To My Friends Who are Graduating

I denied it at the beginning of this year. I didn't want to believe it. But now that it's April, I can't get away from it. You're graduating. You're done. You're going off to college and leaving behind the ridiculousness of high school.

Remember when we thought this day would never come? The days of saying, "psh, I don't need to worry about college because that is literally forever away," were replaced with days of saying "omigosh college applications essays SAT ACT why didn't I do this when I was a sophomore???" Suddenly you had to worry about senior pictures and graduation parties and senior trips and senior prom and being old and all that other senior stuff. And you didn't even get cheaper pancakes at IHOP.

When I think back four years, to when you were a freshman and I was in 8th grade (the difference didn't matter because we were homeschooled), it's such a different picture from the one I see when I open my eyes. We tell embarrassing stories from the last few years, barely believing we're the same people who did those stupid things--but at the same time knowing many similar moments will probably happen in the near future.

You're different now than how you were then. You're closer to God, know more about math you'll use on the SAT and then drop forever, and wiser about the people around you. But in so many ways, you're the same. You still stay hilarious things that I'll never let you live down, and you still bring up that time (or twenty) I made a fool of myself in front of the boy I liked.

I know you're not sure whether or not you can handle what's ahead of you, but I also know who's going with you. No, I'm not going to get in your suitcase and go off with you to college. Although if you're down for that I'm totally down for that.

Anyway. I know you can take on the future because you're not doing it alone. God will work through your life in ways you can't dream of. Even if you don't go where you expect, the Lord knows exactly where you are and He's going to use each and every situation to grow you.

On top of that, God has put people in your life to encourage you, challenge you, and be there for you (like me hi). Don't be afraid to turn to those people when you need to, because they want to be there for you (again like me hello). Don't push people away because you think you have to be all independent now. Because you don't. You still need others, and you always will.

When you're afraid of losing your friends to time and distance, trust that God will preserve the relationships you need. And remember, you'll always have your family. When you think of a friend you haven't talked to in awhile, shoot them a text. I promise, it won't be an annoyance (unless they're at church and haven't turned their ringer off but that's not your fault).

When you come back home for breaks, spend time with family and old friends. Tell them your crazy stories and your awesome stories. When you go back to school that Monday, tell your new friends stories about your weirdo friends from high school.

Tell your friends that you're grateful for their friendship. Because you are. Send your old debate partner a text. Hand write a letter to that girl who was so encouraging to you these last few years. Tell your best friends how proud of them you are. Speaking of...

I'm proud of you. I'm proud of the person you've become and are becoming. Your love for God and for others is humbling to me.

Thank you for being my friend, for years and months and days. Thanks for telling me what I needed to hear. Thanks for listening to my stories for the tenth time. Thanks for laughing at the dumb stuff I say. Thanks for saying dumb things so I feel less dumb when I say dumb things.

You're graduating, and that's what's up. I'll bring the tissues.


ps. if you need me I'll be crying in the bathroom because you're graduaattinnng D: D: