May be an image of 1 person, child, standing and body of water

Dear Lydia,

From climbing trees to managing CFA, you ascend; rising up, moving onward, and looking outward and upward. From UP you see and we see. But, often in the Valley, when we are low, then we gaze upward most and see, know, and feel God’s greatness and his presence. He is a very present help even as he towers above the Heavens. The way up, is the way down in humility. She who humbles herself will be exalted; she who exalts herself shall be humbled.

So climb humbly and know that every good gift comes from UP and that it is God who lifts you high and who ministers to you when you are down. His Word is a lamp that reveals the next step and a light to navigate through the night. Going down, straight, or up requires faith. Faith is stepping into the light of God’s Word whether up or down.

I am very thankful for you, Lydia. I love what I know about you, and I long to know you better. I am also very proud of you, not only for your hard work ethic, loyalty to family and friends, generous spirit, and musical giftedness; I am proud of you because of you. YOU. Yes, You, Lydia Caroline Rhodes.

Now you have another accomplishment to add to your growing resume. You are a high school graduate–and not just a graduate but an accomplished graduate. I am thankful. I am proud. But graduate or not, manager or not, tree-climber or not, I would love you still. Though, my love is so flawed and is nothing compared to God’s love, I do love you. God loves you, Lydia. Jesus died for you. Jesus rose for you. WOW! And me!

When you were a younger girl and no one could find you , I called out– “Lydia, Lydia.” I knew to look up. I scanned the trees and finally I spotted you, smiling, doing whatever it was that you did up in those trees. You were thinking, playing, and dreaming. You were looking outward, looking upward, gaining perspective. You could see us from up there. What did you think?

Lydia, you have helped lots of people to look UP. You have helped me. One of my favorite letters came from your pen. I keep it close at hand. Why? It is from you. Yes. But more, it helps me up; it helps me look UP. Being up doesn’t mean always feeling great or never depressed. It means that even then (especially then), in the valley, there is always UP. Where is Lydia? Lydia is UP. Maybe not up in a tree, but looking up, helping others to look up. And what do we see? The Heavens declaring the glory of God.
I love you, Lydia. Congratulations on your graduation. You are my daughter. How about a cup of coffee soon?

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