If you were at our June 3 SFI Graduation, you know what a wonderful, joyful, satisfying day it was. If you weren’t there, here are some excerpts from my comments that day:
Motherhood is a choice you make every day to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself over and over and over again for not being perfect.
We are here to celebrate your perseverance today. We are here to celebrate YOU! You are the group that is taking us past the 100 mark of SFI graduates! What a milestone for MSH today…and a milestone for YOU.
I am so proud of you!
Not just because you lived through weeks and weeks of classes.
Not just because you challenged yourself to become a better woman and better mother.
Not just because you finished.
No, I am so proud of you because you did the most courageous thing that any person can do:
You took a long hard look inside yourself and took inventory. You made an honest assessment. You faced up to some of the choices you have made that have brought heartache to yourself and to your family. You celebrated the wonderful things about yourself and the gifts that make you uniquely you.
But you didn’t just stop at the assessment. Every one of you chose to move forward. You chose to put the past behind and to look toward the future. You chose to build on the things you do well and to change the things that hold you back. You chose to put your family’s needs above your own by doing important work on yourself! That is courage.
And by doing that, you have set an amazing example: for your children, for your friends and extended family and for everyone in this room.
Look around – actually turn around and look – this room is full of people who have prayed for you, people who have supported you, people who have believed in you and who celebrate with you today. But none of them could do the work – you had to do that.
And you have done the work. You are walking down a life-long path of discovery and learning…and more hard work….and plenty more weary days. But you will forever be a part of My Safe Harbor as Alumni of the Strong Families Institute. Please stay connected…for you and for us. Together we’re transforming this community and I’m so grateful that you have become a partner in that transformation. You are my heroes.
A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. There is an old Japanese proverb that says: “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” I don’t know how many times you have fallen, but I do know this: you are stronger than ever and no matter what comes your way, you can stand up again. Never forget that and never forget that you are not alone.
I want to share one of my favorite passages of scripture. It became my favorite during those young mother days of mine. It’s from the book of Isaiah, chapter 40, verses 28-31. I’ve added a little twist in the wording, but I don’t think I’ve changed the meaning of the passage:
”Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even [young mothers] grow tired and weary, and [often they] stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Be encouraged today. I’m praying that you will let God be the wind beneath your wings as you soar in the days ahead. Congratulations and all God’s best to you, is my prayer.