Friday, May 16, 2014

A Letter to Graduates

Dear Graduate,
Congratulations!  You did it!  Who knew that you’d one day make it so far, overcome so many obstacles, embrace so many new opportunities, and develop such wonderful friendships?  God did.  He’s known all along the passions in your heart and how you would and will continue to inspire others.   
My wish, hope, and prayers for you are that throughout your life you will grow in your awareness of God’s unconditional love, endless mercy, and unbounded joy so that you can continue being a source of living hope to all who come into contact with you.
There are some important lessons to remember as you move to the next step in your journey.  People and relationships are far more important than money, worldly success, awards, or prestige.  You are God’s Beloved Child.  I can almost hear some of you asking: "Who me?!"  To which I'd respond with a resounding, "Yes, you!"  
God has, does, and will always love you more than anyone else has, does, or can—even your parents, grandparents, family members, closest friends, or your spouse.  Almighty God is the only who one can and will always be with you, and, despite occasional thoughts and feelings to the contrary, He will never abandon or forsake you. 
I found it to be so easy to get caught up in my own hopes and dreams or to make my decisions and assess my worth based on the evaluations I receive from others.  Above all, though, we are to seek the Will of the Lord in all areas of our lives and accept the abundance of blessings He provides for us to live that out.  It is the only plan which is best for everyone involved in time and eternity.  We are encouraged and created to move, grow, and have our being in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Any good gifts we have come from Him. Any good we can do for others flows from Him through us.  Only in uniting yourself with the Source of All Love and life will you be a most effective vessel and conduit of love, compassion, generosity, and kindness. 
May you keep prayer a source of hope and healing in mind and heart as you seek and guide others in search of goodness, beauty, and Truth. 
It can be a little nerve-racking at times to move from one stage of life to the next, especially when it means saying goodbye to loved ones, a particular way of life, a gathering place for friends, but you’re well-equipped to go out into the world and continue making a difference doing what comes naturally to you. 
Be gentle with yourself during times of transition. 
Who you are is your gift to others and God’s gift to the world. Embrace that truth and live your life to the fullest.  God danced the day you were born and has been elated by you ever since.  Remember that you are loved and lovable because of who you are and whose you are—not because of what you do.  Your value has already been established as a child of God.  No other accolades, honors, or awards are needed to establish your worth.  It just is.
The greatest gifts bestowed upon us are those most precious in time and eternity: a love for family and friends, a true compassion for others, a concern for those less fortunate, an active prayer life, ongoing study and faith formation, being part of Christian community, performing actions that provide for the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of others, and a yearning to do God’s will that are fueled by a desire to spend all of eternity with the angels, saints, and the loved ones who have gone before us to Heaven knowing that Christ's life, death, and resurrection have bought us eternal salvation.
“All things work for good for those who love God…”  The best in your life is yet to come.  Trust me—the wildest adventures, the most longed for opportunities, the most ecstatic joys, the most unusual challenges, the deepest love, the most profound mercy, and the best blessings beyond all of your hopes and dreams are yet to come for you!  
God bless and love from your sister in Christ, Trisha
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