I have a rather large pile of party decorations sitting in the corner of my dining room. Graduation decorations to be exact. Red and silver balloons, confetti, maps, globes, suitcases, you name it – I have it.
My eldest daughter is a senior this year and I’ve been collecting the decorations for her party for months now. Her heart is to travel and I wanted to be sure we captured that spirit of adventure when we decorated. She, like many others, has an adventure up ahead.
But the adventures, and even the celebrations ahead will look differently than any of us could have anticipated.
We’ve all been feeling the loss of unmet expectations. Our seniors were expected to walk across the stage and have their name called. I was expected to cheer so loud that I would embarrass my daughter and family sitting with me. We were expecting to throw a massive party with numerous friends and family making the trip to celebrate. We were expecting to capture all the important “lasts” of her final year of high school, all the “lasts” of our middle daughter’s final year of middle school, and the final days of our son’s 2nd grade year. We expected to take pictures of graduations, continuations, and end-of-year swimming parties. But everything has changed and will look differently moving forward.
We’ve had tears from learning the school year would be finishing up here at our house instead of in the hallways of their schools, and we’ve had lots of sighs because we’ve been feeling all the feelings.
We’ve also had the following:
We’ve been blessed to video chat with our family and friends catch up on life. Seeing faces and hearing voices makes such a difference!
We’ve had face masks that were lovingly made and delivered to our doorstep by our church family.
We’ve had beautiful yard signs made and delivered by friends to honor our senior girl.
Cake pops were delivered to our middle girl by a friend from her middle school – out of the blue.
Meals and treats have been delivered to us by friends across town and across the state.
A Surprise Easter Egg Hunt was lovingly delivered and placed in our front yard for our kids to enjoy on Easter Sunday.
More than just these wonderful expressions of love, we’ve had hope delivered to our hearts.
Yes, everything we expected to do won’t happen quite like we planned. But believe me when I tell you:
Our Seniors will still graduate.
Our middle schoolers will still continue on to High School.
Our littles will still finish out their school year with the excitement they always have with summer ahead.
Above all, Our God will remain faithful. That’s who He is.
Those events and celebrations will happen, they will just look differently than we expected.
But in the midst of this, we can still find hope, celebrate, and find reasons to discover joy.
Celebrations will look differently for all of us. At our house, we are going to do our best to throw a backyard Prom, a Drive-Thru graduation Party for local fam & friends, an 8th grade Continuation Dance, and a 2nd grade End of Year Party. Why? Because celebrations still matter and I can’t let this crappy virus steal any more from my kids.
Our senior girl will still dress up in her Cap & Gown because Caps & Gowns Matter and if you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that message means a lot to me. If you are new to the blog, here is another reason why it matters: Click here.
This time of being at home has definitely felt like a loss in many ways, but I also feel as if God is giving us back so much.
He’s supplying our needs.
He is providing us strength and new mercy every single day.
He is helping us to think creatively about how to make the most of our time, and how to connect with others in our community.
He is sustaining us with His love and quieting our minds with His peace.
He is making His love known and His gospel accessible through things like online worship experiences, through food banks being open, and through community outreach programs for all who have been affected.
He is helping our entire world
He is giving us a chance to see the world through different eyes, and giving us the opportunity to respond to the needs of those around us as best as we can with what we already have.
Friend, if you are reading this anywhere in the world today, chances are, you’ve felt loss at some level during this pandemic. I’d even venture to say you have felt a lot of loss. Whether it be personal loss, or feeling the weight from what your children have lost, we are all walking through this together. A beautiful reminder that we are not alone.
My hope for us is that we reflect the love we have been given and the hope that has been delivered to us. That our children, young and old, can watch how we respond to unmet expectations. I pray that our families would see the resilience that comes from thinking about doing celebrations differently. Moving forward may not look the same as in times past, but that is probably a good thing. I keep hearing leaders say the same thing, “Do we want to go back to the way things were?”. I don’t want to go back to normal- I want to grow through this whole experience and learn to look at life and people differently.
As we inch closer and closer to the dates that these celebrations would’ve been taking place, let’s be mindful to show those around us that we too can hold onto hope while walking through uncertainty. We can still seek God while we wait for Him to move in and around us. We can shout for joy while we wait for restrictions to lift. We can honor the achievements of those we love while providing for the needs of those around us. It’s not one or the other; it can be both. It must be both. Here in this image is the verse I am praying over you, and today, let’s all begin to pray it over each other:
Do you have a senior or someone special you;d like us to celebrate with you in this season? Tell us about them in the comments!