I wanted to post my graduation testimony speech in May, but couldn't find it anywhere...not on the computer or on paper. But I finally came across a copy of what I shared.
Twenty years ago this month, I celebrated my graduation from high school. It is amazing how twenty years ago can seem like a very long time, and yet still feel like just yesterday. In 1990, I was still a child who had no idea what lie ahead down the path God had for me to travel. I've heard it said that the verse in Psalm 119 that says "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path", gives a good picture of God's direction in our lives. It seems as if the light that God sheds just in front of our feet shows us where to step next, but not where the entire path will lead us. I believe that God provided direction for me these last twenty years, but if I had known the whole picture of where God would take me, and what I would go through to prepare me along life's journey, it may have been too overwhelming to take in.
Now, I can look back to even my childhood and see the evidence of a loving, sovereign God, gently guiding me. My parents' testimonies, and their example to me were instrumental in God's shaping of my worldview. My parents are seekers of truth, of information, and of God's ways. They are wonderful examples of the way God uses His people... willing vessels to minister to the Body of Christ; in their case by pastoring, teaching, and leading. God was preparing me as a child, to seek knowledge and then be willing to pass it on, to teach, to make my life a ministry.
Even as I was graduation from high school those two decades ago, my head was in the clouds as I planned my wedding and prepared to head to college as a newlywed. I was on top of the world and dreamed of love, adventure, and white picket fences. I married the man of my dreams, my strong and steady protector and provider. I became Mrs. Kurt Maddox, and God merged our paths together. It is because of Kurt's support, encouragement, and desire like that of myself and my parents to continuously keep learning, that God made a way for me to finish my senior year of college here at Ecclesia this year.
I had entered college all those years ago, with a dream to become a teacher. After three years at the University of Arkansas, I found that God was pulling my heart towards educating a family of my own instead of the classroom full of students that I had imagined. My desire to become a mother and have children of my own that I could love, nurture, and teach kept me from finishing my education at that time.
God has given me six incredible children: Austin, Sydney, Andrew, Macy, Tessa, and Janie. Like I spoke of earlier, had I known that I would be a mother of six, it may have been overwhelming to imagine. But God's lamp that showed the way for the small steps along my life, brought me to desire and treasure each of my special students that God has placed into the Maddox Family's HomeSchool, where love of learning goes hand in hand with love of God. And had I known beforehand that I would take on finishing my degree at a time when I had a newborn and five other children, was homeschooling, and would be helping my husband with life-changing business and political undertakings, I would have said it can't be done. But I have found that it is the times like these in my life that I have ended up exactly where God wants me to be... in complete dependence on Him, trusting Him, and leaning on His love, grace, and mercy. And I am excited about the future: to see what lies ahead next on the path that God is preparing for me.
Again, I want to thank my parents, for being my example. Thank you to my incredible husband and children for all of their support and extended grace. And thank you, Ecclesia College for making it possible for me to complete my degree this year. God bless you all!