Graduation Reflections of a Father

Posted: June 4, 2015 
Filed under: Amelia, Deep Thoughts with Pastor Jeff, Denton Family, Jeff, Parenting, Pastor Jeff, Pictures, Spiritual
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The following is a column published in The Wylie News on June 4, 2015. Written by Jeff Denton.

There is much excitement at our house this week because we’re celebrating a graduate. Our daughter, Amelia, is graduating from Wylie East High School. We’ve been sitting through award ceremonies, dinners, speeches, and picture videos the past few weeks to prepare us for this day. It’s going to arrive whether we’re ready or not!

I’ve gotten the standard question: Where is your daughter going to school next fall? My answer seems to elicit more questions. That’s because my daughter is headed to school in Europe. Specifically, she’s headed to WOL Élet Szava Bibliaiskola in Hungary.

Many parents seem sympathetic and question whether I’m actually willing to let her go so far away. The truth is, yes, I am good with it. In fact, when she approached her mother and I with the option of applying to the school, I shocked them both by immediately saying I was good with her applying.


First, at what other stage of life are you free enough to pack up and go live in another country for a few years? Sure, it could be dangerous. Living in Austin or Denton can also be dangerous. Common sense goes a long way in keeping us safe wherever we go.


Second, I’ve always said I want my kids to follow God wherever He leads them. So, we applied reason, considered the options, looked at finances, checked to see what doors would open and close, and prayed about it together. All the doors opened to how she believed God was leading her. Who am I to jump in the way?


At the end of the day, it comes down to whether I believe what I so often preach. Is God able to provide for where He leads you to go? Is He faithful to you on the journey when He asks you to step out in faith? Does God know better than an earthly father?


The benediction near the end of the New Testament book of Hebrews says, “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)


This benediction lets us know a couple things. First, if God’s power is big enough to conquer death, then He can handle my issues. Heath, relationships, new jobs, homesickness, the unknown are all small potatoes compared to DEAD. If God can fix DEAD, He can handle whatever my issues are.


Second, God’s power is available for a couple purposes according to verse 21. He is equipping me and working in me. So, He’s working through life circumstances to get me ready for something. That something, in verse 21, is to do God’s will or what pleases Him.


It’s easy to say I trust God. It’s easy to say I believe God loves my daughter even more than I do. It’s easy to tell other people trust what God is doing in and through your child. It only matters if I’m willing to trust Him myself. He has supplied the power, but it’s up to me to apply it to my life. Just as it’s up to my daughter to take the next steps of adventure in her life.


It’s an interesting change in life to move from giving your child absolute direction to getting out of his or her way to let them choose their own paths. But, it applies to each of us. We have to determine if we are willing to trust the path God has for us. Do we trust Him enough to take the next step of faith on the journey as He leads?


You’ll only find God’s path for your life if you’re willing to take a step of faith once in a while. My role as a father is to encourage my daughter to be faithful to God and follow Him wherever He leads. And to provide a safe place to return if you ever find yourself lost on the journey.


The parental journey of trust runs in tandem with your child’s journey of learning to trust God. Sometimes the parent has to demonstrate the faith needed by your child so they learn how to trust God on their new and unknown journey. It’s part of seeing them grow up.


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