Posted by Moira Ahearne Parkinson

Welcome to Mid-Week E-Lift —
a Message in the Midst of a Busy Week


Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
LISTEN TO: Martina McBride, “In My Daughter’s Eyes”

This past Monday, my daughter Hannah graduated from high school. It was a long day of festivities: graduation from high school in the morning, followed by a graduates’ luncheon, then evening graduation ceremonies at the vocational school Hannah also attends. This graduation was significant because these weren’t kids who were uber-academics with a ticket to the ivy league in hand. These were kids with different types of learning disabilities and health problems that interfered with their ability to learn. They needed additional help and they found it at their specialized high school. Speech after speech congratulated this group of graduates for how far they had come, for not giving up, and encouraged them to continue applying themselves to the future goals. The student speaker was blunt. Who would’ve believed we would have made it to this point? Each one of us has a story to tell. Each of us has experienced pain and hardship in our past. (a pain that only students with learning/health disabilities know). But here we are. I thought of Hannah’s circumstances — for so long she felt “dumb” because of academic struggles — but the past two years, with the right school, she made honor roll, discovered that she could indeed learn. She finally looked forward to going to school. And know she looks forward to the next leg of the journey. The students were left with the message to not to let the past define you. Build on your success and keep moving forward. Most important, be grateful and give back.

All of us can learn from these insights. How often we are trapped by circumstances of the past. Sin, addiction, abuse, health issues, stresses in family, problems with relationship, failures. None of these issues define us. God sees beyond our failures and sin to the person created in the divine image and the potential we possess. Yet we get trapped by our perceptions of ourselves, and our judgments of others. We are spiritually handicapped. We all need special education! We need help to become spiritually whole — to see ourselves and the world through the power of God’s love. If our hearts experience God’s love, we can’t help but learn, over time, to see things in a new light. There are far more important things in our world than hefty bank accounts, stylish clothes, or being “right” or being “in control.” God’s love works through our brokenness and illness so we can love, every minute of every day. It’s a challenge. But it’s the only challenge that will truly make a difference, for ourselves, and for the world. Every day is a new day to practice what we are learning. The more we learn about God, the more we see that while we always carry the wounds of our past, they do not have to define us and trap us. Instead, In God’s School of Love the past prepares us to be compassionate, to reach out to other hurting people, to show mercy. Let’s help each other achieve God’s will despite our spiritual handicaps. When we do this, we will know we are well on our way to graduating from the school of life, the School of Love run by God.

I dedicate this to my daughter Hannah, In whom I am so proud!!

PRAY: “God, help me not to be defined by past failures, past sin, but to have freedom through your forgiveness, mercy and love.”