accustomed to. It feels like a ripping, a tearing.  Those old wine-skins are so soft and comfortable. The old feels better right now.  

All at once, center and front were the dear faces of those we would miss.  They represented years of our lives, all stacked together.  We saw faces of those whose marriages were about to fall apart, yet in His mercy were restored.  We saw children who hadn't even been born when we began.  Those we had taken into our home, who found security, found their footing, and now have careers and families of their own.  Those who have grown in their love and service to the Lord. Those who were lost, who found the Lord and are now born again and new. It was like looking at a motion picture of our lives set on fast forward.  

We are graduating, and the only clear picture we see is the one in our rear view mirror. The road ahead looks bumpy and full of twists and turns and drops, and it would be so easy to get off this roller coaster and go back to the predictable, familiar place we had known.  

"For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face."(1 Corinthians 13:12 The Voice)

We don't know what the future holds. But we know Who holds the future.
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." ( 2 Cor. 4:18 NIV)