Monday, January 25, 2010

Graduation Speech

Instead of writing a new blog post this weekend, I;m going to post a copy of my graduation speech, given this past Saturday. I'm done!!! :-)

Yeah, I must have been pretty expressive that day. This was the BEST one. :-P

Above all my purpose in being up here in front of you today is to keep a bargain I made two and a half years ago. See, I really wasn’t an advocate of the CLEP program at one point in time. Oh, I thought it was a GREAT thing for some people, its just that I wasn’t one of them. I had quite a few reasons for not going back to school after my three year sabbatical, and even more excuses. On top of that, I really, really didn’t want to forge into the untried and uncertain waters of non-traditional higher level education. Let’s just say I was very resistant to the idea. Finally God made me to understand that college was something I needed to do, and that the way it had to be done was CLEPing.

which brings me to the bargain I mentioned earlier. I had no idea how to CLEP, no guidance, no friend to do it with, and was very rusty on my school subjects. I knew I wouldn’t be able to CLEP on my own. So, one evening just before I started studying I made a bargain. I said to God, “Lord, I don’t know why you want me to start this, but I know you do. However far I get into it will be on account of you. If I don’t finish, that’s okay cause I’m not expecting it. If I do finish I’ll let everyone know it wasn’t me, was you.”

If you want to see God work, follow him when He calls you into something impossible. I could tell you about a lot of different things over the course of this adventure, but I think the most effective would be a timeline of events, starting about three months before the diplomas were awarded.

Stage: It is September. The deadline for all my materials to be in is October 1st. Though I’ve finished all my tests, I am short $2,000 of enrollment fees for Thomas Edison, and therefore haven’t transferred over my credits or, obviously, enrolled. I’ve given up the idea of graduating in December. Even with the money, finishing all the paperwork in that time peirod would be nearly impossible.

September 15—16 days till the deadline. Dad challenges me to trust God and expect Him to provide, despite the lack of funds and short timeline. We start praying like crazy.
T-minus 15—I have my credits transferred.
T-minus 13—God has provided the $2000
T-minus 11—I receive my evaluation from TESC and discover that I am short by 3 upperlevel credit hours, which can only be fulfilled by the hardest Social Sciences test available
T-minus 10—I start studying like crazy.
T-minus 9—I call TESC to talk to advising, am advised to shoot for spring, because what I am attempting is completely impossible. \
T-minus 8—I fax in my application for graduation.
T-minus 7—I take the test… and fail.
T-minus 4—God shows me another test that isn’t in the books. TESC is willing to accept it.
T-plus 3—I take the test, and pass with flying colors.

The excitement didn’t even end there, after God had provided both the money and my final test. I think God just isn’t fully satisfied with ordinary run of the mill impossible saves. There were a few crossed wires, quite literally, I suppose as it seemed to be an electronic malfunction, and I was actually audited and denied eligibility for graduation due to insufficent credit hours. But God had other plans. Despite all that, I’m standing here and my diploma is right here. If you want some excitement, follow God into the impossible.

There are, of course, a few others I need to mention as well. First my parents. Dad has been a major part of this from the start. He was the one that gave me the proverbial kick-in-the-britches to get going in the first place. He paid for quite a few of the tests when I didn’t have a job. He was the one that challenged me to step out in faith when I’d given the graduation up as an impossible goal. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for his encouragement. And mom’s been a dear—she’s spent hours listening to my college woes, worries, and triumphs.

The second person I need to mention is Richard, my classmate. He started just a couple months after I did, and provided the pressure to keep me going. For awhile there we’d take most of our tests together—and that motivated me to not fall behind!! He’s been an encouragement all along, and kept me going when I didn’t think I could.

And then there are the countless people who provided support throughout this process. Those who encouraged me, those who asked how it was going, those who went before and were willing to answer my many questions--I’ve got about a dozen names in my head right now. Thank you so much for being there for me, for praying for me, and for keeping me going.

As a final note, I’d like to mention that verse in your bulletin under my name. It isn’t a normal one fore a graduation, and I’d like to explain it. The same day that Thomas Edison informed me that it would be impossible for me to graduate so soon, God gave me that verse promising that I would be able to stand before the congregation and keep my vows. I didn’t know at the time how he would do it, but I knew he would. In man’s eyes something may be impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

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