Thursday, June 25, 2015

As She Walked Across That Stage...

This mama-heart of mine exuded with so much joy I thought it might explode. My first-born child, my baby girl, the one who made me a mama... she walked across that stage and just like that, she's graduated from high-school.

Where exactly has all that time gone to?

Don't blink. Parents of younger children, don't blink... because time waits for no one. It truly flows like a relentless river.

These 18+ years have flown by and this mama is deeply grateful to have had a front row seat to this God-story, to my girl's life where God's grace has been and continues to be powerfully at work in. 

So many beautiful memories... and so many more to look forward to!

I am so incredibly proud to call this amazing young woman my daughter. I am one blessed mama. God's grace truly is astoundingly beautiful. For someone as broken as I am to have been entrusted with this gift of such an extraordinary young lady as a daughter is beyond all I have ever asked for or have even dared to imagine.

He truly gives good gifts. This. astounds. me.

Yesterday she graduated from high-school with an award for her community service work and another one for her love of the French language.

And, edited on July 2, 2015 to add this... that, one week after her graduation ceremony, she got a call from her Principal letting her know that she's graduated as the top student of the Class of 2015, thus is the recipient of this year's Governor General's Academic Medal!!!

This award, along with all the other academic awards, wasn't announced at last week's graduation ceremony due to the unusual school year we had because of the teachers' strike, causing marks submission to be delayed.

All glory be to God alone!

This Fall, she will attend the University of Toronto to pursue an education, and eventually a career, in International Development, entering Canada's top university {and ranked 4th in the world} as a C. David Naylor University Scholar and a President's Scholar of Excellence, to live out her passion to speak out for those who are denied a voice.

These are undoubtedly incredible achievements and I am super proud of her! Trust me... just check out my innumerable #proudmama posts on social media. ;)

Yet, what truly makes this girl stand out is her God-given big heart for compassion and justice and that beautiful contagious smile which lights up an entire room when she enters.

This is a girl who, since the day she could walk and talk, always had the desire to help others. "Mama, me help?" was a regular request of hers.

This is a girl who, at just 12 years of age, listened to God's prompting and ended up propelling our family into a lifestyle of compassion and justice.

This is a girl who, at age 16, was recognized by her peers as someone who embodies living out peace in her everyday life.

This is a girl who, at age 17, agreed to collaborate with Compassion Canada to produce True Story: What God wants us to do about povertyin order to reach her peers across this vast country of ours and across the globe with the message of God's story of redemption.

Best of all, this girl... my daughter, has changed the way I look at the world. 
In my daughter's eyes I am a hero. I am strong and wise and I know no fear. But the truth is plain to see, she was sent to rescue me. I see who I want to be in my daughter's eyes.
In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal. Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace. This miracle God gave to me, gives me strength when I am weak. I find reason to believe in my daughter's eyes.
~ Martina McBride.

My story changed when this girl entered my life... and I have not looked back and I have been blessed beyond measure because of it. God has used motherhood to disciple me in ways that I will always and forever be grateful for.
Christian discipleship is a decision to walk in his ways, steadily and firmly, and then finding that the way integrates all our interests, passions, and gifts, our human needs and eternal aspirations. It is the way of life we were created for. ~ Eugene H. Peterson.
You don't realize your story is changing you until you look back. ~ Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.
I am feeling all sorts of emotions as I realize that the time has come for this story's next chapter to unfold. 

Yes, transitions and change have always been hard for this mama to face... so I am choosing to find comfort and strength in the reality that God loves her infinitely more than I ever can! 

My dearest Alyssa...
Words aren't adequate enough to express just how much joy you have brought into your daddy's and my life. Everyday, I thank God for you. You. are. a. gift... a grace-gift.

I love you so much... and count it pure blessing to walk this journey as your mama.

And girl, have I told you lately just how incredibly proud I am of you? #proudmama :) 

You are an extraordinarily special young lady. No doubt. God has gifted you in ways that astound me. His grace is wild... His love is extravagant. 

As an image-bearer of our Heavenly Father, may you continue to be Jesus' hands and feet... to proclaim good news to the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release prisoners from darkness, to comfort all who mourn. 

May you continue to be an oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour.

And may you know, with all your heart, that... you. are. His. beloved! 

That... you. are. eternally. His!

Go now into the world and dream God-sized dreams, my baby girl... because He has already blazed the way for you!

And may this always, always, always be true of you...
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ~ Galatians 6:14
With all the love that your mama has for you...

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!