Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Liberty Home School Graduation Class of 2012

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."  -Philippians 3:13-14
I used to think that this day would never come.  As a little girl I couldn't wait to grow up, be done with school, and finally become an adult as I had always wished to be.  I used to think that meant being able to do whatever I wanted to do, but the older I became, the more I realized this was the furthest thing from the truth.  And now, as I enter graduation, I realize it even more so.  True maturity is not just in age, but in behavior, and that is a hard lesson I am still learning.

It's almost a scary thought of never getting back a special period of life.  Eighteen years of my life have now been lived.  I have gone through much laughter and tears, sorrow and bliss, heartache and happiness, pain and pleasure, grief and joy, discontentment and ease, anger and peace, strife and harmony, and I can say without remorse, it has all been worth it.  I have had my own fair share of being an unthankful and rebellious daughter; I have experienced more than enough of doubting faith; I have lacked in many areas that I should have been triumphing in; I have wallowed in the mire of self-pity—yet God has never failed me nor left me to the evil devices of my sinful heart.

He has been good to me for eighteen years by giving me amazing parents that I don’t deserve, and seven wonderful siblings who have had to put up with me being the oldest.  Although we may not be the wealthiest family in material possessions, I believe I am the luckiest and richest girl to be alive.  I have love.  I have refuge.  I have protection.  I have friendship.  I have family.  I have salvation.  I have eighteen years to my credit.  I have an abundant life to look forward to.  I have joy.  I have unending love and forgiveness from my heavenly Father.  I have the life of a wife and mother to look forward to.  I have so many blessing to be thankful for!  As I look at the whole picture of life, it isn’t bleak; rather, life is bliss!

Twelve years is a long time.  During the middle of those twelve years I thought it was the longest period of my entire life.  I remember wanting to grow up more than anything else in the world.  Time ticked too slowly for my taste, although my parents prudently advised me that before I knew it I would be looking back wondering where the time went.  How right they were!  Now looking back I realize that I was in too much of a hurry.  My goal during school was just to get by so that I could be done.

Graduation was a mark of achievement in my mind of throwing away childhood and becoming an adult.  I also looked forward to never having to open a school book again (although I didn't realize that one day I would be teaching my own children, and thus, opening those once-dreaded school books).  I thought that once I was done with my twelve years of education, I would never have to worry about "school" again.  Now that my twelve years are up, I understand that all of life is learning.  We don't stop learning until the day we die.  Education doesn't stop with graduation, for I hope that I will continue to learn more and more the rest of my life.  Right now I feel like I still have so much to learn!

A phase of childhood is now passed.  I don't have the feeling I thought I would have.  I used to think that graduation would begin a new kind of "freedom" for me: freedom from rules, freedom from learning, freedom from long tedious hours hunched over a desk with a stubby pencil in my aching fingers while the clock still said two hours until torture was over, freedom from childhood, and freedom the restrictions of boredom.

Although it was subtle, those attitudes were really a form of feminist independence that I couldn't wait to exercise once I "grew up" and became able to do whatever I wanted to do.  But now, I actually feel like I am saying goodbye to a dear friend I will never see again, for I will never have those twelve years back.  Maybe my thoughts have changed towards my now-past school days.  What used to be an enemy has become a memory that I will hold forever—that of learning at home with my siblings under the careful wisdom and tutelage of my parents.

With this apprehension of melancholy sadness and sobriety comes excitement.  This day that I have looked forward to for so long has finally arrived!  I don't feel very worthy or proud in one respect.  There were times I hated doing school, as I'm sure every child feels at some point.     There were many days that I didn't care if I learned anything or not, for, quite frankly, there were times I was rebellious and didn't want to learn anything.

There were days when the work was harder than usual and I wanted to quit.  Then there were days when I was so lazy I just didn't want to do the simplest things.  Nevertheless, although there are things I regret, especially not making the most of my time and trying to learn all I could, I am very thankful for the time God gave me to learn, and the little bit of knowledge I have acquired in these twelve years.

I could not have succeeded if it had not been Christ who strengthened me (Phil. 4:13), and my parents who urged me on.  I can say, like Robert E. Lee, George Washington, Charles Spurgeon, and many others have said in the past, that I owe everything to the wisdom, guidance, and teaching of my parents.  Most young people do not realize until they grow older how much influence their parents really have on them, and how much they owe everything to the love and care of the ones who raised them.  I want to carry on the legacy that my parents have tried to instill in me, so that not only will they be proud of me, but so that my children and other future generations will be taught the same things my parents have taught, and continue to teach me.

I am thankful for the direction they have led me in.  Without their guidance I would be wandering and lost right now, with no direction, no futuristic goals, no dreams to live out, and certainly no purpose for my life.  Everything I am and ever even dare to hope to be can only be credited to my parents, who have always been faithful, even when I wasn't faithful to them.

3 John 4 says that, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."  I want to be a cornerstone, polished after the similitude of a palace (Psalm 144:12).  I don't want to be an example of what a child should not be; instead, I want to make my parents proud.

This is not just an ending, but a very bright beginning.  My school days have ended, but so much life is still awaiting me.  All I have to do is live it out.  First and foremost my goal is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever in everything I do, as 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

One cannot have a wonderful, fulfilling life outside of Jesus Christ.  Without Him no one can be anyone.  A life without Christ is fleeting, unfulfilling, and completely worthless.  Christ is the only thing, but everything to live for!  Without Him there is no direction, no purpose, no goal, and no meaning to life.  My hope is to live a long, happy, and productive life, as I'm sure every human being hopes for, and that can only be accomplished in Jesus Christ who is sovereign over all of life.

Secondly, as a new beginning looms in front of me, my futuristic goal is to become a wife and mother, as God has ordained for women.  I don't see a homemaker's life as drudgery or a slave in chains under patriarchal tyranny.  Instead I understand that true biblical womanhood is a woman's greatest calling.  A woman is not just a wife and mother, but an entrepreneur, a helpmeet, a giver of progeny to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth, and so much more!  She is most successful in any work in her own God-ordained territory: the home.

What I have learned in these past twelve years will be the foundation for the rest of my life, as well as putting it into practice, not only in what I do, but when I begin to teach my own children in later years.  The principles and life lessons I have learned were designed to continue to teach me and lead me in the direction I am heading.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  -Proverbs 22:6

This is a big step I am taking, of one ending and another beginning, and it is my prayer that I do not fail in the tasks God has given me.  Presently my goal is to serve God in whatever capacity He leads me, whether it is the seemingly mundane chore of daily life, a trial I am tested with, or a brand new adventure that I have always dreamed of.  My prayer is that I always remain faithful to the calling therewith I have been called, as I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, as He leads me throughout life.

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him; and He shall direct thy paths."  -Proverbs 3:5-6

As the old words ring true:
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.


Joy said...

Beautiful graduation speech, Rachel... may the Lord Jesus bless you abundantly in the coming years and always.

In His love,
~Joy @ joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com

Rachel said...

Thank you very much, Joy!