Photo Courtesy of Scott Kirk Photography

Thursday, June 2, 2011


A few weeks ago, I was pondering what I would say to the Class of 2011 at their Baccalaureate Service.  And this is what I said...

Thank you for allowing me to speak to you tonight.  This is a privilege because I get to share something personal to me and that is my faith.  Whenever one writes, what is the magic number of things one should write about—that’s right—three.  So tonight I have three G things that I want to speak to you about.  They are guilt, grace, and God.

Guilt is a major part of my life.  I feel guilt about what I eat or what I don’t eat.  I feel guilt that I don’t exercise enough.  I feel guilt that I don’t use the time in my life as well as I might.  I feel guilt because I don’t spend enough time with my parents.  I feel guilt…And because I feel guilt, Satan uses that against me all the time.  He is so good about putting the “What ifs” into my brain.  He did that very well the days following June 7th.  After Andrew’s death I felt guilty about how tough I was on him.  I knew he had a gentle heart and soul, but yet I still pushed, pushed, pushed.  I felt guilty that I hadn’t realized just how sad he really was.  I’ve been around kids a lot in my life.  One would think I would be able to know the depth of my own son’s sadness.  I felt guilty because on the day my son died, I was spending time with you—celebrating the next step of your life—helping you decide things about your graduation. However, I want you to know that Satan was just using all those “what ifs” to weaken my faith, to weaken my resolve to live a life in Christ.  Just as he used Andrew’s sadness and confusion about his life to create one fragile moment for him, he tried to put all of those aspects of my guilt into my head and to take me away from God.  But you know what?  All of those things of which I felt so keenly did not weaken my faith.  They did not take me away from my relationship with God.  And you know why?  It’s because of God’s grace.

Grace is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b: a virtue coming from God c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.  It is the gift of God’s grace that allows me to continue living a life without Andrew.  Andrew took his life, he did not take mine.  And even with all of the stuff Satan keeps putting in my brain via my guilt, I find unmerited divine assistance given to me for my regeneration and my sanctification.  Regeneration is a spiritual renewal or revival.    Sanctification is a blessing.  One may ask, “How can the death of your son be a spiritual renewal or revival of your life, of your faith in God?  How can the death of your son be a blessing?”  I don’t know how it has happened, but it has happened.  My spiritual life is stronger, it is purer.  Blessings have happened in our family because of Andrew’s death.  And all of this is because of God’s grace.  It is a gift I have not earned, yet it has been given to me.

So this brings me to my third and final G—God.  No matter what manner you may choose to worship, there is God in the middle of it.  For some, their god may have a lower case g, but my God has a capital letter G.  He is the center of my life. 

Do you believe in God?  I do.  How can we live in this area of the world and not know that God exists?  How can we look at you and not know God exists?  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” And Matthew 25:20 says, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

During the year prior to Andrew’s death I questioned organized religion. I saw so many people claiming to be Christians who were very un-Christ like. They were full of pride and self, rather than God. But I must remember that God is not religion--God is God. He is powerful.

He is:
• the light of the world.
• compassionate.
• the Lord who heals you.
• will strengthen you.
• the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
• is merciful
• the Lord, the God of all mankind.

So guilt, grace, and God.  These are the three gs that are a part of who I am as a person, who I am as a Christian.  Tonight I leave you with this profession of my faith.

I am a Christian.  I was created for the glory of God.  My life was paid with the blood of Christ on a cross created for a criminal.  I am the daughter of a King.  I am a Christian.

I am a Christian.  I stand on the shoulders of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: of Deborah, Ruth, and the Marys.  I have known success in my faith and I have known doubt.  I have known unbelievable joy and I have known unbearable sorrow.  I have been tested by the Tempter and I tell you that he has been vanquished --I am a Christian.

I am a Christian.  Tonight I share with you the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I tell you he was born of a virgin, lived on this earth as a man; he was crucified as a criminal, was buried and on the third day rose from the dead. He ascended to Heaven where He stands beside my son and where they await my arrival someday.   I tell you there is a God and He loves you and He loves me.  I tell you God’s grace is available to all.  Grace is a gift…the most precious gift you will ever be given.  I am a Christian.

Know tonight, as we leave this building, there is hope for all who seek Him.  "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  ~Matthew 7:7

I love you all.  Blessings~

I am honored that the kids allowed me to speak to them.  It is the first time I have spoken about Andrew's death to anyone except family and close friends.  It wasn't easy, but I'm glad I got the chance to share this.  It was a special service for a special group of kids.

As June 7th comes around for the first anniversary of Andrew's death, please pray for Bill and me, for all of our family.  It is hard to live a life without Andrew in it.  I miss him so much that some days I really don't want to get out of bed.  But I do and I make it through the day.  It's just that the days aren't as bright as they used to be. 

Congratulations Class of 2011.  I'm going to miss you.

~Andrew's Mom

1 comment:

  1. Roseann, you gave those kids a great gift. Great job good and faithful servant. I know it must have been difficult, but way to bring it sister. I think Andrew is really proud of his mama right now.