Graduating With Honors: How to Live Your Life Well

To the best of my recollection, “Pomp and Circumstance” was never played. But to be fair, the high school band was less than stellar. Furthermore, some of the songs I did recognize contained unrecognizable moments. However, I wasn’t there to celebrate the band; I was there to celebrate our youngest. Seeing my handsome son in his cap and gown swelled the pride in my heart to my throat when his name was announced. He was just beginning to live his life.

It’s weird. He is legally an adult and a high school graduate, but he lives under our roof. Our son must live by the rules therein. He eats the food from the fridge, enjoys the safety of a roof over his head, and benefits from the company of people who love him.

Living in No Man’s Land

He is living in a “no man’s land” of sorts. Although he has plans, he does not know yet what the next season is going to look like.  He knows he does not belong in our house long-term and yet, in the meantime, he still has chores and responsibilities.  

The Apostle Paul (or whoever may have written Hebrews) understands about living in “no man’s land”.  Hebrews 13:14-16, encourages us to keep a healthy perspective: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Do not forget to do good and share with others as God is pleased with such sacrifices.”

We, much like our son, Josiah, live in limbo. God calls His children to live and impact His world. We have responsibilities, rules, and relationships here that prepare us, shape us, and grow us.

We Don’t Belong Here Forever

But we do not belong here forever. This is not “an enduring city”, but can take great hope in the “city that is to come”.   Although we can only speculate what it will be like, we know that God is good and we will be with Him.

Take heart! The next time that the day is arduous, the sin of the world seems especially heavy, or you have lost your sense of purpose, remember that this is not your long-term residence. God has a plan, a purpose, and a position for you – both on Earth and in Heaven and that should lighten your load a bit.

  • If your toddler has taken the terrible twos to the next level, take heart.
  • If you are feeling at odds with your spouse, take heart.
  • If after years of trying, the pregnancy test says “not pregnant” again this month, take heart.
  • If the bank account is dangerously close to “insufficient funds”, take heart.
  • If your son (your baby), just graduated from high school and you are uncertain what this will mean for your soon-to-be empty nest, take heart.
  • If the doctor’s office called and needs you to come in again for more tests, take heart.

How Can We “Take Heart”?

Verses 15 and 16 of Hebrews 13 remind us HOW to take heart: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Do not forget to do good and share with others, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.”

Praise Him.  Love and guide the toddler, work for a peaceable solution with your spouse, pray for a child, work hard and trust in God’s provision, place your graduated child in the hands of the One who formed him, and pray through the uncertainty of the tests, but also GIVE GOD PRAISE in the midst of all of it. In the end, you will live a life worth living in Christ.

The thought of Heaven should encourage us when our day is challenging.  Why?  Because we know that the world in which we live is not an enduring city. We can look forward to graduating to a city that is to come.  We know the pain of this world will not last forever, and that instead of focusing only on our challenges, we have the opportunity every day to praise the God who deserves ALL our pomp and circumstance.  


Amberly Neese is a popular speaker/teacher, comedian, author, emcee, and all-around encourager. She dedicates herself to helping people become the joyful person God created them to be.

She helps people like you experience the freedom found in meaningful relationships with God and others. Her bible studies, “The Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive”  and “Common Ground: Loving Others Despite Our Differences” are being enjoyed by women’s groups all over the country.  Her devotional “The Friendship Initiative: 31 Days of Loving and Connecting Like Jesus”  was released in May 2021.

Amberly is a popular women’s retreat speaker, featured communicator for the Aspire Women’s Events, and the main host and female comedian for Marriage Date Night.  Join her newsletter list at and get her ebook “50 Ways to Initiate Great Connections with Others”. 

She and her husband have two adult children and live in Prescott, Arizona, where they enjoy the great outdoors, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars.

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