A Daddy's Thoughts on His Daughter's Graduation

Tomorrow evening my oldest daughter Kayleigh will put on a cap and gown, walk across a stage, receive a diploma, officially become a high school graduate, and enter a new season of life.

I am not sure that reality has sunk in for me yet.  My little girl is becoming a young woman. Even as I type those words, my heart pauses for a second.  On one hand, I am so excited for her and what lies around the corner in her life.  On the other hand, I want to burst into tears, hold her close, and protect my little princess from the broken world that awaits.

My mind races to the giggles, vacations, closeness, wins, laughs, and everyday moments we have enjoyed. And at the same time it also recalls the hurts, tears, tough conversations, pain, and moments of distance we endured.  As she prepares to transition into this new season, I wish I could multiply the good times and edit the not-so-good ones ... but then I realize ~ God has used both to make her the person she has become and is becoming.

Time can be a cruel taskmaster. We can't escape it. We can't alter, rewind, or erase it. It simply marches forward. And in the process, children grow up.  Memories are created.  Hurt happens. Moments are spent and we are left scratching our heads wondering where it went and how it happened so fast.  And yet time is a friend.  It allows healing to transpire. Hurt weakens its grip. Growth occurs.  Time provides opportunity.

The gospel reminds us that the eternal God confined Himself to time. He entered our space.  And in so doing, He entered our world of happiness and hurt, joy and suffering, peace and pain. Jesus placed Himself within time and faced the same mix of experiences and emotions that time generates in our lives.

And it is because of this gospel, that no matter what emotions and fears I face tomorrow night as the parent of a high school graduate, I know that she is safe in her Savior's love.  She can't remove God's love from her.  Time will march forward and she will face both the blessings and struggles of life. She will make wise decisions and foolish ones. She will feel secure and confident and she will feel vulnerable and defeated.  Time will bring mountaintops and valleys.  And through it all, Jesus will never leave or forsake her ... even if she leaves and forsakes Him. 

No one prepared me for these moments as a parent. No one taught me how to hold on while letting go.  No one coached me on how to trust that what you failed to do as a parent will be redeemed by a God who loves her even more deeply than her parents.

I love you Kayleigh Dean Hudson.  I love you more than words can explain. I love you more than life. And when you walk across that stage tomorrow night, I will beam with pride and happiness on the outside while I am crying, afraid, and anxious on the inside - thankful that time allowed me the opportunity to experience life with you, to be your daddy, and for that I will be forever grateful.

* There may or may not have been a few tears shed in the drafting of this blog post - only the author will ever know.

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