As I was preparing to work on my article for this week, I came across the speech written by the Valedictorian of the Class of 2016, Dahlia Inabinett, who will be graduating from American University Washington College of Law, later this month. Congratulations, Dahlia! What an awesome academic feat after having already completed four years of college! One thing she said to her classmates that validated her strength was, “Never let the weight of who you are be crushed beneath the weight of who you think you need to be.” Further, she said, “We should never allow who we are to be lost to the weight of some imposing crowd. In Ecclesiastes 9:17 [NIV] it reads, “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” It was clearly obvious in Dahlia’s address that she is a pillar of strength, and she was taught and knows about the Lord. Therefore, members of the Class of 2023, be strong, stay strong, and love God.
In just a few days, the graduations here in Colleton County and elsewhere will be over for the 2022-2023 school year. However, this will only be the beginning for these graduates—the beginning of a new chapter unfolding in their lives. The opportunities for the positive and the negative are out there, but making the right choices is all too important. The most profound advice about making the right choices is nestled in the Word, for Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) vividly commands, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Graduates, as your new path commences, everything will not be a “bed of roses.” Challenges await you, but it is how you deal with them that will keep you strong enough to continue on in order to reach your desired goals. You will stand at crossroads of which you never dreamed. Thorns will be stuck in your side. Valleys will get deeper and deeper. There will be those who will dig ditches for you to fall in, not knowing, “People who set traps for others get caught themselves… ,” Proverbs 26:27 (GNT). Mountains will get harder to climb. Gospel legend Wintley Phipps, in his awesome discourse about the history of “Amazing Grace,” said that an old [African-American] woman down South once told him something about a mountain: “Son, if the mountain was smooth, you couldn’t climb it!” This makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Further, graduates, set your goals so that when the positive opportunities come your way, you can grab a hold to them, and weigh your options. You must plan your future, or it will be planned for you. Always abound in the faith, and never leave home without Him!