So much has happened in the last week that I could tell you about, but the event foremost on my mind will happen this coming weekend.  Ronnie, Josie, and Stephanie will all graduate with their Bachelor’s degrees on Sunday morning.  I can’t think of a better Mother’s Day gift than for all three to be finished with college!  What fun we will have together as we celebrate this milestone in their lives.  I’ve been looking forward to this weekend since Ronnie and Josie pulled out of the driveway in the U-Haul a few months ago on that cold December morning.  I know from experience how quickly time flies when we are together–three short days, and then Ronnie and Josie will head back to Florida.

It doesn’t seem like it was very long ago that Ronnie and Stephanie headed out the door to first grade, their brightly colored backpacks loaded with crayons, pencils, Elmer’s glue, and blunt-tipped scissors.  As I look back over the years, I realize that we did it one day at a time with God’s grace.  There were certainly hard times–illnesses and moves come to mind–but there were lots and lots of fun times too.  We experienced days filled with challenging classes and homework, laughter and tears, frustrations and joys, failures and successes, trips and friends.  And now they are educated.  But what kind of education do they have?  School is good for helping our children achieve the worldly definition of success, but I’m equally proud of my children (perhaps even more so) for the lessons they’ve learned that didn’t come from school books.  Yes, they learned history, but they also learned helpfulness.  They learned geometry and grace, philosophy and forgiveness, chemistry and character.

The world may define success by the degrees my kids will now hang on the walls, but I’m very thankful they have also absorbed so many of the life lessons that now hang on their hearts.  After all, these are the characteristics that will be the foundation for their lives, as well as the element that makes the degrees they receive on Sunday truly successful.  It’s like that in our church family too.  So many of us have lived successful lives, as defined by those around us.  But have we lived lives that match a Godly type of success?  Are we living with love, joy, peace, and forbearance?  Kindness, goodness, faithfulness?  Gentleness and self-control?  I, for one, must continually challenge myself to live by this definition of success.  Graduations may come and go, but learning goes on for a lifetime.


Photo credit:  ctechs,