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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Dear Graduate

Grad Caps

Four Andersons will graduate this weekend and next. We’ll travel first to Des Moines for Kiana’s at Drake; the next day it’s Luke at the U of M. Then Felipe and Nils from LCA the following Friday. And even as I prepare and process as mom of these four, my heart is knit to a slew of others. Friends of Luke’s who have become dear to me, and a whole graduating class of high school students. Kids I’ve watched grow up. And so today I write this letter to all the grads I’ve loved.

Dear Graduate,

My mom heart is full as I think of you. What a privilege it’s been to know you and love you. Such a blessing our paths have crossed. Thousands of graduates will take the stage this month, mostly strangers I’ll never meet. But you are special because I’ve known you. You have touched my life.

God is pleased with you. If there’s a message I could etch on your heart, this would be it. He is PLEASED. Every day for the rest of your life, this is what matters. Your Heavenly Father cherishes you.

It’s been 31 years since I finished high school; 27 since college. I know that sounds impossibly long to you, but of course, not so much to me. It’s crazy how present I can be to back then, yet aware of all that’s happened since.

A strange thing occurred one morning this week – my inspiration for writing this letter. I’d been going back and rereading my journals from ten or so years ago, and there is was – September 3, 2007. I had written a prayer and it was very specific for that season. But reading it now struck me – He’s answering this request TODAY! All these years later. And it was the most surreal experience, to see the connection. How God is sovereign and present in each minute, not bound by time or fixed by days – but ABOVE and weaving each moment together, and Wow!

Looking back from today I’d say there have been three times in my life that have shaped me the most. My junior high years; my early 30’s; and my current season. (I’m 49.) This is my story; yours will be different. But here’s why I bring it up. You’re going to hear in graduation speeches a message that goes like this: Seize the day, because THIS is the time of your life. But I’m here to tell you, it’s NOT. Time is eternal. It’s the years gone by and the one that’s present and the all the years yet to come – woven together in a seamless moment by the One who’s above it all.

Does this help or confuse? I’m not sure.

Here’s what’s important. God is weaving a beautiful story – His and yours, intertwined. He’s the author and you can trust Him. I promise, you can. I wish I could etch this truth with the other, there on your heart: GOD IS PLEASED. YOU CAN TRUST HIM.

Someday you’ll be my age, and you’ll look back on this random assortment of memories of the years gone by, and it will take you by surprise. The things that mattered, and the things that didn’t. It’s not what you’d think. And it’s SO much better.

Ahh, my friend. Walk daily with Him. Each day, look for Jesus. Savor His presence and hear His voice. Life will be LOUD and demanding and it will try it’s best to distract and entice you to fill up on things that will weigh you down. And can I say this? When your head gets full of condemnation and demands – this is NOT His voice, not ever, not HIM. Even in times of redirecting, the voice of Jesus is sweet with compassion. He is FOR you, and He’ll do for you more than you could ever do for yourself.

So today I send you off with this blessing, hoping our paths will continue to cross. Stay in touch. Let me know how it’s going. I’d love to continue to encourage and pray. And now this…

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.*

AMEN.

*Numbers 6:24-26

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