Here is another old post from my previous blog. It is my Graduate's Response that I would have given at my high school graduation (which was May 14th, 2011). I was too choked up at the time to give an address, so I wrote this a week later.
As some of you know, I graduated this last Saturday from high school, and also had my senior music recital. Well, I found out the day before my graduation that I was supposed to give a graduate's response after my dad had finished speaking. So, I planned some things out in my head, but never really had time to sit down and really plan something. I was prepared to say some things, but after my dad had finished talking, I was so choked up, I couldn't say anything. I take after my mother in that area. I can get up in front of people and play, but when it comes to talking, I just can't do it without crying. Especially if it is something like saying thank you to people. So I thought that today I would type up my thoughts of what I was going to say, plus some more things that I thought of saying.
In the last 12 years, I have learned so much, academically speaking, and spiritually. I have grown from being a little girl of 6, to being a young lady of nearly 18. In all of my 12 years of home schooling, what has been the most important thing that my parents have taught me? They have taught me to love the Lord. They have taught me that the Lord should always be first in my life, and that life is not worth living without the Lord ruling your life. May 14th, 2011 was not only my graduation date, but it was also the 12th anniversary of having asked the Lord into my heart. I can say without any doubt in my heart that that was the best decision I have ever made. But the second most important thing I have ever done was deciding to live my life wholly for Christ when I was 14 years old. Yes, I lived for the Lord before then, I did read my Bible, but there were moments when I backslid, and I did feel like reading God's Word was a chore. My dad could usually tell when I did not read my Bible, because I would have terrible struggles with anger that day. He would ask me, "Have you read your Bible today?" and I would answer "no". He would tell me to go read my Bible, but I didn't have a real passon for it. It was something I did because my dad told me to. From about the age of 10-14, my Bible reading was irregular. In August of 2007, I attended the "Journey to the Heart" through ATI. I went thinking in the back of my mind, "Oh, this will be something good to add to my checklist of good Christian things that I have done". I was excited about it though, because I would be spending three weeks with my sister Melody, who was working with IBLP ministries at the time. On the journey to the heart, we had a lot of quiet time of seeking the Lord. They encouraged us to memorize Scripture, and to really just pour out our hearts to Christ, and talk to Him about everything. One day towards the end of the retreat, which was in Michigan, they had us all go on a 5-mile prayer walk. At the time I was memorizing Psalm 27. I started out just quoting that passage. But as the time went on, I started just talking to God, and then started to pour out my heart to Him. I don't know exactly what happened, but that prayer walk is what changed my faith. After that walk, the Lord started to become more dear to me. I started to want to spend time reading God's Word, and not just doing it as a chore. When I came home from the retreat, my dad said he saw a major change in my attitude. I was more loving towards my siblings, and spent more and more time reading God's Word.
Within the last two years, Scripture memory has become a real joy for me. Before then, I did memorize Scripture in AWANA, and completed the 8th grade level of AWANA. But I don't think that my full motivation for memorizing was always doing it because I wanted to grow closer in my walk with the Lord. My main motivation was probably being able to "pass" a section, and ultimately finish the AWANA book, so I could get the trophy. Within the last two years, but especially within the last 8 months, I have had such a hunger for memorizing God's Word. Let me tell you, there is nothing more important that you could ever do! It has drawn me so close to Christ, to the point where He is my dear friend, and I want to do things to please Him. It has made me fall so deeply in love with my Lord! He is definitely my dearest friend, and the one I run to when my heart is heavy and burdened. Memorizing Scripture has also enable me to think and decide things more clearly. This last year especially I have been seeking the will of God for the next step in my life, mainly college. Memorizing Scripture has made His will clear to me. The more I started to memorize, the more I wanted to do it. I guess you can say that I started to get addicted (but that's okay, right?). God has also been teaching me a LOT about depending on His source of strength, and not on my own. He has also been teaching me in many ways to be patient, and to trust in Him, and His perfect plan for my life. I know He has a perfect plan for my life, and I can see part of what that is, and that excites me!
Now, I tell all this, not so that you can think that I am the perfect Christian, because I am far from being perfect. Just ask my siblings. They would no better than anyone. I say all of this in hopes that it will encourage you to surrender your life to Christ, to "give your bodies as a living sacrifice". I hope all of this will encourage you to start memorizing Scripture, which I can honestly say is the best thing I have done, and the most important thing that I have learned, in all of my home schooling years.
I'd like to thank all of you who were there at my graduation to support me. It meant more to me than words could ever express. I'd like to thank my parents, who have put up with this strong willed child for nearly 18 years, and have helped me in placing my strong will under the Lord's control. They have supported me in everything I did, and corrected me in the wrong that I have done. Aside from the Lord, they are the main reason that I am who I am today. For that, I sincerely thank them, and I love them so much! I'd like to say thank you to my siblings, who have put up with me as a strong willed sibling, who did very often growing up want to get her own way. They have been my best friends, and I wouldn't want any other siblings to replace them. They are such a blessing in my life! I am thankful for the "new" siblings that God has given me, as they have married into my family. They are also such a blessing in my life! I am very thankful to my grandparents for leaving such a godly heritage for me. I am thankful for all of my dear friends who have supported me, and encouraged me throughout the year. You all mean so much to me!
I look forward to what God has planned for my future, and excited to see what He will do in my life, and how He will use me. My theme verse for my life is, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.
Have a blessed week! Stay strong in Jesus!!
Because of Jesus' Blood,
Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:10