102_1587When you’re involved in something that lasts a long time, it’s easy to think it will never end.  Such is the case with homeschooling.  I’ve been teaching my kids for over a decade, and since that’s just the norm around my house, it’s easy to think I’ll be doing it forever.  But, things do change, as our family will learn this Friday night.  As Ryan graduates from high school, it marks the end of not only his school days, but my job as his teacher as well.  We’ve been on this educational journey a long time together and watching him complete it is exciting on one front, but it’s also a little hard for a mom to step back from her job and watch her son enters a new phase of life.

Class of 2013  Paragon Academy
Class of 2013
Paragon Academy

As I finished submitting his grades and attendance records this week, I couldn’t help but think about high school in general.  A lot of teenagers don’t realize the transitory nature of the bubble in which they’ve been living, and consequently they put way too much emphasis on their school days without realizing there’s so much more ahead of them.  While the things they do during this brief time are extremely important, high school is really only a launching pad that will propel them into the most significant years of their lives.  Those of us who graduated long ago would be quick to advise younger teens to avoid placing emphasis on the wrong things that lead to foolish decisions which could corrupt the trajectory of their journey long after high school is over.

You know, I imagine there are many saints who have gone ahead who would give the same advice to us today.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, 
set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
~Colossians 3:1-2

Just before the end of classes, Ryan showed me a section in his calculus book on limit theorems that used math formulas to illustrate a spiritual truth.  Now for everyone (like me) who has no idea what a limit theorem is and really has no interest in learning about it (again, me), I’ll try to summarize the concept without all the math formulas.  The idea is this:  If you lived 90 years and there was no life after death, your existence would be 100% on this planet.  If you lived 90 years on earth, and eternity also consisted of another 90 years, your life here would be 50% of your existence.  If life after death were 810 years, life here would only equal 10% of your total existence.  But, if, as the Bible teaches, eternity is infinite, then against that backdrop, your ninety years of life become an almost an immeasurably small length of time.

While most anyone who’s ever been to church knows this truth, few of us really behave like it’s really the case.  We tend to live out our days like short-sighted teenagers who can only see as far as the next Friday night football game and make decisions based on things as insignificant as the senior prom.  I’m not saying those things don’t matter at all.  There’s nothing like a good football game, and what girl doesn’t like to buy a fancy dress to go to a party?  But in perspective, most of the activities of high school pale in comparison to life decisions that will be made at 30, 40, 50 and beyond.

Believers also need to keep emphasis on what’s ahead if we’re to make wise, God-honoring decisions in the time we have been given on this earth.  While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life and investing in family and friends, we must be sure that we don’t let our earthly pursuits obscure our real future that will either be lived in, or cast out of, the presence of God.  Scripture indicates our eternity is determined by the life we live now, so making a connection with the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, is paramount.  But it’s not enough to stop there, wise investments of our time and resources in kingdom-focused endeavors should be our driving force.  Ninety years seems like a long time, but even that much time slips away more quickly than we realize, so we need to regularly rethink the focus of our existence, and if necessary, set aside distractions that could keep us from graduating into glory with honors.


4 thoughts on “Graduate!

  1. Dawna Thomas says:

    Karen, my sister enjoys your work so much and now I see why. Brilliant! We are seeing our first graduate Saturday and it is a wild and wonderful transition time into releasing him into his future and reevaluating how my job changes. I pray this graduation is just as you said, a launching pad. But more importantly, just another opportunity to recalibrate his spiritual trajectory towards honoring God and bringing him glory with his “brief” earthly existence.

    1. Karen Woodall says:

      Beautiful post, Dawna! It’s my sentiment toward my children exactly! Congratulations to your family this Saturday!
      PS Glad to have you reading!!

  2. Rachel says:

    I always thought I had a good understanding/appreciation of the equation of physical life & eternal life, but this is powerful. Sobering. As usual, well done.

    1. Karen Woodall says:

      Glad you were impacted! It’s a perspective that we all need to take seriously.


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