The mailbox has been a fun place to walk to and open here recently. I love seeing our address being handwritten on an envelope. That means there's something personal inside. I'm a sucker for stationary and LOVE checking the mail everyday...so these past few days have been extra sweet.
It started with a college graduation announcement of a young man that was in high school when I first met him. Granted, I knew this graduation was coming, but it came in the same weekend that he accepted his first job as a Youth Minister. I've joked over the past few months as I've been doing phone references for him that nothing has made me feel older than a youth interviewing for what I do, but all joking aside, I couldn't be more proud. I've watched this young high school boy grow into a mighty warrior for the Kingdom. He passionately loves Jesus with all that he has and he will influence a generation in the days to come. I am deeply proud of you, Michael Brian Winter.
Then came the high school graduation announcements from my first 6th grade class. You heard me. 6th grade. They were so young and innocent and tried to make me quit youth ministry before I even started, but God bless them, I am who I am today BECAUSE OF THEM. I got down on my face before the King of Heaven and asked Him to teach me, mold me, use me, shape me into who He needed me to be for them. I love these kids deeply. They have a very special place in my heart and I couldn't be more proud as they are about to graduate from one season of their lives into another. Jesus has called you Beloved--remember that my precious friends.
Now today the graduation announcements started coming in for my kids here and all I could utter was, I love my life. The Lord has allowed me two years here so far to get to know these youth and be a part of their lives and I am deeply grateful. God has marked this class. They are radical lovers of the Almighty and they will bring Heaven to Earth. I have been challenged to go deeper in my walk with the Lord since meeting them and I am eternally grateful.
Even bigger than all of the above, I have my very own graduate to be proud of. Robert mastered all of his finals this past week--he even aced his senior paper and presentation. I am so overwhelmingly proud of him. I am grateful for this treasure that the Lord has given me and to say that we have been on a wild ride together for the past 4 years would be an understatement. We've traveled through 4 schools together and there were times we thought this day might never come, but it is here and it is all we thought it would be. Robert, thank you for not giving up when there were times we really wouldn't blame you if you did. Thank you for thinking of our family and giving it all that you've got. I know it hasn't been easy. I know juggling a wife, work and school is more than most guys your age have to endure and you did it all with a smile on your face. You are the most incredible man I have ever met and it is an honor to call you my husband! Now let's celebrate!!!!