I tossed the pebble and walked away assuming it plunked to the bottom but no, it skipped and ripples followed.
Three and a half years ago Tonette Hayes and I met at the park and prayed for an hour. We had never met before, but we lived in the same area and both of our sons were beginning a very arduous year at Virginia Military Institute. I didn’t realize at the time we were in the midst of a holy moment. Last week, Tonette and I gathered with our extended families and watched our sons graduate at the top of their class and commission as 2nd lieutenants in the United States Air Force. Both young men will soon begin flight training as pilots, but even more impressive – both Patrick and Scott love the
Lord with all their hearts, and minds, and strength.
But Tonette’s and my prayers did not begin this ripple effect. From its founding, I believe parents and leaders were asking for the Lord’s grace upon the cadets and school. At orientation, Marilou Shepard, whose son was in his final year, encouraged me to sign up to become a part of VMI’s praying parents. Holden Shepard mentored my son his first year. You could not meet a more polite and honorable ambassador for Christ. Tonette’s husband, Tim, grasped the prayer baton as he administered the FB praying parents page for the 4 years our sons attended.
As Patrick can attest, before someone matriculates at VMI, you cannot really comprehend what you are getting into. To me VMI was known for a very disciplined, military life. What I did not realize was the great faith of many VMI graduates. VMI is a school that continues to matriculate and employ a large number of Christ followers. Men and women who live out the gospel amidst the strict disciplinary and honor codes.
In their final parade, prior to the Corps of Cadets marching from the field, the Institute band complete with bagpipes concluded by playing Amazing Grace. Each ceremony began with an invocation. Upon graduation, the cadets were handed a diploma and a Bible. My heart is full of thanksgiving to our Lord who did immeasurably more than Tonette and I could have asked or imagined that day back in October 2015.