August 24, 2010

Soli deo Gloria

Our family started talking about graduation and tossing around ideas way back at this time last year.  We gave Kaitlin the option of being surprised at the service or taking part in the planning.  Always enjoying a good surprise, she opted to take part in the preparations only when necessary.  That left Brianna and I to do the majority of the brainstorming.  We picked the brains of our friends and sought for ideas on the internet.  Once we had a thousand notes we ran everything past Pa and at last, around March, had a solid program to work with.

Brianna was an amazing planner and could make a career out of organizing social events.  I could not have made this day happen without her help.  I am the idea man and she makes it work.  She gave attention to even the smallest of details, such as designing a special font for the programs and making sure everyone had coordinating navy and red outfits (school colors) to wear to the service.  Not to forget the equally important issues like creating a video to be shown during the service and arranging for guest speakers.  When all was said and done, Allen said he can't wait to see what we come up with when the kids start getting married.  Ha!  I didn't take one picture after we left our house to go to the ceremony.  If I could go back in time and take just one, it would be a picture of Brianna dressed in her beautiful suit, zipping around coordinating all the volunteers and speakers prior to the service.  She looked so grown up and official.  But I digress.

In the early planning stages of graduation, we took some time to reflect on what we wanted to convey through our graduation ceremony.  Certainly, we wanted to celebrate the blessings, of hard work and a job well done.  Yet, there was something more important we wanted attendees to come away with. While we are proud of the job our Kaitlin did throughout her school career, and we are well-pleased with the woman she has grown to be, we wanted it to be clear all those accomplishments were not because of what KK did, not because of what we did, but rather because of what God has done.

With this in mind,  Brianna and  I chose the theme Soli deo Gloria, Glory to God Alone, to help us keep the events of the day united on the greatest purpose of our family and home school.  That Latin phrase has been engraved on Kaitlin's class ring, and was included on the invitations, program and diploma.  When Allen requested Kaitlin play a piano piece during the ceremony, she chose a song we had never heard before entitled, "My Tribute."  The lyrics  were the perfect addition to what we hoped to share with others:  This is all about HIM!


My Tribute

by Andrea Crouch

Verse 1
How can I say thanks
For the things You have done for me,
Things so undeserved,
Yet You gave to prove Your love for me.
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude.
All that I am and ever hope to be,
I owe it all to Thee.

Chorus
To God be the glory,
To God be the glory,
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.
With His blood He has saved me,
With His power He has raised me,
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.

Verse 2
Just let me live my life,
Let it be pleasing, Lord, to Thee,
And if I gain any praise,
Let it go to Calvary.
With His blood He has saved me,
With His power He has raised me,
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.

What we didn't know, way back at the beginning of the year, was how profoundly the Lord would emblazon this theme on our hearts not only in the events surrounding graduation, but even more so in the other events which took place in our family that week.  Specifically, I am referring to the loss of baby "Gussie."

Since that day, I have been blessed time and again by those who have shared stories of their own loss with me and the one thing that rings throughout each recollection from these mourning mothers is that they couldn't understand why?  Not that I haven't suffered much grief, but I have been blessed throughout this part of our journey by always knowing the why:  Soli deo Gloria!

When we met with the doctor, heard the diagnosis and realized I would have to undergo surgery, I was glad to know that our planning had paid off and most of the work was already finished.  Just the same, with our miscarriage being only five days before the service and reception, for which we cooked for and served a hundred people at our home, there was much discussion about whether or not we should continue as planned.  After much prayer, the only choice which seemed right, was to go ahead as originally intended and let the Lord control the outcome.  I truly believe He met with us and those many friends and relatives that day.  While it was emotionally draining and physically exhausting, I will always look back on the day with fond memories of seeing how the Lord worked to prove Himself to those who call Him Father and draw those who do not yet know Him as their own.

That entire week preceding, as we faced our loss and tried to come to grips with our emotions, our family focused only on one thing:  we may never understand it, but this will bring glory to our God and we will praise Him for all that He is doing in our lives.  With all that in mind, you wouldn't think it would have shaken us when we saw the correlation between our loss and this ceremony.  Yet, it did.  Oh, we of such little faith!

The afternoon before graduation we went to the church to decorate and make sure everything was in order.  Since it is not a piano she is familiar with, Kaitlin decided to run through her piece.  That's when it hit us.  The Lord had been leading us for nearly nine months and paving the way through this event to bring comfort to us in this time of our loss.  Even when we thought we would be bringing Him glory, He was using it to bless us!  With the first notes of her song, our focus and theme came back to the forefront in a way I will never forget.  Kaitlin could scarcely play through the song and we were both left in tears as the words flooded our hearts and our memories filled with all the ways He had worked in the previous five days.  Kaitlin stumbled through the music the next day, however I don't know if either of us will ever hear that song the same way we did before.  It is an amazing God we serve!  

As you read through these graduation posts and watch the video of the ceremony let these beautiful words echo in your heart!

Soli deo Gloria

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