By Ralphine Major

I saw her at the end of the line looking grown up in cap and gown.  High school graduates were honored at our church on Mother’s Day.  My mind raced back to a time when I first met the graduating senior as a two-year-old one Sunday.

With this child in her arms, her mother stopped in the church parking lot long enough for us to hear this little one sing “Jesus Loves Me.”  Stories her “Nanna” had told of trips to the park and library during the summers came to mind, too.

I saw her personality take shape as a three-year-old during the times mother and I had nursery duty during morning worship service.  Later, when my brother, Wayne, and I helped teach Mary Coleman’s Kindergarten Sunday School class, she was five; and it was humbling to witness her expressions of faith.

Around the age of twelve, she appeared in my Focus column with a paper she had written for a school assignment.  It was about Bill Wallace, the medical missionary for whom Wallace Memorial Baptist Church is named.  This child was already becoming a Christian leader.  I learned she even visited the homebound and often sang to them.

Afterwards, I rarely saw Christina Varnes until years later when we passed in the hall one Sunday morning.  I barely recognized the little girl—now grown up!  Christina told me she liked the venue at her high school—the L&N STEM Academy.  The talented singer even went to London on a senior trip.  Besides her church activities, Christina did volunteer work at the Knoxville Zoo and the Love Kitchen.  I rejoice with Christina’s family in all she has already accomplished in her young life and share in their excitement for her as she continues her education at Carson-Newman University and begins a career.  Christina has already been a shining example for those of us who know her.

Someday, Christina will be in my place looking back to this special time in her life.  That is hard to imagine!  But, it was hard to look ahead and imagine that adorable three-year-old wearing a cap and gown in a graduation ceremony on May 17, 2018!  I wish Christina much happiness and success and God’s richest blessings in this season of her young life!