The sun beat down upon us as we sit high in the aluminum bleachers overlooking the Rangers' football filed. Rows of chairs, one for each graduating senior, were carefully arranged in lines before us. As the students were seated - some 150 or so - I realized that I did not know any of them, save one. Yet, I could not help but think that there was a beautiful story behind each nameless face, and somewhere in the crowd - perhaps just a row or two over from me - was a family that loved them as much as I loved my precious nephew.
As Bradley walked across the field and accepted his diploma, I recalled an early Christmas of yesteryear when he was the only baby amongst our family gathering. Oh how time has flown, and has seen him become a fine, upstanding young man. As a joyful tear welded up in my eye I began to think about his future and how God might use him in the years to come. My prayers go out to my nephew, and to countless other graduates, as this new chapter in their lives is beginning.
Just one day before, on Friday afternoon, my family stood in a circle holding hands in the living room of a vacant house in Burkburnett. It was within these walls where we spent our last 7 years together, watching our kids grow up. As I surveyed the bare walls, the empty rooms, and the stained carpet memories flooded my mind. Each stain represented more than just a spill, but rather a frozen moment in time - a brief snapshot of a fleeting second of our lives. And as I considered the speckled and stained carpet, I realized that it was a picture of our lives together - one that finds it beauty in the spots and spills.
So hand in hand we prayed, thanking God for the years we'd spent in Burkburnett. We praised Him for our friends, for our church, for the kid's teachers, for the countless blessings - for the growth He had developed in us during our time there. The tears flowed freely as we prayed and trusted. Although His plans are not always the same as ours, we believe they are always better than ours. And so we too are graduating in a sense, leaving the place we've come to know as home and embarking on a new chapter in our lives...
When Christ is the theme our your story, your life becomes a book that you simply can't put down. The preceding chapters are so rich, so full, so wonderful... and when a new chapter begins, it holds unbelievable hope and promise. And so we will turn another page and keep on reading... because we know that this new chapter that begins today, Graduates and Carpet Stains, will surely be a spectacular one indeed.