Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

To My 2020 Graduate

My precious middle child,

Have I told you how much you are loved? I know you say you are the invisible middle child, but I pray you know how much you are truly loved.

Your sister is graduating this week. As always when your child graduates, there's an extreme mixture of emotions. Pride. Excitement. Sadness. Anxiety. It's such a strange mixture that has left me in tears for much of the week. I can't even imagine what it will be like when she moves to college in a couple of months.

But do you know what I didn't expect? I didn't expect the grief I am experiencing over your graduation--or lack thereof. Yes, you are the class of 2020.

The class whose senior year was cut short.

The class that didn't get a graduation.

The class that missed all of those end of the year milestones and activities.

I don't know how you feel about it. You are a male and don't seem to care a whole lot about what happened--or at least that's what you portray to the world.

But can I tell you that my heart breaks every time I attend one of your sister's activities?

I don't think I realized how much we missed at the time. The world was in chaos, and we were all just trying to figure out what each day held. I didn't realize we missed the senior awards banquet. Your senior FFA banquet. The senior prank. The senior walk. The senior breakfast. The senior everything.

I didn't realize how much we missed until I started walking through your sister's senior year. Now, as I celebrate with her, I mourn over all you missed.

You know what's amazing, though? YOU! You are resilient and strong. You are an overcomer. You have dealt with so much in your short life, and I am one proud mom of the young man you have become!

In the midst of the chaos of 2020, I never wrote you a graduation letter. I guess it's better late than never--kind of like your graduation. As I've watched you work and grow over these last two years, here's what I want you to know.

Greater is He that is in you. As you know, this life often brings the unexpected. I know your life has not been easy. You've suffered more trauma in your 20 years than any child should face. But, I love to watch as you rise up and face this life head on with all the passion and gusto God poured into you from the day you were born!

I pray you always remember that nothing this world throws at you can defeat the One who made you! His power is at work within you (Ephesians 3:20), and there is nothing you can't overcome with God by your side.

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world1 John 4:4

He is holding you in the palm of His hand. I know it sometimes seems as if God has abandoned you, left you to figure out this life on your own. Oh, my sweet son! That couldn't be further from the truth! He is with you, holding you tight, protecting you even when it seems you've been abandoned.

Do you remember that time we went to Universal Studios and you got separated from us? Do you remember how I called your name over and over, the tears streaming down my face as I searched the sea of people for your 7-year-old face? Do you remember the sweet family who spoke no English but looked for you as if you were their own? Do you remember the joy we all felt when we were finally reunited?

You may not see it right now. You may not feel it. But I assure you, just as that family went out looking for you, your Heavenly Father is in the business of seeking those in need. He has never left you. He never will. No matter what life throws at you, He has you securely in the palm of His hand.

He is your strength in the midst of the storm. You have chosen to devote your life to others, to serve as a firefighter. Even in the last two years, you have seen and experienced things that I can't even start to imagine.

There is no fire too hot, no car accident too severe to overcome the strength of your God! No matter what storm you face, turn to Him to get you through. Let Him be your strength. Let Him be your joy. Let Him be your guide. You will never go wrong by letting Him guide your steps.

My son, I grieve over what we missed--but it does not define you! It simply proves that you are an overcomer! I am so proud of who you are, of who you are becoming. I love you!