I’ve had a lot of them this year.

Last high school soccer game for my daughter. Last high school track meet for my son. Last month we had the last piano recital for both of them–a special senior one, with just them and two other seniors, where they each played a number of songs and had us crying as the last note melted away….

First Day of School--How did time go so quickly
First Day of School–How did time go so quickly?

As my youngest also moves on to another level of schooling, I’ve also just finished the last of 15 years of middle school; that’s an exponential number of lasts.

In fact, my youngest said to me the other day that it’s been a whole year of them:

  • last 1st day of the year there,
  • last last day of the year there….

I remember the very first first day–way back with my oldest, then obviously a 6th grader.

She had been given her locker number and combination during registration a couple weeks before, but, though she tried and tried, she couldn’t get that locker open. They said she should come during open house and try some more. It still didn’t work. So first thing that first day, I went in with her to teach her how to open it. Well, to TRY to teach her to open it.

Next thing I knew, I was rattling the door, then shaking the door, then all but kicking the door. Suddenly, a man in dress pants and a tie walked up slowly. “May I help you?”

I couldn’t tell you which word had the most emphasis on it, his voice deep and intimidating. Now–15 years of 5 middle school kids later– I know this man to be the greatest counselor; he deserves so many rewards for what he does every day with students. But THAT day, being the first time I was meeting him, I couldn’t imagine what he was thinking as he stared at this apparently crazy mama bear trying to break into her daughter’s locker.

I tried to appear calm and unembarrassed: “Her locker won’t open.”

He promised to figure it out for her, and I, realizing I was now late in getting my other kids off to school, quick-stepped it down one hall, through another, and, picking up speed all the while, up a flight of stairs– to discover the door at the top was locked. Flying back down, I slammed through a door and raced to another set of stairs–only to have the same man saunter around the corner.

Okay–by then I couldn’t hide the embarrassment; I gave a sheepish smile…a shoulder shrug… and continued my dash up the flight.

What a way to make a first impression!

But this year? My last year? Every time I saw that counselor–fifteen middle school years later–I realized we would soon be making our last.

And that’s what hit me. With so many changes happening this year, (I also had one graduating from college,) it was easy to cling to what was fading away…or–as last minute things overwhelmed–to wish it done and gone.

But I had a choice–a chance–to relish memories of the past… and enjoy what the Lord has given me today… all while looking forward to what lies ahead. What a beautiful balance! One not always easy to maintain, but isn’t that what Christ did? He continually reminded His disciples of all the ways that God had blessed His people from Genesis to Malachi… He poured out His every day, and sometimes night, for the Glory of God and the people around Him–even unto death…and He constantly pointed to the future. The Glorious Everlasting Life with Him. When there would be no more lasts!

Jesus knew His “end” was coming. But He also knew it wasn’t really the end. So He taught and admonished and healed and loved those around Him. Leaving that sweet aroma of grace and forgiveness and sacrifice trailing behind Him. Drawing them to truth. Drawing them to the Word of God. Drawing them to lasting change. And perseverance and excitement for what was to come.

Have I done that? I pray that He will fill in where I have not. Because as I step away from these lasts and move on to what’s next, I hope that–even amidst any misunderstandings or mistakes or…racing up and down halls– I’ve left a lasting impression of Him.

Because without Christ, the end will come and the lasts will fade into nothing but regrets. But with Him who IS “the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13), we grow and learn and graduate to a life everlasting.

“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come!” (Hebrews 13:14, ESV)  And “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed!” (1 Corinthians 15:52, NASB)

Glory be to God!

Perhaps C.T. Studd said it best…

Only What’s Done for Christ Will Last

by Charles Thomas Studd

“Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgment seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “’twas worth it all”;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

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