The day dawned beautifully promising hope. Sienna had reason to be excited! She had worked hard for this day harder than most of her classmates. Her family and friends were by her side her best friend graduating with her. Today was the start of something new and big, she was not going to let the monsters of her past dictate her future and longer!
Sienna had made it to this day by the grace of God! The monsters were no longer part of her life! She would not be defined by either what happened to her as a child or the bullet that left her a paraplegic! She was Sienna a child of God first and foremost she had a mother who loved her unconditionally and sister that she cherished a best friend that had been there with her from the beginning of their friendship!
Dear Lord thank you for getting me this far I know I cannot make it without you! You promise help for those who believe and you have helped me in remarkable ways. I could never understand those who say there is no God because all they have to do is look around and see his hand evident your hand evident in the world around them. You are remarkable and amazing I owe you praise daily. I know sometimes I fail but you have never failed me.
The excitement in the air was tangible! Graduation day 12 years of hard work marked the closing of the chapter but the opening of a new life. Soon Sienna and her friends would be going to college and opening a new chapter. Today was the day of joy and excitement not to be marred by darkness or bad memories.
"I can't believe we have made it this far! I was wondering if this day would ever get here. But it came faster than I thought possible!" Meredith told Sienna as they got ready for the biggest night of their lives to date.
"I know, I really did not know if I was going to make it to graduate with the class, but I am so glad I did."
"You worked hard, harder than anyone I know, so I am not going to say I'm surprised because I knew you would make it."
Sienna had chosen a beautiful summer dress, to wear under her cap and gown. Her shoes were sensible no more high heels for her but to be honest that wasn't something she could say she could live without. She had much more important things on her mind than footwear. She had worked very hard to get where she is.
The nightmares had lessened in the past few weeks Sienna took it as a sign that God was going to bless her in the days to come. She was no longer going to let this man and his actions control her. She had so much positive going for her it made no sense to dwell on negative.
Sienna opened her Bible taken the time to give the Lord a moment of her big day. Actually she knew she owed it all to the Lord.
She chose Psalm 14 for today
For the director of music. Of David.
1 The fool[a] says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
2 The LORD looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
4 Do all these evildoers know nothing?
They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the LORD.
5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
for God is present in the company of the righteous.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
but the LORD is their refuge.
7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad! S.
The Psalm wasn't a long one but it fit for today. The words spoken to her heart were powerful and full of hope of course the Lord was a God of hope. She could never understand how people went through life without the Lord without hope. The world is a dark place but Sienna knew that there was hope in the Lord. She owed her very life to his grace. Going through life without the Lord was not an option for her and never would be. Even in her darkest moments she knew that the Lord’s light would shine through and illuminate darkness.
The nightmares thanks to God were far less frequent perhaps it was because her mind was so focused on what was happening. It was by God’s grace she had made it this far and she understood that. There were many things she did not understand, but she had never really questioned God’s grace.
Sienna’s mother was very proud of her daughter and all she had accomplished. Despite missing much of the beginning of the year her GPA remained so high that she was still valedictorian of her class. She had come so far and worked so hard and everyone was proud of her.
"I don't know how you manage to miss so much school and still become valedictorian!"
"But for the grace of God there go I."
Meredith wasn't doing so bad herself. Either girl could have gotten into nearly any college they wanted. But since Sienna had been shot they both decided it would be best to go to a local college. A four-year university was nearby and it was a good school so they chose that. Sienna did not want to be separated from her mom and sister and her dance teacher was still here. She was making good progress with her dancing proving that being a paraplegic did not have to mean the end. She was going to continue to dance and praise the Lord doing so.
Her dreams had not died with the bullet. She was going to dance and she was going to be a missionary even if it was locally. Sienna had been taught from a tender age that the mission field often started in your own backyard. One day she would travel the world and share the gospel but for now she was going to enjoy life and faith she had had embrace what God had to give her and had already given her. Graduation was a time to reflect on these gifts and how far the Lord had taken her. She knew she owed so much to the Lord.
The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
A Mother’s Request
20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21 “What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Two Blind Men Receive Sight
29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
As Sienna reflected on all Christ had done for her something as simple as high school graduation paled in comparison. The Lord still rejoiced in his children and their joys. It did not matter how great or how small he rejoiced. The Lord rewarded those who served him and now as Sienna made her way to give her speech and receive her diploma she felt the Lord embracing her.
We are embarking on a journey that is just beginning but a journey that will no doubt bring us joy and sorrow along the way we have made it this far by the grace of God. We have prepared this journey long and hard and we are going to continue on this journey hopefully led by the Lord.
This journey is not always going to be easy but nobody said it was supposed to be we are not always promised the easy road but life would be boring if we just breezed through it without any challenges. In the end challenges are what makes us stronger and better people. I have endured challenges in my 17 years that have helped make me the person I am.
Most of you know what happened to me over the past summer. You do not survive something like that without taking the time to praise the Lord at least I know I did not. We can go through life not taking the time to look at our victories and realize it takes strength and courage to overcome and move on.
I want each one of us, who is graduating to look at how far we have come and yet realize we are just beginning. The victories we have experienced will follow us and teach us as we grow into productive adults.
Sienna had made everyone proud. She had come so far in her journey, yet she was far from being to the end of her destination. There was a lot she still had to overcome things she did not like to focus on but for the sake of others she was going to start speaking out to make sure that the man who hurt her never hurt anyone else.