In this season of finishing up, of moving on, of celebrations and endings, a blessing for those whose service and work is coming to an end.
For the teacher, you have given much with your time, your energy, your insight, your creativity. You have listened and spoken and shaped. If you are weary, may you be strengthened. If you are discouraged, may you find peace. If you are asking questions without easy answers, may you discover a peace beyond your ability to understand. You have done well, not because your work has been perfect but because you have continued to show up – even when it was hard, dark, and impossible. May you be lifted with the courage to show up again.
For the graduate, whether you are transitioning from one classroom to another or from classroom to workplace, may you ever be a student of life, of people, and of the world around you. May your apprehension of the future melt into hope. May you make your choices from a place of truth and confidence, not from the shaky ground of fear. May you not be overwhelmed by too many options or underwhelmed by the lack of them. May you know your Father sees you and knows what you need.
For the parent, though your job is never finished, though you won’t get closure on the work you do or the love your pour out, may you breathe in a deep sigh of relief as you have kept kind company with your children through another year of their life transitions – through another school grade, from student to graduate, from single to married, from childless to expecting, from married to widow. As you watch and walk with them, may you be lifted in your spirit as you see them grow, trusting the details of their future to a known God. May you be one who receives the gifts your Father offers you in secret so that you may turn and offer those gifts to your children – the gift of love, the gift of presence, the gift of hope.
For the artist, the hardest part of your job is knowing when it’s finished. May you finally release your work with confidence even though you know there is more you could have done. May you reject the temptation to wait for qualification, certification, permission or perfection, working instead from your smallness, your weakness, and your pain. Let yourself be human, as it’s your humanity that touches the soul, not your expertise.
For the coach, you have led your team to some victories and through some losses, but the greatest win is the vision you cast for their future. You have taught them not to give up, to always support each other, and to work hard even if the results aren’t what they hope for.
For the performer as you finally debut your hard work on the stage, may you remember to always be who you really are and not who they think you are. May you have a strong sense of yourself as one who is grounded in Christ even as you may question your ability, your debut, or your final performance. May you celebrate the accomplishments of others in the spotlight even as you gracefully receive their support of you.
For the traveler as you finish up your time in one place and prepare to move on to another, may the road before you reveal her holy secrets even as you treasure up the stories from your past. May you walk with sure feet and steady gaze to tomorrow even as you hold the memory gifts from yesterday. May you move forward with confidence, courage, and peace, knowing you will never walk alone.
For the youth leader as you watch another group of students leave your ministry, as you face a summer filled with activities and plans, may you find a quiet place within you and hear the voice of the One who has gone before you, whispering well-done words you may never hear from those who have been in your care. You have walked the hard roads with our students, roads their parents may know nothing about. You are on the relational front-lines and your work is important.
For all the brave and weary finishers, may you remember to celebrate the endings even if they aren’t what you hoped for, knowing this isn’t truly the end of the story this part of your life is telling but simply a continuation. May you find the time to receive the rest you need so that you may have the courage and energy to move on.
And may grace surprise you kindly along the way.Leave a Comment
Bev Brandon @A String of Pearls says
Thank you Emily. Words are so powerful and sink to those spaces so needed. I am a high school teacher with my own college graduate and a childless daughter expecting her first baby. So your first three made me sigh in surreal surrender to the One we so love. The LORD is at our right hand and that’s just unbelievable. Psalm 109:27. Thank you so much for your kind words aimed smack dab at where we embrace places of both hurt and happiness. School ended today—it’s been one of my hardest years yet. Your post is appreciated! Psalm 50:2 – Perfect in Beauty is the God Who pours out of you.
emily p freeman says
Well. It sounds like this post was written especially for you. I love that so much.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
As a mom of “grown” children, I take heart that this is not the end of the story but Instead, as you say, a “continuation”. I pray and wait and hope…always hope…that God is not finished with them yet,that He is not finished with me yet. He is more interested in our character than about happy endings. And so, I press on and look expectantly for what He is going to do in all our lives. Looking forward to blessings upon finishing… Thanks for a wonderful post!
emily p freeman says
I love that you put “grown” in quotes. 🙂
Thanks for reading, Bev.
Beautiful encouragement as always Emily! Thank you 🙂
emily p freeman says
You’re welcome, Janet. Thanks for reading.
Oh, Emily … these benedictions. Sending us forward, even as we look behind. Hope for redemption of the past fiascos and sparkling opportunities ahead.
And refocusing our eyes on the One who led us step by step and is not finished with His work.
Grateful for these prayers, for you …
emily p freeman says
Past fiascos and sparkling opportunities…love those words.
Beautiful thoughts, Emily. Thank you!
Holly Barrett says
Beautiful post, Emily! Sharing with all my friends who are finishers in this season!
You expressed this beautifully and as a parent of a son who is graduating next month I could n’t be happier for him.It’s not the end of the story but the beginning of a new chapter.And with that story there have been many who have helped along the way………I am grateful for the role they have played in it.
Thank-you so much for this post this morning…
emily p freeman says
You’re welcome Penny. All the best as you continue on to the next chapter…
Susan Stilwell says
Encouraging words as always, Emily.
Lisa Petrarca says
Thank you for covering all the places of my heart with a blessing. Have a wonderful Memorial Day. May The Lord continue to bless you with the words to bless others.
Donna Attaway says
God has truly blessed you with the ability to write beautiful words that bless and encourage … Thank you
Katie Reid says
Thank you Emily- a deep, weighty, grateful kind of thanks. From a teacher, artist, performer who is married to a youth minister.:)
i. needed. this.
Kathy @ In Quiet Places says
Thank you for casting such a wide net of encouragement today, Emily!
Endings are a part of life, but I struggle with them. Seeing a granddaughter graduate from kindergarten releases all kinds of emotions. But the new beginnings are exciting, too. God always has something new and exciting when one chapter is over. What a blessing your post was to read today!
Cynthia McCarthy says
I recently brought my God daughter into Barnes and Noble in Greensboro to pick out a book for herself.
Being an avid reader myself I prayed To God to lead me to the right book and came home with “A million little ways”. I read it quickly as I knew it was part of my plan and was so inspiring and healing. I plan to read it again but for now I am putting first things first.
I returned to Durham Barnes and Noble a few days ago and purchased “Grace for the Good Girl” for one of my daughters as I thought your writing style would capture her attention.
After reading I went on your website and blog for the first time. Tonite I went to see “Moms Night Out” and noticed your blog on there!
I feel blessed for having come upon your writings and know they will bear fruit. One of my favorite authors Henri Nouwen wrote “My hope is that the description of Gods love in my life will inspire you to find your own”. I am certain you are inspiring many with your writing and influencing a new generation in Henri’s and other great writers footsteps. God bless you and I look forward to reading more of your writings in the future and hopefully attending one of your events.
Sincerely and in
I resonate deeply with your words to the traveler as we are in a period of transition. To carry our memories and look hopefully forward..thank you for those words and images.
Marisa Slusarcyk says
Beautiful words of encouragement! Thank you!
Beth WIlliams says
Beautiful encouragement. Thanks for encouraging all the “finishers” and next steppers. Your writing is always encouraging.
Lynn Richards says
I have just finished quite the roller coaster week wondering and crying out to our God, “WHAT IS NEXT?? CAUSE I HAVEN’T A CLUE” (http://alittlebluesky.blogspot.com/2014/05/friday-ramblings-graduation-begins-with.html)
Thank you for your words that bring the balm of healing and encouragement. What a gift you have.
I just graduated from college on Saturday. The words for the graduate, the artist, and the traveler were just right. Thanks for getting it.
Love this! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
I have to teenage sons one a freshman and one who is in tenth grade. He is in special education class. I just got my cerfition for women and evangelim for a woman with a heart for evangelism from the institute of evangelism of Billy Graham Center. I am getting ready to start a online Christian writing course. I am very proud of both of my sons they both passed this year. I am keeping my eyes focus on God everyday for my sons and me and my husband
Thank you Emily for such words of encouragement. I am not a teacher of education, but I am a teacher in/ of life to a certain degree, to God the Father be the glory. The words that you penned have spoken and penetrated my heart to its very depth. Words that I needed to hear and receive them because they have mended some of the tiny cracks. I love the Lord Jesus and I thank Him for you my Sister. You are truly a blessing. May God continue to richly bless you.
Thank you for putting words to my prayer…I truly couldn’t find the right words. You are a blessing.
Virgian Hughes says
Emily you are a blessing and a wonderful encourager. Thank you for your thoughts expresses the sentiments of my spirit to our finishers.
I reposted to my FB page as I thank Our Father for your heart for others.
Bola& Deborah Osikoya says
Dear Emily, We are a couple. Your message of encouragement came into our hearts to renew our strength to surmount the mountains ahead. We are parents of adult children in their various families and we do realize, we are still students in the school of life, taking lessons to help us graduate in His time. May The Lord continue to encourage & strengthen you in this great work in Jesus name. God bless you richly.
I receive newsletter from daysprings and blessing of finishers was one of the most recent post. This is truly inspiring. This year I don’t have a child graduating but I do celebrate with the many graduates at my church and my friends whose children are graduating.. This post on the finishers was truly inspirational. The one to the youth leader and the performer were really touching .
May God continue to bless you Emily as you minister.
Maxine Taylor says
Very touching and inspirational. Uplifting words from the heart. Thanks for the morning ministry!
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