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Black Church News in Virginia

Marriner’s Moment: Emerging Independence – Pt. 1

With graduation behind them, many of our youth and young adults will begin to embark upon a new journey in life – spreading their wings as they emerge into independence. Some will go on to institutions of higher learning, others will become part of the workforce, and some will join the military, but no matter what, each has one thing in common: a future that is bright and theirs for the taking.

That future does not come without hard work, prayer, planning and, sometimes, disappointments. Some of us have made ‘adulthood’ look easy to our children. We have worked hard to conceal our mistakes, pain and disappointments and, in the process, made our journey look effortless to our children. Too often we send them out into the world to make their own way without preparing them for the hardships and struggles that got us to the place we ultimately call ‘success’! In other words, sometimes we don’t prepare them to face the realities of life! What a disservice we unknowingly do when we don’t share the pain, process and path that got us to our product.

We want and expect our young people to emerge into independence, hoping that we have done our part to help shape the foundation for their success. Most of us have given them the basics: we’ve raised them in church, involved them in extracurricular activities, supported them academically and rooted for them as they engaged in sports activities. At this point, we are praying that the groundwork we’ve laid for them can sustain them through the difficulties, disappointments and pain they will undoubtedly encounter. John 6:33 also tries to prepare us with this warning, “… In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” (NKJ). It’s important that we remind them of this caveat, as we guide them into adulthood. When our youth go out into the world, we must gird them up with love, confidence and prayer, so that when trouble and trials come, they are strong enough to withstand the pressures of life. They need to know that emerging independently requires getting back up and getting back in – even if they don’t feel like it!

Graduation and emerging independence is a celebratory time, so while my intent is certainly not to forecast doom and gloom, it is to help ensure that our next generation has received a healthy and vital dose of reality. Whether they go far or stay close to home, there will be times when they will make decisions and choices, independent of us and certainly apart from the way they were raised – just as most of us did! It’s okay to make mistakes or missteps – they help us grow and mature. The problem occurs when we fail to learn from those mistakes.

At Grove, we are hosting “A Life or Death Moment” on July 19th and 20th. It is my prayer that this event – or our accompanying “More Life Experience” for youth that will be held on July 19th, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. –will present adults and graduates alike with an opportunity to choose LIFE, and make choices that will help them seek the life that Christ desires for each of us.
”Peace and power.

© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,
Grove Church
July 2017

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