“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.” –Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Ugh! This does not look good. As my children are asleep in their beds, they are completely unaware that I am totally stressing out. I mean, I just found out that I’m going to be getting a divorce, and I don’t have a job. On top of that, I don’t have any savings in my bank account, and to make matters even worse than that, I don’t have a college education. Needless to say, the pickens were slim in the job arena for me. I would look and look through the classifieds to try to find some miracle job out there that would take me with my high school diploma, allow me to have a flexible schedule (heck, maybe even work from home!), and pay me a 6 figure salary. Yeah, I know, I know…those kind of jobs don’t exists. It was becoming glaring clear that if I didn’t want to work numerous small jobs to make ends meet, I was going to have to go and get my degree. Geez! Anything else would have seemed better to me than that. I wasn’t the best student in high school, but most of that was because I was too social….I promise! I did have a “lost” semester in college right out of high school, but it’s called the “lost” semester for a reason. But, in reality, I just didn’t love school. Now, I’m going to be the old one in the classes. The single mom divorcee with 2 kids taking English 101. Yep, that’s me!

Going back to college this time was a completely different experience. I had a goal. I wasn’t there to meet new people, or even have a good time. I was there to be able to acquire the skills that would give my children opportunities….because, right now, we didn’t have any opportunities knocking on our door. I took the most classes I could possibly take each semester, and I went through the summers, too. Most days, I was awake before the sunrise, and after I put the children to bed, I was working on my homework. There were times when I was invited to go to places that I couldn’t go, or I had to miss something at the kid’s school because I was taking classes. The children would want attention, and I had a deadline for a project or paper, and I felt torn in a million different directions. It really was a difficult time. However, I kept that goal in the forefront of my mind. It took 3 years of pure dedication, determination, and a lot of sacrifice.

On a cold, but sunny day in December, I woke up early. Today was the day I had been working for all these years. I drove myself to my college and put on my cap and gown. I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I know it was me in that mirror, but I looked so different. My eyes told a new kind of story that they hadn’t before. I thought, “ Is this really happening? Is this really me?” Right about then, they made the call to get lined up to find our seats. I kept glancing around the stadium looking for my family. But, all I could see was an ocean of blurry faces. I just wanted to find them…. see them. I couldn’t have taken this journey without them, and I needed to share this moment with them.

It became my turn to go. My name was called. I still couldn’t believe that my name was on the graduation list! I walked across the stage with my head high and outstretched hand to receive that piece of paper that I had worked so hard for. It was my time. As I walked down the stairs, I hear “Mom!” I look up and there they were….my children, my parents, my family. …..and then came the tears. All of us. My children were worth all that sacrifice. I was worth it. It was one of those life-changing moments that I will remember for all time. The moment I learned what real honor felt like. The moment when I realized that perseverance really does bring forth character. I had kept that goal in my mind of finishing all these years, but really it was the road that took me there where I learned the most.

Life is made up of moments that help design and create the people we are. Some of those moments are out of our control like death, tragedy, or even winning the lottery. But, some of those moments are of our own making. Graduating college was one of my moments. If you are faced with a challenge or obstacle right now, no matter how big it may seem, know that with God’s help it is truly possible to overcome. He will never give you anything you can’t handle, and He wants so much to see you succeed. Sometimes, you just have to take that first step.

 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

1 Comment

  1. Fran on February 3, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Loved this Shannon! I was cheering for you and then crying with you as you crossed the stage!

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