I wish you some springtime,
Some “bird on the wing” time
For blooming and sending out shoots;
I wish you some test time,
Some winter and rest time
For growing and putting down roots.
I wish you some summer,
For you’re a becomer,
With blue skies and flowers and dew;
For there is a reason
God sends ev’ry season:
He’s planted His image in you.
I wish you some laughter,
Some “happy thereafter”
To give you a frame for your dreams;
But I wish you some sorrow,
Some rainy tomorrows,
Some clouds with some sun in between.
I wish you some crosses,
I wish you some losses,
For only in losing you win.
I wish you some growing,
I wish you some knowing,
There’s always a place to begin.
We’d like to collect you
And shield and protect you
And save you from hurts if we could;
But we must let you grow tall
To learn and to know all
That God has in mind for your good.
We never could own you,
For God only loaned you
To widen our world and our hearts.
So we wish you His freedom,
Knowing where He is leading;
There is nothing can tear us apart.
Lyrics by Gloria Gaither / Music by Bill Gaither / Copyright © 1977
It was our daughter Suzanne’s graduation party. Family and friends and relations, schoolmates and former teachers gathered near the creek under the big willow to sip punch and eat raspberry cake. Suzanne opened the lovely gifts piled on the table in the gazebo. This is the place where she had played when she was a child. She had spent many a summer day fishing in the creek and catching turtles and garter snakes. Our family had built many a bonfire in this place for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. When she started dating, it was by this creek that Suzanne had walked with her boyfriends, watching the sunset.
Memories raced across the green hillside and peeped out from behind the apple trees in the orchard. Bill and I listened as our friends wished our daughter success as a writer, fame as a lyricist, fortune in her chosen work and honors in graduate school.
After the party was over and the guests had gone their separate ways, Bill and I sat in the yard swing. What would we wish her? we asked ourselves. It wouldn’t be wealth, we decided, or notoriety. And success is hard to define. We wouldn’t wish her failure, but we knew that sometimes we learn more from our failures than from our successes. And we had seen wealth destroy some people, yet be used by others to bless and encourage.
We hoped she would continue to grow in her knowledge of Christ Jesus, just as she had right before our eyes through the years since she first committed her life to Him. Yes, we would wish her growth, knowing full well that would require some sunshine and rain, successes and failures, joy and pain.
We would wish her insight and a clear sense of direction. We would wish her the ability to sense when others hurt and the compassion to do something about it whenever she could. We would wish her, most of all, what Paul had hoped for those he had come to love in the new church at Ephesus. This passage had come to be very important to us in our home, and now as we tried to express what we were feeling as parents, it seemed to best express our hearts:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of his plan I fall down on
my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God…
that out of his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you the
mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ
will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as
you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s
marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as
all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how
high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves,
though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully
know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up
with God himself. (Ephesians 3:14-19 tlb)
We wanted to shield her from anything that might hurt her, yet we knew we could never insulate her from the world. The wisest choice was to dare to entrust her to the care of the Lord, who had made her in the first place and who loves her more perfectly than we ever could.