Lasts. I do not like things to be over. I do not mind change, but I do not like endings. I sometimes will not finish a book I am reading because I have become so fond of the characters.

I have become very fond of a group of characters at Zionsville Community High School. They are teachers, administrator’s staff and students. They come in all shapes and sizes. And in one way my time with them is ending. Not so much with the teachers, staff and administrators because I still have two great kids at the high school.

However, this week my oldest son will graduate from high school. It just seems like yesterday that I was as big as a whale carrying him in me. It seems like yesterday I was cleaning his face of chocolate as he licked the beaters from making a cake. It seems like yesterday he needed me to kiss his boo-boos. It seems like yesterday I was tucking him into bed and listening to his prayers. He is a great kid, a special kid--but all moms think that, don’t they? I cannot imagine how quiet our home will be without the door banging as his many friends come in and out, wondering what there is to eat, or yelling and hooting at the television as they watch another ballgame.

His friends have been so special. He has had a rough time with illnesses and has not been able to drive or even to be alone; his friends have pitched in and taken him everywhere and been with him and for him. They have cared for him, protected him and prayed for him.

Do not get me wrong, I do want him to grow up and be successful. The world tells us for him to be successful he must have a fast car, a good job, make lots of money, and have a house with lots of toys. As a mom I know he is successful because he loves the Lord. That is what makes him the kind of person he is. I know whatever God has in store for him it will be OK, because His plan is perfect.

As we gathered with friends and family to celebrate his graduation on race day, we chose this scripture to pray over him: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). I know it is the last of high school for my son but it is the beginning of college at Bellarmine University in Louisville. I thank God I still have two in high school and a church that loves me and will pick me up and hold me when I am so very sad and miss him so.

It is with his graduation I offer this blessing to moms and dads, grandparents and friends of those graduating: May your heart that is burdened and grieving with lasts be filled with comfort that God has a great and wonderful plan. May you trust in His plan and be assured of His love and grace. May you know He loves our babies (even the big and grown ones) even more than we do! And know God feels and shares in our sorrow and joy of them leaving. And to the class of 2006, Happy Graduation, may your days be filled with love, peace and joy. May you follow God in all you say, think and do. May you grow to be the person God created you to be. May you give His love to all and may you be a living example of grace. May God’s blessing be upon you!

— Amy Mildenberg is pastor at Bethel Presbyterian Church of Shannondale

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