take courage

 

I am graduating in less than a month (eek!), and I’ve been doing some serious reflection of my time at Covenant lately (shameless plug: I have a Facebook album titled “The Farewell Series”; check it out for some of these said reflections). I’ve been in awe of God’s faithfulness over the past few years, and I think the one phrase that can surmise my time here is to be courageous. I have learned to be courageous because of all of you, so thank you.

 

Thank you to my professors who have taught me to be courageous: thank you for teaching us well, even when you have insurmountable challenges at home, like a spouse with chronic pain, or a child with moderate autism.

 

Thank you to my friends who have taught me to be courageous: thank you for showing how you cling to the Lord in the midst of mental illness, how you live amidst deep loss and grief, how you love others well when you are fighting to love yourself. Thank you for your vulnerability, for allowing me to hear your stories.

Thank you to all those who have recently graduated before me, especially. You have taught me to be courageous as I saw you mourning your RA – friend – hallmate – teammate – student, while still braving each day and welcoming us freshmen.

A pastor from back home passed away recently a month after the discovery of a brain aneurysm. As I looked at tributes online, and when I watched the memorial, I saw this recurring theme of people saying, “Well done,” about him. Yes –– loss is so, so, so hard.

 

We aren’t even granted our next breath, but we want to live forever. We never want to face the sting of death. Yet, Buddy lived his life so faithfully and courageously for the Lord, that even as those who know him grieve his death, they are able to praise God for being so present in his life. They are able to say “Well done,” because he did not allow childhood polio, nor its lifelong consequences to deter him from the incredible life that he lived. That’s our hope too as children of God, isn’t it? That when people look at our lives, they would be led to worship because of how good God is?

 

Thank you Covenant for these past four years, for all the different encounters, experiences, and lessons that have made me who I am today. Thank you Covenant for the unexpected lesson that it is in the stormy waves, sometimes, that we are able to clearly see the Father reach towards us and scoop us up. Thank you Covenant for showing me that I am not defined by my speech impediment, my fluctuating mental state of mind, nor by how my legs wiggle towards each other as I walk. I’m not dismissing these conditions; I’m just saying that I’m learning to embrace, not scorn, who I am and to allow God to continue to speak peace and life over me.

 

You have taught me to be courageous. You have taught me to declare, “Take courage my heart; stay steadfast my soul” because I am confident that I will continue to see the Lord in the land of the living.

 

I encourage you, fellow Scots, to continue to cling to the Lord in these four years and beyond –– to ask the Lord to show you the height and depth of His love; for Him to fill you with overwhelming peace when there’s a storm around you; for Him to supply you with joy when you feel defeated.

 

(Also, as a sentimental senior, here’s some parting words: take harder classes that you normally wouldn’t take like a class from Dr. Horne; cultivate community; pick John Holberg’s brain on something; wear a wacky outfit to chapel one day; invest in your church and allow your church to pour into you; expect great things from God; be faithful in the ‘talents’ that you have been given; act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.)

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