My boy graduated from high school yesterday.
And it was beautiful.
I didn’t shed a tear–I didn’t even get teary eyed. No, I was too joyful. Excited. Settled. Relieved.
I watched Tim get his diploma, I listened to him sing a solo in the graduation song, and I watched my entire crew genuinely celebrate his success with much love and affection.
And I looked at these four young men and women, and I was astounded. Overwhelmed. Because things could be so different.
They are beating the odds.
Because of research I have done in the area of children with incarcerated parents, I know the outcome for their lives can be pretty bleak. Many drop out of school. Many end up abusing drugs and alcohol. Many end up following their incarcerated parent into a life of arrests and imprisonment. The numbers are staggering.
In fact, Haylee Gray Scott shares these sobering numbers with us in Christianity Today:
Whether through abandonment, incarceration, death, or workaholism, fatherlessness is a root of many of our contemporary social ills. According to a widely cited report from the U.S. Department of Justice, children from fatherless home are 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 32 times more likely to run away, 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison than children from homes with a mother and father present.
But, at this very moment and in this very place in life, my crew is good. They are solid. In fact, we are all sitting here together, watching the movie “How to Train Your Dragon”. Together. On a Saturday night. And loving every single minute of it.
Oh, I’m not so naive as to think that there aren’t still tough times ahead. I’m not so naive as to think that any of the four of them could hit a really hard spot in their life. In fact, the thought is never far from the back of my mind. I pray protection for them each and every day—real prayer. But for tonight, they are well. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually.
And, it’s not me. I’ve not done this. I have failed them time and time and time again. Good grief, I have not been the mom they deserve or need in any way, shape, or form.
But you know what? God has not failed them. He has not forsaken us. He has not left us. And He shows time and again that He sees, knows and is a work. His grace is why we are able to stand fast. His grace is our foundation. His grace is our saving grace.
But you know what else? You, my friends, have not failed us. You could have walked away from us. You could have turned your back on our family. But you haven’t. And in surrounding us in prayer, protection, encouragement, and love, you have provided us–provided me–the impetus to keep going. To not quit. Even on the darkest days. Even on the days when I just didn’t think we could make it or that I could parent another single second, one of you have said just the right encouraging word or dropped off a bag of groceries just when there was nothing in the pantry to eat, or provided a bag of clothes when the seasons changed and the kids had grown.
I’m amazed. I’m humbled by your love. And I am grateful.
So thank you. For every encouraging word. For every single prayer. For every gift. For every tire changed. For every pilot light lit. For every bag of groceries, bag of clothing.
You are family. And we love you. All of you.
Tonight I am resting. I am resting in joy. I am resting in 3 John 1:4, and praying that God will grant this verse to continue to be truth in my life: