Monday, May 22, 2017

For Our Andrew: A Letter From Your Mama's Heart in Honor of Your 8th Grade Graduation

May 17, 2017

Dear Andrew,

Today the pace of our home has been alive with an energetic rhythm of both excitement and determination as we make preparations to celebrate your graduation.  Despite the busy hum of our enthusiasm, the voice of the Holy Spirit has spoken into my distracted soul, reminding me to find some quiet time with the Lord before the close of the day. So, here I am, writing this letter to you in the presence of our Lord, at the adoration chapel on the eve of your 8th grade graduation.  I have come to pray for many of our dear friends, family, and even strangers whose intentions I have promised to lift up, but I have come with greater intent to pray for you.

Over the past few days, with the realization that you have reached yet another milestone of life, my heart has been overwhelmed with feelings of both sadness and joy.  Sadness, because I am coming to understand, with greater clarity, that I cannot slow time down, nor can I live in the memory of your littleness, even though I so often wish to.  I do not expect you to understand this particular grief that every mother must endure, this loss of time with her children, and I only share it with you so that you may know how much you are loved. For it is as St. Gianna Beretta Molla said, "We cannot love without suffering, and we cannot suffer without love."

Intertwined with this grief is an immense joy that fills my soul as I contemplate, and fully acknowledge, the incredible young man you are becoming, and the great adventures you have yet to live in seeking out God's purpose for your life.  How fresh and beautiful are the possiblitlities that lie within one's youth! Your father and I can only encourage you to seek, with every ounce of confidence and enthusiasm you can muster, the dreams and goals that reside in your heart!

As you journey through the next four years of high school many people will tell you that you can do anything, or be anything you want to do or want to be.  Though they mean well, this is simply not true.  You cannot do anything or be anything you want, because you were not created to do just anything, you were created to do something! Something particular, something special! You have been graced with a very specific set of gifts and talents, and those gifts were given to you so that you may fulfill a very specific purpose in this life. You are to become the person God has created you to be, and it is in the discovery of that person that you will find a true freedom and an everlasting joy.

This may sound like a narrow minded way of thinking, but rather, consider it to be a narrow focus.  A focus which seeks the narrow path, a path that opens up into a vast and beautiful world of opportunity, of contentment, of joy, and above all the glorification of a good and gracious God who wishes to be known and to be made known.

In the years ahead, time and time again, you will also hear the words, "Be yourself," and "Believe in yourself."  I have no doubt that you will be anything less than your funny, kind, generous, thoughtful, hard-working self.  But, as for believing in yourself, remember that while self confidence is a vital component in our approach to success, it is a weak approach if not accompanied by an earnest belief in God at work within you.  

When He is the very root of your goals and dreams, when you anchor your efforts and determination in Him, all things will come to fruition as they should.  With this perspective, and through this act of faith, you will not only reap the fulfillment of hard won victories and personal accomplishments, but also the greater victory of a virtuous life...a life in which you come to understand and embrace the truth that the most enduring rewards are those that we obtain along the pathway to our goal, for they will far outlast the reward of reaching the goal itself.

Finally, my dear son, although you already have a firm and mature understanding of my last note of encouragement, I hope you don't mind if I share it once more.  Academics, athletics, GPA's, medals, awards....they will all come and go, shine then fade, be celebrated and all too soon forgotten.  But one thing that remains of upmost importance, above and beyond your goals and dreams, is people.  People matter most. 

Every opportunity, every work the Lord places before you is, of course, for you, but it is also for others. Others who need to be served, others who need a friend, a listening ear, a word of encouragement, a good example, or a prayer.  Remember these people. Remember also that you, my son, will need people, too.  You will need a friend, a listening ear, a word of encouragement, a good example, and prayers. Let these people love you in return, for they are Christ loving you. 

When I became a mother, the Lord spoke into my heart the wisdom that all our children have come from Him, and you and your brothers are all on a journey back to Him.  The next four years will be a grand part of that journey. No matter how smooth or rough the roads you travel may be, know with certainty that your father and I are here for you, that we believe in you, and in the Lord working in you, and we hope and pray that you will live life to the full, running well the race set before you! {Hebrews 12:1}




  1. Susan, this is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this and your words of wisdom. Our daughter is moving into Gr. 9 this coming fall as well and our prayers are the same as yours. May she not forget God's love for her. May she not forget that people do matter most. May she know that we lift her up to Him and may He do good work in her. Thank you....from another praying momma named Susan!


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