For Clarke. Upon leaving for college

Today is the day. It is finally here and as you leave for college…………… there are approximately 7,648,322 things I want you to know. However these 15 I pray continually you will never forget.
1 – I will always love you. As in, you can’t get de-loved in this house — or in this life. Love isn’t earned; it is freely given. Agape love.

2 – You are brave. I love how you think big and believe in doing justice and how you believe every single one can make a difference. And you’re absolutely right. They can. They do!

3 – You are enough. The world will tell you there’s something better for your life — if you try harder, get cuter, make the Honor Roll, shrink into a smaller pair of jeans. You’ll face really big “Not Enoughs” in this life. These Not-Enoughs are fierce and stubborn. Be stubborn-er. Let’s show those “not enoughs” how big our brave is – and how big our God is. We’ve had enough of the not-enoughs.

4 – No one in this world is ever too far from grace. Remember that truth, when you want to write someone off. Remember it, when that “someone” is looking at you in the mirror.

5 – Take good notes. Keep a prayer journal. Tell your diary how you’re mad at the world, and how you’re mad at me. Fold up love letters in actual envelopes. Pen some really bad poetry and hand-write letters.

6 – You will want to give up. Don’t. There are worse things in life than failing. First on the list: Not trying. Important lessons are learned when things don’t turn out the way you hoped. As brave as you are, failure might make you even braver.

7 – It really is all about Jesus. Someone might say this one should be first on the list. But it is saved it for the middle. Why? Because that’s where you’ll need to remember it most–when you’re smack-dab in the middle. In the middle of life,
of the valley,
of the struggle,
of the dark,
in the middle of your crumb-covered kitchen floor
while you’re on your knees
begging for the good grace of God
to rescue you.
It’s all about Jesus – in the middle is where you need Him most. You will never regret it.

8 – Love people just as they are, not as you wish them to be. Not everyone believes that “it is all about Jesus.” Love them anyway.

9 – Revelations will freak you out. Keep reading. see #8.

10 – Always leave an empty seat at the table. Everyone wants to know they belong. Let them know they do. Keep a chair open at the table. There are a lot of love-hungry people in the world, left out of ever-tightening circles, and they just want to know that they matter to God, and that they matter to people. Be the kind of person who lets them know they do.

11 – Remember, I’m always here. You had no trouble letting me know that you needed me at 3 a.m. when you were my baby. Why change things up now? Look, you’ll always be my baby.

12 — Go to church. Yes, some of the people there will annoy you. But guess what? You will annoy some of the people there. Go anyway. It’s a crazy system, but you’ll find some of your best friends there. And they’ll be the ones at your kids’ weddings. And depending on how things turn out, they will be at your very own funeral.

13 – Be nice to old people. I say this somewhat selfishly, because I’m going to be an old person someday, God-willing. And come to think of it, so will you.

14 – Live outside of your comfort zone. That’s where a lot of really cool stuff happens. And you are cool people. I’d hate for you to miss out.

15 – It’s good to come home. We will forever love your texts and Facebook messages and phone calls and letters that we begged you for (see No. 5), but we will never tire of your sweet cheeks and your hugs and the way you make fun of us in the most endearing ways possible. We’ll be waiting in the drive. As in, hours before your headlights show up in the driveway.

As long as I live, I’ll be waiting in the drive for you… I Love you, Mama



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