(This guest post is my sweet daughter Linnea’s senior legacy paper)
When thinking about how to sum up what I’ve learned in high school, I struggle to find the words. There’s so much I’ve learned. Really, there are like ten different things I could talk about. But when thinking about what to say, it kind of hit me. My experiences – everything I’ve gone through in high school – it doesn’t really matter. It’s not the point.
Everyone has their stories. I have mine. I could go on and on about how my depression, self-harm, and parent’s divorce affected me and what God has taught me through all of it; but honestly – that’s not the point. God has brought me through so much. He’s slowly shaping me to be the person He created me to be. He’s preparing me for the next life. In the end, everything that we’ve done on earth isn’t going to matter. There will be a day where the only thing that matters is whether or not you know and accept Jesus Christ. High school drama will be completely forgotten.
High school is a very instrumental time in a person’s life because it is then people start discovering themselves. It’s the perfect opportunity for God to wreck your life for Him – and that’s what He did to me. I went from being terrified of anything remotely spiritual, to constantly having my heart broken for those who don’t know Christ. God put this burning desire in my heart to know Him more and share His love with others. It was almost as if I had been blind and now I could see.
But it’s not always that easy. Truly trying to follow God is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. But it’s so worth it. Satan will do everything he can to distract you. He’ll try to re-open wounds and taunt you with temptations. But don’t be discouraged! John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
One thing I’ve learned is that so many people get stuck at the cross. I know that sounds funny, but let me explain. God wants us to lay ourselves and our burdens down at the cross and receive His grace. But we aren’t supposed to stay there. We are supposed to go forth and spread His news once we’ve been forgiven. Sometimes you’ll have to go back to the cross and lay more burdens down, but you aren’t supposed to live there. Sadly, it seems as if that’s where most Christians are today. They are all about giving their problems to God and being forgiven, but they don’t actually do anything with it.
I believe God has so much more in store for us than just wiping away our sin. He wants us to experience the fullness of His love and be rooted richly in His spiritual blessings. He wants us to go out and share His love with urgency. Going into high school, I had the Great Commission on my mind because I had just gone through confirmation and that’s what I had picked for my verse. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I wasn’t really sure why I picked that verse, but I knew it felt right. Now I can see that God has been changing my heart and how it is a perfect verse for my life – because it describes the desire He has put inside my being.
If I had to leave one piece of advice, I’d say that no matter what, trust in God with all of your heart. He created you and knows you better than you know yourself. Life is full of unexpected things and you will never be able to go through it all and come out stronger without leaning on God. There’s no time to put God on hold. If you were to die tomorrow, would you be ready?