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Dear Graduate,

Congratulations on this milestone in your life! I know that a lot has played into this day, and you’ve worked hard to reach this goal.

I can remember my graduation like yesterday, and the feeling of being on top of the world! I remember being with all of my friends and family, knowing that my loved ones were all in one place celebrating with me. It was loads of fun and I’ll always remember it. However, I also remember feeling a bit sad because I knew my dad wasn’t experiencing it with me. He would have been so proud of my grades, athletic achievements, and friend groups. I remember wishing that he could have been there to share in my joy, but God had other plans and those are the ones I had to trust. He has allowed and appointed my life without a dad, and it’s turning out to be the most beautiful story because I have looked to God as Father.

“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?  I will make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). We may not ever know the reasoning behind what God allows, but trust that His plan is always to bring us closer to Him and to glorify Him.

The idea of heading off to college without a father cheering you on behind the scenes might feel daunting. People will assume you have a dad and talk about things that you might feel uncomfortable with because those conversations bring pain from your loss.  However, let them ask the questions, let them wonder where your dad is, and let them open the door in this way for you to tell your story. I found that the more I was willing to open up with people and talk about my dad, the more I experienced healing. God will absolutely use your story to bring Himself glory, and that’s what our life is about! Claim your story to be one where God is Father, because it is a privilege and a blessing that He steps into your life in this to fulfill this role.

If you are a Christ follower, then God is upholding you with His right hand and covering you with His wings. This is a fact. This means that He is in complete control and is protecting you. His very nature is that of a Father. Before time began, God had a son—Jesus Christ. Father is His first name! Cling to that in every single part of your life. Tell Him about the joys in college, how you got an A on a test you studied hours and hours for. Cry to him when you feel homesick or when you feel like you messed up in a class or on a team. God can handle your emotions and, as your Father, listens to your cry.

You really aren’t alone, and who better to talk to than your Creator. He desires to hear your voice and have a relationship with you. Don’t let that fade, okay? He’s closer than your breath and wants you to be in His presence. Allow Him to work in and through you, and know that when the times get hard, He’s there.

You’re going to change a lot in college, and I am excited to hear about how God uses you as a light. We are called to be a “city on a hill” and live in a manner that glorifies Christ, no matter what. Use your testimony of God as your Father to point others around you to Him. There are hundreds of other kids who also have a story like yours and might not know how to deal with it. Show them the secret place found in Christ and allow yourself to be used of God. Because in the end, we are all broken vessels, and if God can use you in any way to show others Himself then every bit of hurt, sadness, missing your dad, and misunderstanding is worth it.

I promise you. God has been my Father for 21 years now, and, if I could, I would look you in the eyes and tell you it’s worth it. Yes, it has been extremely hard at times and healing continues to take place, but I wouldn’t change it. God is faithful, and He’s going to carry you through the next season of your life as His precious child. Let this new season of fresh beginnings allow healing to take place in your heart. It may not feel right, and it may be isolating, but you are not alone on this journey.

With love and prayers, Christieanna Apon

At the age of six, my dad made the sad choice to take his own life leaving me fatherless. God promises to be a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Looking to God as Father has been crucial for my healing and moving forward to all that He has for me despite the great loss of an earthly dad. I pray that you will trust God in this same way. He is a good, good Father.

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