Your mother and I find it hard to believe that today has arrived so quickly. Starting in the late afternoon of December 28th, 1996, God gave us our third greatest gift (after salvation and our marriage)… YOU!!! Here we are on this day where you will walk across the stage and receive your high school diploma from Westminster Academy in the class of 2015!
To say a flood of emotions is filling us to overflowing would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. Today we pause to thank everyone who has partnered with us in the parenting process: your teachers, coaches, administrators, countless classmates and teammates, extended family members, and of course, your siblings, Jenna, Katie, and Tank. Most importantly, we thank our God for giving us the privilege of being your parents throughout this journey. To be sure, it was all God’s grace flowing through a community of people that has grown you from a little boy into a young man after God’s own heart.
In the fall you are heading off to Stetson University in Deland, Florida on a voice music scholarship. From the age of 3 years old, when Mrs. Jan Forester first identified your gift of song and you were chosen to sing “Happy Birthday, Jesus” in the Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant, we knew God had a special plan for your life that included music. This was confirmed when God brought you under the musical teaching of Mrs. Lisa Wilson, who both instructed and inspired your musical talents during those formative years. And God placed His exclamation point on this entire process when you were given the Lisa Wilson Fine Arts Award during Senior Award Night. With Rick Krive’s guidance and encouragement, you have helped lead worship at The Cross since Easter Sunday 2013, and we have watched God “fan into flame the gift that is in you!” Clearly God orchestrated each step in this process, using so many to do so much. He has opened this door leading into a new chapter in your life story that God is writing daily.
You will be the first of our four children to be dropped off on a college campus. As we imagine looking at you in the rear view mirror in just a few months, we are as emotional as we are excited for you. You know “Papi” is tearing up right now as I am writing this. For 18 ½ years, every day of our parenting has pointed to this day. We know you are ready in spite of our imperfect parenting; we have raised you imperfectly, we have disciplined you imperfectly, we have loved you imperfectly…and boy how I coached you imperfectly out on the baseball field as the ogre dad pushing my plan for your life that would bring us to Fenway Park. Yet, God has rained down His grace, growing us as parents as He was growing you. It was our daily prayer to simply point you to Jesus with the ultimate goal of sending you off to college not with a religion to continue practicing, but with a right relationship to continue pursuing with the Lord Jesus Christ. So with glad and grateful hearts, we echo these words of John …
“We have no greater joy than to hear that our [son Brock] is walking in the truth” (3 John 4).
Now just like our imperfect parenting, you will pursue Jesus imperfectly. But because your Christianity is rooted in a relationship rather than a religion, you will look to the One who loves you unconditionally and forgives you completely. Your understanding of the gospel will give you both the motive and the motivation to continue making forward progress, regardless of the bumps and bends in the road. God’s goodness and grace has you ready to begin this new season of life. To be sure, our daily prayers will be with you. But better than that, God’s divine presence will be in you every step of the way. You know, by way of personal experience, that greater is the power that is at work within you than any power that will come up against you. And because God is for you, it really doesn’t matter what comes up against you.
Congratulations, Brock. We are so proud of you and look forward, with positive anticipation, to what God has planned for your life. I will never forget the counsel I received early in my walk with Christ from Lee Eaton, a godly man and friend who said, “Raise your child to love the Lord in such a way that when they go off to college and don’t have to come home any more, he wants to come home anyway.” God truly blessed Mr. Eaton’s prayer and we trust that He will bless ours. I really am having a hard time closing out this word of encouragement to you. Perhaps it is best to let God have the last Word in a familiar passage your mom and I have used for countless graduates we have coached, mentored, and trained over the years.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
We love you son,
Mom & Dad