In Which I Give a Graduation Speech

To the families, friends, and students of the North Clackamas Christian School Class of 2016:

I am so honored to be here this evening to celebrate such a diverse collection of individuals that meld together so delightfully.

We have shared some special years in each others’ lives.  I saw you through high school and you saw me through pregnancy, which, between the mood swings, illness, and sleeping patterns, are basically the same thing.  Let’s be honest.

I subbed for you your first trimester freshman year and your last semester senior year and in between I taught you English, Psychology, Classic Film, Publications, and Bible. And you taught me about Sponge Bob, basketball, golf, swimming, technology, snakes, and Bob’s Burgers.  

A few standout memories:

When you all, especially Amelia, sing “Cruise” every time I am in your presence.

The science fiction literature unit your freshman year, which I probably threw together at the last minute judging from my crazy life at the time, but you all rose to the occasion beautifully, and produced some truly memorable stories.  I wish I’d made copies.

When I came to visit last fall, a week before Sarah was born.  I was leaving Mrs. D’s room and Cory was coming in.  The look on his face as he tried to navigate my ginormous belly that he hadn’t seen in three months, was pretty priceless.

I’ve seen you grow more vulnerable with each other, fight for friendships, shoot three-pointers like a boss, lead chapel, draw beautiful pictures, teach younger students, and independently plan big events that would have totally overwhelmed me so I was thankful I only had to be the adult who signed official documents.  It’s been a busy four years.

As a whole, you are a highly creative class.  Individually, you all have different interests, styles, hairdos, creative outlets, worldviews, backgrounds, and dreams for the future.  As you graduate high school, the word I want you to remember today is CREATE.

Contribute Creative Content.  Sports commentary, informational blogs, music and lyrics, screenplays.  Don’t just consume content; go create more of it. Create content that makes the world a more interesting place.  Make us think.

Create Rhyme and Reason This one is twofold. Both literal and metaphorical.  Rhyme and Reason means purpose.  The meaning behind doing what you do.  Make sure you have intentional reasoning behind what you do. But also make sure you also love most of what you do. Create passion. Rhyme. Rhythm. Focus. The heartbeat behind what you do.

Create Engagement  Be social. Get a conversation going. Ask questions. Create a community.  Invite people to engage with you on whatever topics make you tick.  

Create Art  Creating content is about making the world a more interesting and thoughtful place. Creating art is about making the world a more beautiful place. Your art might be interior design or photography or makeup or hair or collage or just being purposeful about noticing beautiful things.  Whatever pleases you aesthetically, go create more of it.  Add beauty to our world.

Create Things that grow  Breed snakes, raise children, plant trees, coach teams.  Create things that grow beyond where they were when you met them or planted them.  That’s what I have loved about teaching here.  I’ve been in a position to water my students and help them grow academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Create Excitement  Get people behind you or your cause.  Get people involved.  Get people all riled up about your vision.

I want to share Psalm 139:1-17 with you as it has been a theme verse in my life this Spring, and it applies to where you are, too.

You have searched me, Lord,

   and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

   you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

   you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

   you, Lord, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before,

   and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

   too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

   Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

   if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

   your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

   and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

   the night will shine like the day,

   for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;

   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

   your works are wonderful,

   I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

   when I was made in the secret place,

   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

   all the days ordained for me were written in your book

   before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!

   How vast is the sum of them!

This has been my theme chapter this Spring as I’m figuring out my identity in relationship to motherhood and how God made me.  Because it wasn’t strictly for motherhood but teaching and motherhood together is overwhelming, so now what? And so again, I see that you and I are in oddly similar life circumstances. So I figured I’d share my insights 🙂

Each of you are uniquely gifted and wired to contribute particular things to this world.  Of course we all have to do things we do not want to do sometimes, but as you begin navigating the world of adulthood, you will have choices and decisions galore.  Pay attention to the things that really excite you and intrinsically motivate you.

What do you enjoy doing? What moments in life have made you especially proud?

God was very intentional when He created you.  This passage says that His works are wonderful.  You are a work of God’s hands.  Therefore, you are wonderful.  Not only that, but He continues to support you and give you the tools to carry out the good works he has set aside for you to do.  His hand will guide you.  He did not just create you and leave you alone.

Listen to the Scripture, people, and circumstances God puts in your life. Let His thoughts be precious to you.

Create a way for yourself to make decisions about how you spend your time.  You only get so many hours, they don’t rollover, and they fly by.

He created you.  On purpose.  For His purpose. For this time and place out of all eternity.

While high school is not your peak set of years, don’t forget the friendships made and lost or the lessons learned in and out of the classroom.  NCCS Class of 2016, I am so proud to have shared so much of your educational and spiritual adventure with you. These are your roots. Don’t forget them.  Let them be your foundation as you go forward creating, adulting, and doing life. These are your roots.  You and I have been blessed with an incredible community in North Clackamas Christian School.  You will always be welcome here.  These are your roots, now go enjoy your wings.

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