Monday, May 23, 2011

our confidence

Two days ago, I graduated from high school. Today feels like a Saturday because I'm so deliciously free. 

The speech that I wrote and practiced in trepidation and nausea? Here it is. The "unedited version." I wrote it originally as a blog post, to get over my mental block, and then trimmed it down a bit and took out the weirder parts to make it more speech-friendly. : )

Anyways: here it is: "Our Confidence"

 I have been looking forward to this day for pretty much my whole life. Today ends the twelve years of my official homeschooled education. I am crazy, crazy excited.

Let's say that laughter is produced in some uncharted territory between your lungs. It slowly accumulates, and throughout the day, is used appropriately as needed. Sometimes, though, way too much gets produced and just sort of bubbles frantically around in there, waiting for an opportunity to escape.

This happens to me most nights during or right after dinner, and whenever I listen to the Tarzan soundtrack. I literally feel like I'm going to explode because I have all this random, inappropriately loud happiness struggling to escape. Usually it bursts out in response to something mildly humorous that one of my family members say. And usually, I choke.

It's a strange phenomenon, and it's the same way I feel when I think about my life after graduation.

There are so many things I love. So many beautiful cities and countries and dirt roads and donut shops to be explored and photographed. So many languages to be learned and people to be loved and songs to be sung way too loud.

It can be easy to look at the future and feel overwhelmed, confused, and worried. But how can we be anxious about it? We're young, we're free, God is on our side, and the world has no idea what it's in for when we take it by storm.

I think if we have the right view of Christ and His kingdom, we can't help but get excited about the future. “And we are His house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” (Hebrews 3:6b)

It's easy to boast about stupid things, but what we should be boasting in is the fact that we serve a mighty God. He is in charge, he loves us, and folks, He's going to win. This is our hope and our confidence.

I'm confident, not because I know I'll succeed in everything I want to do in life. I want to do a million things, many of which won't happen. My bucket list is long, and just keeps getting longer. I'm pretty sure my desire to be in a Les Miserables production just isn't going to pan out, I'll probably never learn to whistle, and I might not ever have the opportunity to slap a man full across the face. But this year I rode an elephant—miracles happen.

There are things I want to do that I won't get to do, and I love doing a lot of things that I'm just not that good at. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give up and not even try. There will always be ways to serve and glorify God, and God gives us our passions. He gave me my love for people, He gave my sister Bethany her love for books. I think He'll use both for His glory.

If our one goal is to serve God, we cannot fail.

Our pastor gave a sermon a few weeks ago which was timely and awesome. He talked about how we are God's messengers, and our work is the mission of God. It might not seem epic or beautiful—it might be messy and unpleasant. But the fact that we are the battalion of Christ should make even the most seemingly insignificant jobs take real meaning.

Not only does this mean that we should be driven and hardworking—it also means that we should take joy in what we do, knowing that we are making a difference.

Standing up here and getting my diploma doesn't mean I'm off the hook. I haven't finished my high school education so that I can sit around and watch romantic comedies and eat Krispy Kreme donuts while I wait for something exciting to happen in my life. There will be movie watching, and you bet there will be donut-eating, but that will be the side project.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. My plan? To run the race with everything that I have, to love people, to read long, complicated books, to learn everything I can about the human mind, to take millions of photos, to serve God by serving the people He has put in my life. To create and laugh and sing and write and talk and eat and drink cranberry juice to the glory of God and the furthering of His kingdom.

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 1:13-15)


  1. That was beautiful!! Well done, and Congratulations!!!! :)


  2. Oh, how uplifting and delightful that was! Congratulations!
    Honestly, you inspire me so much! I'm an aspiring blogger and photographer, and reading your blog, I see so much of what I want to be like. Thanks for... well, being so awesome :)

  3. My beautiful friend...

    that was beautiful.

    Congratulations!! I wish I could've been there to see you be embarrassed :D haha

    I love you!! ♥

  4. Very nice! Whimsical and pretty and still appropriate. :D Well done.

  5. Oh I love your speech! I KNEW you would write a good one. ;) I wholeheartedly agree with what you said..and I'm happy to call you my friend. Love you so much, lady!
    Now get out there and serve Jesus!

  6. And remind me again just why you were nervous about this speech? It was pretty dang awesome and inspiring.
    You listen to the Tarzan soundtrack too?! Oh my word, I never thought I'd find another...that music makes me SO. HAPPY. That and Jack Sparrow.
    Uhhm, I think we're kindred spirits--1) I'm in love with Les Mis and would die to be part of a production someday, however unlikely that may be, and 2) I have ALWAYS wanted to slap a guy across the face, for no particular reason at all.
    Your photos are gorgeous. As always.
    M'dear, keep shining for Jesus--your confidence in him is half of life's battle already defeated. Congrats on your graduation, and have fun with that movie-watching and donut-eating fun, k? ;)
    Love in our Savior,

  7. Lovely and encouraging. Congrats! :)

  8. I absolutely love this post! Congratulations on your graduation! :)


    P.S. Gorgeous photos!

  9. I love this. Congrats on your graduation! May God bless you in this new chapter of your life! :)

    Because He Lives,

  10. Oh my gosh! I love these pictures so much! They really remind me of summer! Congrats as well :)

  11. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a guy slapping fantasy..... ;-)

  12. love this imagery: "so many beautiful cities and countries and dirt roads and donut shops to be explored and photographed." and wow. just wow. this speech really moved me and inspired me -- i literally feel more excited about life. you are some writer. and your faith is so moving.

  13. Congratulations! And THAT was beautiful! :)

    -Rachel Lynn (on her new blog!)

  14. First of all... CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    Okay, now down to business. I'm really glad I'm not writing a speech for my graduation, because it would not be anywhere near as awesome, zany, and feeling as yours was, and that would make me feel like I was five years old again. Which, sometimes, doesn't sound like a half bad idea... to be five again.
    Anyway, I loved this post. You're gorgeous. <3


  16. This was so beautiful and inspiring, and exactly what I needed to read this morning. I'm graduating from highschool on Saturday (been homeschooled for several years), and this week has me so stressed out over college it's crazy! Thanks for the reminder to focus on God and to trust in Him-I always struggle with that, somehow :/. Congratulations, fellow graduate! :). I wish for all of your dreams to come true (even slapping a man-I'm sure one will deserve it at some point)!

  17. Love love LOVE your speech- its beautiful! Laughing at all the other comments who say that they want to slap a guy also makes me feel like I am not the only one lol!
    Your photos are gorgeous, the speech is fabulous and you are amazing :) I pray that God blesses your life and all the many exciting things to come in it :)

  18. Chances are, when you go to college you'll have a chance to slap (at least one) guy across the face. I'm just sayin. And if you do, you'll be a smarter woman than myself.


  19. Great post!! That really encouraged me, thank-you! And congrats!! :D

  20. Wow! an incredible speech, and incredible approach to life. I believe it will serve you well. I pray with all my heart that you will sustain this approach and that you will fulfill the dreams in your bucket list. Christ cannot be anything but WITH such a zealous, joyful, positive and energetically loving young woman.

    And I hope you never NEED to slap a man full across the face. Let's hope they are all gentlemen.

  21. Wow. That was amazing and beautiful. Funny too. XD Congrats!

    I can honestly say I've never wanted to slap a guy across the face for real... just if we were acting. :P

  22. Great speech! I heard it was good now I know it was good. Very encouraging

  23. That was beautiful! God will guide you through this big thing called life. He loves you so much, and I am so excited to think of all the ways you will worship and serve Him with your talents. You have so much passion and energy, and whatever you do, you'll do it fullheartedly and for our Savior.

    Congratulations on graduating! Some of my friends just graduated on Saturday as well. It is so encouraging to see for us that are still homeschooling, and it's encouraging to hear (or read) your speeches. God bless you, and I pray that He gives you wisdom for what direction to take now.

    I'll probably never learn to whistle either.

  24. Oh, that was beautiful! Listening to the Tarzan soundtrack makes me happy too...although I think the Tangled soundtrack is the one that makes me giggley and ridiculously happy for no apparent reason :)


  25. Okay, that was weird. The above anonymous comment was from me. I wasn't meaning to be mysterious... ;)

  26. Nevermind. I'm not sure what blogger is just deleted the comment I was talking about.
    Anyways. What I meant to say was:

    That was beautiful, Suzy! Congratulations on graduating and God bless you as you serve Him!

    (And thanks for sending us an invitation! Lovely picture!)

  27. Wow. That speech was beautiful; I hope I can write something that beautiful and amazing for my graduation.

  28. Congratulations!

    As a speech teacher, may I just say it was wonderfully done. I loved how you kept throwing donuts into the mix and I almost choked on my coffee when I read the slapping a man in the face thing. Hilarious.

  29. CONGRATULATIONS on graduating!! :)
    These words are lovely and inspiring.

  30. This was so so inspiring- everything from the speech to the pictures that went with it. I was almost in tears reading this. Congratulations! My turn is on Saturday, and I am so thankful to you for posting this: it serves as a reminder to me as I go out into the unknown as well.

  31. Congrats on your graduation! Your speech/post is beautiful. :)

    And I'm so glad I'm not the only one who loves the "Tarzan" soundtrack. :)


  32. Congrats!! My favorite line from your 'speech' was: "We're young, we're free, God is on our side, and the world has no idea what it's in for when we take it by storm." Brilliant and beautifully said, m'dear! Hats off to you!

  33. Congratulations! What an achievement! May God continue to bless you as you learn new things beyond school! :) <3

  34. LOVE everything about this beautiful post! Congratulations on your graduation. I pray that God would lead your footsteps and that you continue to find comfort and rest in Him!

  35. Beautiful...and God's timing to have me read this as I'm graduating next month. And I've also been struggling with it (my thoughts are latest post on my blog) instead of joyfully embracing this new season God has given me. :) Your post was refreshing and gave me a new excitement.

  36. *sniffs* *sniiiiffffsss* *reaches for tissue* *SOBS*

    Darling dear, you made me cry. That was the sweetest, most amazing post I think I've ever read. Thanks so much for sharing- the speech and the pictures. Lots of love to you, and a big hug. :]
    Lord bless you Susannah. <3

  37. Congratulations again! Your graduation speech is astounding and just beautiful! God really is our Confidence. And by the way, the pictures in this post are so, so, so lovely!

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  39. Congrats! I loved your speech. Nice pics. I love flowers blooming.

  40. What a beautiful speech!! I wish the Lord's blessing on your future.

  41. Amazing pictures on here, did you take them all? Congrats on graduating high school!

  42. Congrats, wow, what a speech.

  43. Girl, you did SO awesome!!! I'm super proud of you and I'm sooo impressed! Not that I didn't think you'd do well, but you by far exceeded the RCC-graduation-speech-standard ;)
    And I just wanted to add that, the world *doesn't* know what it's in for when you take it by storm, but I think I might say that you've already taken it by storm... about the time you were born, actually ;) The world didn't know what it was in for when Susannah Hope jumped into it, and I hope you always take it by surprise, and storm the gates of Hell with your love and energy for Jesus (as you have already done thus far).
    Again, amazing job =) I love you so, so much!

  44. Oh my goodness, I don't even know how to word how wonderful this post was! It was absolutely beautiful. ^_^

  45. Is it weird that I gasp whenever I see that you've posted? There's something very refreshing about your posts.

    I really love your blog; pictures, reviews, witty sense of humor, etc.

    Congratulations on graduating. I'm jealous. ;)

  46. this is my favorite speech EVAH. i'm just saying... ;)
    congrats on being, well...a grad!

  47. Beautiful photos! Feel free to stop on over and check out the contest I have going on called Favorite Photo of the Week

  48. Beautiful speech! And congrats on graduating!! :) :) :)

  49. PS. Oh and I love all the flower pictures!! So so pretty!


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