Each year our church holds a celebration to honor students graduating high school. Students and parents both get to speak. The following is what I wrote and shared.
One of my favorite memories of Jacquelyn is from when she was about 2 ½ years old. We were planting flowers – the kind that come in the little plastic six-packs. We separated the flowers from the little planters and then, one by one, we dunked them in water, planted ‘em in the ground, and then filled the holes back in with topsoil. I remember that she especially enjoyed that dunking-them-in-the-water part.
When we finished, I said, “OK! Time to clean up!” And right away, she got to cleaning up. I turned to pick up a few scattered garden tools and from behind me, I could hear her singing, “Clean up now! Clean up now!”
A few seconds later, I turned around and there she was, merrily singing along, pulling the flowers up out of the garden and placing them back in their little packages. “Clean up, now! Clean up, now!”
For those of you who know Jacquelyn, you can see that this story is so her. A concrete thinker, an obedient daughter and a diligent worker who aims to please. Jacquleyn, as your parents, absolutely nothing could change our love for you, but truth be told, you have made it really easy for us. You’re kind, compassionate, sentimental and an amazing big sister. You always look for the best in others and never want to leave anyone behind. While some say you appear quiet and standoffish at first, those who have the privilege of getting to know you will attest that you can out-talk and out-yell and out-laugh the best of them. One of my favorite things in life is to be with you, especially when we are tired, and laugh until we can barely breathe. And your love for others is so loyal and so passionate, that once a person has found their way into your heart, they can rest assured they have a friend for life.
As you have grown, it has been our joy to watch your desire to please us and do the right thing, transform into a desire to please and serve the Lord. As a teenager you faced significant challenges, and your faith and determination to cling to the Lord through it all has humbled and inspired us. We can only imagine what joy this brings Him and what a powerful witness it is to others.
That day when we were planting flowers together touches my heart for another reason which lies in the innocence of a 2 year old girl, who after an hour of digging, watering and planting, was ready to pack it all up and put it away. No regrets, no tears. For me, the planting was a means to an end. But for you, the planting was fun. It was like a game any two year old plays – building with blocks, playing in the sand, making play-dough sculptures – you played, you built, you created and you didn’t need a result or something to hold onto.
In the words of the great philosopher…and country music star…Martina McBride:
You can spend your whole life buildin’ something from nothin’
One storm can come and blow it all away, Build it anyway
You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way, Dream it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart, for all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away, Love ‘em anyway
Jacquelyn, we are so excited to see what God has planned for your life. And we want to encourage you…. if God calls you to build, build. If He calls you to dream, dream. If He calls you to love, love. Whatever the Lord calls you to do, we pray that you do it with all your heart, demanding nothing from Him in return. Because for you, life is about one thing: being with God – wholeheartedly, passionately, completely with God. The results are up to Him. In this life, things may not always turn out like you expect them to…or some days fear may nearly paralyze you…but if the Lord calls you to do it, do it anyway. For you are His servant. He has chosen you and not rejected you. So do not fear, for He is with you; do not be dismayed, for He your God. He will strengthen you and help you; He will uphold you with His righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:9-10)
Remember that, cling to the Lord and with that joyful faith of the little girl who once planted flowers for the sheer fun of it, leave rest up to Him. We Love You!