Graduate - to grant or receive an academic degree or diploma.
Graduation - commencement.
Commencement - beginning, birth, genesis, launch.
'Tis the season for graduation. I just returned from attending my nephew's high school graduation. Sitting there, I recalled the similar ceremonies I have been involved in. I can remember my high school graduation though it seems a very long time ago. As I sat watching the teachers recognized today, I shook my head. They all seem so young. I can remember my college graduation - barely. Why is it sketchy? My boyfriend proposed to me right before I walked across the stage to receive my bachelors degree. I was much more concerned about the shiny ring on my finger, I'll admit. I remember my husband's seminary graduation. I was pregnant, and we were looking at a long move from Texas to Maryland. I received my PHT that day -Putting Hubby Through.
Funny how I can still remember the speeches at each being similiar to what I heard today. The messages were two-fold: we made it and this is just the beginning not an ending.
Though I will likely not formally graduate from any other institution, I think holding commencement exercises every once in awhile might be a good idea. Let me explain. Looking back to see obstacles God has helped me overcome or battles He has helped me to win, encourages me to say: "I made it!" The Bible is full of verses that prompt me to look back and see how the Lord has worked in my life. This builds trust and perseverance. But, this isn't a sign to stop. As a Christian I don't retire until I expire. I look ahead to what God would have me to do now. I can see Him launching me into new ministry areas which will give me other outlets for sharing the gospel and spurring on fellow Christians.
What about you? Go through your commencement exercise. What is God launching in you? If you're timid about stepping out, look back at all He's brought you through and taught you and allow that to urge you on to the next degree.