Alison the Graduate

My baby sister is all grown up.

I guess it's about time since people have thought she was older than me since she was 12...and I was 18. 

Yep, it was good times when I took her to decorate her locker for middle school and some of her friends came up to us and asked what teachers I had gotten. "Well children," I replied, "I'll be in college in a few short weeks." (Insert awkward silence)

I blame it on her boobs. She's got them and I don't. Sigh...I digress. 

Well, we traveled to KC for her graduation. It was kind of surreal. It felt like yesterday that I was in my royal blue cap and gown sitting in the very last row just like Ali (thanks for the last name, mom and dad). And I'm sure - like my sis - I was also praying that I wouldn't trip in my heals when I walked across the stage. Although, that would have made for a good laugh.

I love my sister!

Al, you've already seen this letter. But just in case, it's going on the ol' blog to keep safe as a memory. 

Dear Ali,

Today is your day, tiny baby sister. Except you aren't tiny anymore. Your grown and unbelievably beautiful and on the brink of the rest of your life. How exciting! With the little wisdom I've gained, there is so much I want to tell you. I could never say how much I love you or how much good I want for you in a letter. But hear my heart for you today, and know that it is so full with joy and awe for the woman that you are and will become. 

I remember growing up that you were so bold. I mean, I'm pretty sure you used the boys restroom on more than one occasion just because you always wanted to. And you performed an improvisational dance for the talent show one year...who does that? At times, I was embarrassed by your boldness, but that was my own immaturity that wasn't able to appreciate the confidence you had in yourself. As with most of us, I think you've lost a little of your boldness along the path of ''growing up.'' 2 Corinthians 3:12 says, Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. Isnt that amazing? Because of the hope we have in Jesus, we are bold! Ali, I encourage you to be bold and confident in all areas of your life. Seek the Lord for his wisdom and then make the bold choices! It may mean uncomfortable moments and seasons, but you will surely experience the richness of life and the game rather than the safety of the sideline.

Toby, good job sneaking into this picture.
My cousin also graduated. Sarah, you looked beautiful!
Ali, I admire your loyalty to others. You cling tightly to your friends and family and guard them with a mother's love. Other than our personal relationship with Christ, there is nothing better in this world than other people. Think about it: people make life worth living. They help us, they love us, they bring us joy and sorrow. Practically every major life event involves other people.  Proverbs 27:17 says, As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Sister, I encourage you to remain loyal but also to invest in new relationships in your life. Friends should be fun and adventurous but they should also challenge you to be a better person. Your friends should ''sharpen'' you as you ''sharpen'' them. Seek out people  who are different than you. It may be unnatural at first, but their differences will grow your weaknesses and test your strengths. I just can't say enough how important it is to surround yourself with friends who will speak the hard truth into your life but still have the best of intentions for you.  And never forget that when friends fail you, your family will always be close. We will surely fail you as well, but we will learn and love you better the next time. Plus, it's not like you can get rid of us!

So many times, our strengths are also our weaknesses. You have such will power and determination, much more than I'll ever claim to have. That strength has brought you a lot of success: swim team, academics, getting what you desire from mom and dad ; ). You're best at that last one! The flip side of determination is stubbornness. John 15:13 says, Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. Al, I encourage you to surrender yourself daily to Jesus and other people. Living life for Jesus is hard but so full of reason and purpose. He will make it worth it, and show you how to serve others along the way. 

Congratulations on this huge milestone. It's the first of many. The next fifteen years of your life will be so full of changes and moves and celebrations and hard times and good times. Hold on tight, it will go fast. Be present in every moment.

Bryan and I are so proud of you -  We love you so much it hurts! I would never want anyone else to be my sister and I look forward with anticipation to how God is going to use your life.

I pray for all the good things for you.
Enjoy the journey.
I love you to the moon!

No one loves you like I do, Al! 
So proud of you :)

1 comment:

Brielle Dunham said...

Oh Ashley that was beautiful, simply beautiful! You are such an excellent writer. :)

Congratulations Ali! You did it!!! WOot Woot!