With commencement celebrations around the corner, my husband and I have received our first wave of graduation cards. Senior smiles and hopeful eyes of each photo lead me to imagine the hardship they’ve endured over the last eighteen months. Pandemic aside, I see a glimmer in their eyes. They are ready to step into the world.
We place every smiling-senior-announcement on the refrigerator and pray for each one each time we pass by. Sometimes it’s a quick one-sentence prayer, other times it’s a solid pause (even with the fridge door wide open) to intentionally pray for that student. Those moments of prayer take me back to when I was their age, wonderfully naïve and feeling on top of the world, nervous with the unknown yet excited that I was finally entering adulthood.
When it was my turn to walk the stage, I remember with the send–off of each graduation card in return a congratulatory card and gift returned. I treasured most the tangible, heart-felt gifts. Devotional books that brought me back to Jesus on my lowest nights in college, jewelry that reminded me of Christ’s love for me as I faced a daunting day, a blanket that smelled like home when pulling another all-nighter…
Let’s face it, learning to “adult” is hard. And what an incredible opportunity we, as “experienced” adults, to love on our seniors with a gift that is life-giving in learning-moments.
Here’s a few favorite ideas:
1. A Bible with verses highlighted.
This can be a DIY that your whole family or church body can participate in, or it can be something already made, like our Sanctuary in the Psalms (available through your Consultant).
If you choose to DIY, take some time finding your favorite verses and highlighting them (make sure the pages of the Bible are thick enough not to bleed through). If the Bible has margins and you have the time, write a note of why you picked that verse.
2. Wearable reminders of Jesus
Sometimes a simple word or phrase can be the pick-me-up needed on a hard day. If your graduate is a jewelry-lover, we adore how the right bracelet or necklace can be a soft reminder of God’s ever presence, even on the hard days.
Need we say more! With the late nights ahead, whether from college or working hard at a new job, I a collection of Scripture-engraved mugs with bags of tea/coffee, or a gift card to a local coffee shop inside is more than welcomed. Bonus points if you give them a mug rack to display them all in style. Those daily reminders of Jesus will become etched in their hearts with every sip.
4. Encouraging notes
It is always helpful to have an encouraging note-on-demand for a bad moment, day, or week. I still have all the notes my Bible study leader wrote me in middle school, and I reference them when I feel blue! Think about getting a small box of encouraging notes, either DIY or already made, and gift it with your graduation card.
Whether we take the extra step in our gift or not, the biggest thing we can do for any of our seniors is pray. Pray for their next steps, for courage as they learn, for peace in God’s will for their life. May we commit to be spiritual warriors for them as they prepare to lead the next generation of God’s kingdom.