It has officially been one year since I graduated from high school. I remember that day so vividly. Expectancy, hope, and uncertainties rushed all around me. I was giddy. I remember getting ready June 1, 2019 wearing my new pink colorful dress with my new black high-heeled wood shoes. My grandparents were the first people to arrive to my graduation ceremony. They were ready to watch me walk into a new season of life. My parents forgot to buy me flowers so my mom and Darby hopped into our minivan and drove to the Food Lion right across the street. My girl classmates and I had a room designated for us to get ready in as we put on our caps, gowns, and different cords. Our teachers had lovingly placed water bottles and snacks inside of our dressing room. Little handprints lined the walls I was waiting in as I kept looking out of the window hoping to see a friend come surprise me. My mom and Darby came in and we captured some pictures together. Not wanting to sit still, I kept walking down the hall and seeing my family’s pew bench fill up with loved ones.
My graduation day was incredible in more ways than one. Of course I was excited to be done with the thirteen years of education I had poured so much work into. What excited me most about flipping my 2019 tassel was the fact that I had stayed true to my commitment to not date anyone in high school. That had been a joyous and yet incredibly difficult task to complete without any mistakes. Jesus carried my heart through so many years of daily talks with Him. I honestly found myself on graduation day thinking my future husband should show up because of the four years I had intentionally waited and not dated. I was moved with hope. I was crushed whenever the plans I had crafted for myself did not work out. I spent last summer processing loss in unique ways as my ideas for the next month were prematurely ended. I share these old memories with you because Jesus has carried me a whole year since that day and season of hope and loss. Whether you are graduating this year or a fellow lover of God, I desire to speak into your heart.
The Haley writing to you today is a year older and much wiser. My heart is not hard because of my plans failing. Rather, it has walked through pits as God is preparing it for a palace of experiencing more of Him. I encourage you to recognize that Jesus is close to the brokenhearted. Psalm 34:18 (NIV) exclaims, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Jesus is never shy to your pain. He sees the future He has in store for you. He knows how much you long for this current gift that is the cutest in your own eyes. There is a reason why some things do not work out for us. I know waiting and praying for things is an investment. After praying for someone to accept Christ, we can be tempted to give up on them whenever change cannot yet be seen. After praying for a future spouse for years and still finding ourselves single, it can be easy to wonder if our prayers are making any difference. There are things that you are praying for and maybe have not seen the result of yet. I read a devotion this morning that challenged my heart to keep hoping.
Charles Spurgeon once quoted, “Don’t you know that day dawns after night, showers displace drought, and spring and summer follow winter? Then, have hope! Hope forever, for God will not fail you!”
I look back over this past year of cultivating faithfulness in my life and see how I have danced with Jesus through so many seasons. I seriously am not a professional dancer at all, but I enjoy waltzing through every day with my Lord. He has sustained me through intense semesters at my community college. He has protected me from harm’s way. He has changed lives through the mission of Cultivate girls ministry. I have been present in my home for monumental moments in my family members’ lives. My passion for the lost has increased. I have beheld God’s glory sitting across from peers at a coffee shop and in diverse places. I have witnessed Jesus where He specifically placed me this year.
As I look forward, all I can see is me with Jesus at Liberty this next year. I have no clue how my next year will unfold or how each season will look. I am still expectant, but now I trust that all of God’s plans are better than mine. My heart still chooses to hope because what God speaks will come to fruition. I am giddy still as I think of the people I will soon meet, the friendships that will soon form, and the opportunities that will follow. I have never lived anywhere away from my country homestead, but I am falling into the arms of my Father who has never forsaken me.
Whether you are feeling broken or restored, know how much you are loved and adored. Trust Jesus with where He places you even if it stinks and seems unfair. Cling onto Him and let His voice and words over you be enough for all you need. You are beautiful. I hope and pray you continue to see yourself through the Image Creator’s lens. You are talented and your life is needed for such a time as this.
Instead of being fearful with current world events, I have been choosing to recall Philippians 4:6 (CSB), “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Thankful and grateful for this past year and the mighty hand of God over all of our lives,
A One Year Graduated Haley 🙂