“So that Christ my dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV
If you have been following along with me the last few weeks, you probably know that my daughter Shelby’s high school graduation has been an emotional time for me. It’s not been typical, but nothing about my girl is. If you feel like you missed something, you can read about it here and here. The rest of you almost certainly grow weary of the topic, so I will wrap it up by sharing my final thoughts and blessings here.
I’ve had a week to process it now. What stands out to me most about the experience is not pride in my daughter, which I have. It’s not gratefulness for the family and friends that surrounded us, although I feel that.
We got Shelby to the staging area to meet her precious teacher and teacher’s aide who would assist her and found our chairs. Like most graduation ceremonies, it was boring and long. Since my husband gave her an “S” last name (not complaining – it’s much easier to pronounce than what I would have given her – Koepf), we waited a while for her moment. Just as my uncomfortable seat was beginning to affect my normally sunny countenance, we saw Shelby and her helper making their way around the auditorium toward the stage. And she entertained us all the way around. First, she saw my friend Terri seated on the front row and broke loose from her escort (almost into a run) determined to sit with her.
Terri apologized to me later, but I wouldn’t hear of it. It is a precious memory to me that my girl wanted to be with my friend. Once Terri convinced her to line up with her friends, Shelby began a fight with her aide over the hat. You can see the struggle here:
When I could have cried, I laughed and laughed and laughed as Ms. A finally gave up and let Shelby walk the stage sans topper.
And as she walked the stage, the audience started to clap and cheer, just like they did for the 12,000 graduates before her. Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But it took Shelby longer to walk than anyone else.
And as she ambled across, not really knowing what was going on; the applause continued, and grew. My girl, who won no awards or scholarships or even a college acceptance, received the longest ovation of the night. The tears fell then. They are falling now as I retell it. But they weren’t sad tears. They still aren’t. The tears are full of gratitude – for the ways God can use someone with the IQ of a toddler to touch a life. For the ways Shelby fills my heart with joy. For the love of a good, good Father who knew exactly what was needed to make the night special for this mama.
“The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new ever morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB