May 20th is a special day for me. It is the day I graduated from my Christian high school with nineteen other seniors. Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of my graduation. So last evening I watched the video of that special night. That was so much fun. I had forgotten the different things we did and what was said. My pastor, Roy Thompson [who has since gone to heaven], wrote us a letter. He said instead of sending it to us, he was going to save the $4.00 and read it to us. What a sweet letter it was, and to hear him read it was so special! I hope to write it out so I can remember it. The songs that were sung were so perfect. The choir sang a beautiful song entitled, “My Tribute.” The senior guys’ quartet sang and a ladies’ ensemble also sang. The seniors even sang a special song to our parents. What a tear-jerker! We also honored our parents with a memory book and a red rose. I do remember crying when I handed that out. What a special time my graduation was!
Watching that video again brought so many memories back to mind. I saw people I haven’t seen for years. Many people have since passed away—one from my class. Some have moved away. I loved hearing the voices of my former pastor and youth pastor. It was a night full of possibilities and hope. A night of tears—both of joy and sadness. It is hard to imagine how much time has passed since that night. Thirty-four. It seems a life-time ago.
While watching the video brought back wonderful memories, it also brought pain and sadness because I know what happened to that eighteen year old lady just a few years later. On that graduation night, my heart was full of love for the Lord and a genuine desire to serve Him for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly how it worked out. Because a few years later, I would be out of God’s will, living a life far away from where I stood on my graduation night. How ashamed and disappointed I am at how Satan got me away from God’s will.
Those ten years I was away from the Lord can never be gotten back. They are wasted years. Years that I could have been serving the Lord. Reaching others for Him. Encouraging and helping those in the church. But I decided I knew better. That I would go my own way. How foolish I was. What a mess I made of my life.
Although there may have been wasted years in my past, since I turned back to God, He has used me to do His will. What Satan meant to destroy, God has used for His glory. That time away from God is an awful memory, but it serves to remind me of God’s forgiveness. It gives me a desire to help others avoid the mistakes and wrong choices I did. Although I am not the same person I was the night I graduated, I am a vessel who is being used for my Savior’s glory.
May I always remember the sweet memories of my graduation, but dwell on God’s forgiveness from sin.