I watched my little girl, Chloe, graduate kindergarten today. This may not be such a big deal to some parents, but to me, this was a huge celebration. Kindergarten wasn’t so easy for us. Watching her walk across the stage with her face beaming reminded me of how great it feels to accomplish something really hard. Sure, it is always exciting to complete a project or finish a race, but when that accomplishment was riddled with opposition, it makes the victory so much sweeter.
The Bible tells us in Romans 5:3-5 that we should “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” I truly saw this development take place this year within my child’s heart.
In the midst of adversity, it is all we can do to persevere. Most of the time we can not even see what is beyond the suffering. It is all we can do to muster enough strength to make it one more day or to finish one more step. But, in the midst of this God is busy building character within us. We arise from our suffering stronger and wiser than we ever were before. We believe that if God carried us through that, then we can make it through anything. Our hope is ever more so in Him.
Today we looked back and saw mountain behind us, one that we didn’t even realize was there. We knew we were walking uphill. We felt the heat, the exhaustion and the sore muscles. We continued to put one foot in front of the other, and God shielded the distance from our eyes. It was only until we conquered the summit and headed downhill, that we realized what heights we had climbed.
My baby girl is going to have to climb more mountains in her life. There will be many more struggles and hardships that come her way. My involvement will get smaller and smaller, but I know that she will not be climbing all alone. She has a trusted Savior, and He is her champion. He will walk with her, carry her, and guide her along the way. But, for today, we will pause in her life journey, and take the time to stop and look back. We will celebrate this one mountain. We will praise the One that carried her over it, and the One who gave her the strength to endure it. We will admire her new muscles and her renewed hope. We will mark this occasion and will remember it always as the day we saw Chloe bloom.