“Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you” (Deuteronomy 15:15 CSB).
Friend to Friend
The evening sky is like a girl in a prom dress, swirls of purple and pink with thin clouds like lace. My husband Mark and I take our seats alongside family members in an outdoor stadium, the metal bench, unmerciful beneath us. We’ve come to this same spot in years past to watch a series of nieces and nephews graduate. I’ve almost memorized the proceedings.
There will be a welcome speech by a school official. Then the national anthem. The valedictorian giving remarks. Diplomas passed out. Caps tossed in the air as we all cheer, partly in congratulations and also because the long ceremony is over. Graduations are not the most entertaining of events. Yet we still do them, year after year, generation after generation.
I have plenty of time to consider why this is so as evening closes in and I watch the sky darken, filling with stars like sequins. Just beyond the stadium is a very old graveyard with moss covered headstones.
I realize that we have graduations because life is short and it matters that we mark the milestones, the passage of time. Yet it seems once we finish school we struggle to do so. Adulthood becomes a blur of calendar pages, work days and endless loads of laundry. I wonder, “What have I graduated from lately?” In other words, “What have I learned? How have I grown? Have I remembered to pause and celebrate what God has done in my life?”
In the book of Deuteronomy Moses tells the people, “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you” (Deuteronomy 15:15). The word “remember” is repeated almost twenty times in Deuteronomy. Reading the words of Moses is almost like reading a graduation ceremony speech. He talks about the past and how far the people have come. He talks about the future and what God has planned. He reminds the Israelites of what matters most in this present moment.
The people of God “graduated” from Egypt. In other words, they came out of a place of bondage and into one of freedom, out of despair and into hope, out of defeat and into victory. I think about lies I used to believe that no longer have power over me and habits I have been able to leave behind. I can see where I’ve taken steps of faith and God has guided me into new territory. These are all little graduations to me.
I imagine when you look at your life, you can see little graduations too. I’m not talking only about big accomplishments or grand changes. Instead, I’m encouraging all of us to celebrate the small and simple, the ordinary and unnoticed, the hidden, faithful hand of God that has brought us to where we are today.
Thankfully, we don’t need to put on a cap and gown. We don’t have to walk across a stage. We’ll be spared standing in a long line waiting for our name to be called. Instead, we can simply pause wherever we are right now and do what Moses invited God’s people to so long ago. We can remember. We can celebrate. We can thank God that with Him we continue to learn, to grow, to graduate.
Dear God, I’m pausing today to reflect on where I’ve been and what You have brought me through. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Lord. Thank You for guiding me with love and care through every season.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What have you graduated from lately? How have you grown and what have you learned? Pause and celebrate today!
More from the Girlfriends
Holley Gerth is aunt to almost ten nieces and nephews so she has several more graduations to go. She loves encouraging the hearts of women through books like Hope Your Heart Needs: 52 Encouraging Reminders of How God Cares for You, a great gift for graduations and Mother’s Day. You can connect with Holley at holleygerth.com.
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