So last weekend, my daughter Sarah graduated from Penn State University. Not only that but June 1st she starts a new job in Pittsburgh. best american essays Graduated and moving to a new city, new adventure, new chapter in God’s Story for her life. I’m pretty excited for her. Sure a little emotional too — I’ll get wet eyes before I finish this post — but most of the emotion is falls in the love, pride, gratitude, excitement arena.
I’ve been the lead pastor at Calvary for 16 years — Sarah turned six a few months after we arrived in State College — and it has been a joy watching God@work@Calvary. I have a certain sense of satisfaction in seeing all that God has done in 16 years — a certain sense of gratitude that God has allowed me to partner with all of you in leaving a mark. BUT…
As I ponder my memories of Sarah and look forward to the moments to come… — I have no doubts — my greatest legacy is my family. I can’t tell you how much gratitude I have, first towards God, but also to Lynn and to Sarah, for allowing me to partner with them in leaving a mark in and through Sarah’s life. So I’m just going to take a moment and in a public kind of way affirm my daughter Sarah and what I see God doing in her life.
1) I love the tenderness of her heart towards God and others. Oh she can get loud sometimes… and sometimes the loudness doesn’t seem like tenderness. Oh she can get annoyed with people — even me — and sometimes the annoyance may not seem like tenderness. But you cannot be around her long without realizing her heart is tender. I have loved watching her grow in her love for God. I love watching the way she loves her family. I can’t wait to see what God will do through that tenderness.
2) I love that she is fun. She’s learning not to take her self too seriously and it just makes me smile inside and out when I hear her laugh. Over the course of her years at Penn State, I couldn’t tell you which I was more proud of… her academic success or her involvement in some pretty good practical jokes.
3) I love that she doesn’t hate Calvary — and she actually enjoys listening to me preach. (At least that’s what she says when I’m around. :) I’ve seen too many pastor’s kids grow up hating church. Sarah has been involved in youth ministry at Calvary. She has been on multiple mission trips. She has shared in church. She has served in the community. She loves Calvary.
4) I am proud of her accomplishments. She has done a good job of discovering the ways that God has shaped her and is leaning into those strengths as she leans into God and leans into the future. When she does that God works through her, I watched that this year in her job at Target.
5) I love that she loves orphans. Loving orphans comes from the heart of God. I smile every time I think of her playing with the children in Myanmar. I have no doubt that in the days to come, God will use her to touch the lives of hundreds of orphans.
6) I am thrilled that she is passionate about growing in her relationship with God. It’s not just an outward look, it comes from her heart. She is willing to look inside and sort through the junk to find the glory.
7) I love the memories I have of her. From our first trip to Kansas while she was a baby — 8 hour trip, she cried for 7 and 1/2 hours, then fell asleep 15 minutes before we arrived at our destination! To her asking her grandfather from South Dakota, if they still hunt peasants (she meant pheasants) in South Dakota. From scaring her with my gorilla’s mask, to taking her to New York City. From Disney to interviewing boyfriends to mission trips. My heart is so filled with good memories that I almost can’t take it. Maybe I’ll share a few in a latter blog post.
So today Lynn and I are headed out of town with Sarah… part of our graduation gift to her is this trip. A little time in NYC following by a few days in Toronto. A show. Some shopping. Some walking and talking. Some laughter and perhaps even a hug or two. She’s part of our mark on the world…and she’s left a mark on us. It’s good stuff.