From Dedication to Graduation

Copy of speech_wrOur second son graduated from high school last week and flew back to the states yesterday.  His room, empty.  Our hearts partially so.  Being on the mission field, we realize he most likely won’t be coming back to spend any school breaks with us, not even during the summer.

Several have asked me, “How are you doing, mom?”

“Okay”, I reply.


Joe & Mom_wrAnd that is the truth.  I do miss him and suspect that feeling will only grow in the coming months.  But deep down, tumbling inside together with grief, pride, hope, and loneliness for him, is some sort of calm – an assurance or contentment or something I can’t quite put my finger on.


And though I don’t know what, I do know why:  because this is what we raised him for.

I was reminded of that in church last Sunday when a young couple dedicated their baby to the Lord.  I flashed back eighteen years and saw Mike and I standing with the guest preacher in front of our congregation doing the same. We promised to raise him in the fear of the Lord and to introduce him to the Savior. We promised to train him up in the way he should go. 

He’s gone now.  He took the diploma with a handshake, moved the tassel from right to left, graduated with a smile, packed his things, and flew away.

These eighteen years were too quick.

Did we do well? I hope so, as there is no erasing, re-writing, or editing to be done as parents. We’ve certainly had our share of shortcomings, but we raised him the best we knew how and now it’s up to him to walk his own path with God…

…and with our never ending love and prayers.


sr pic2_wr

Copy of Joe Hadinger Senior Portrait_050609_0968

Joe Hadinger Senior Portrait_050609_1023


Love you, Joseph!

5 thoughts on “From Dedication to Graduation

  1. Dear Ilona and Pastor Mike,

    Congrats on your son graduating. Now it’s time to reap the rewards of your teachings. God will honor that.

    Vic and Lucy Rodriguez

  2. Hi Ilona,
    So it is almost nine on a Sunday morning and I’m recuperating from 167 people going through our open house last night and David getting the last 20 kids out the door a little past midnight.
    I decided some quiet time would be good and sat down to catch up on email.

    You have become quite the writer and your article hit home with me, eventhough Courtney will only be a little over an hour away. Perhpas we’ll see Joseph this summer at church? Is he staying with your parents all summer?

    His senior pics are great and his major will be challenging but it’s nice to see a young man with such great ambition!!
    You’ve done well mom and dad!!

    Loved your newsletter! Have a wonderful summer.

  3. Aunt Ilona !
    You’re a great writer!
    And Congradulations to Joey !!!!
    Wow, it makes me just stop for a moment to realise how quickly time has gone by when i notice all of my cousins heading off to College .. i mean Lizzy,Miachael,Joey… and Danny and Johnny are next up in line . It’s so hard to believe they’re all leaving because a few years back we were just some young kids having fun not truly worrying about these things.
    But they’ve all grown up now.
    I’m going to miss Joey too just like everyone else, even though we never really see eachother or talk anyway. But God’s going to Bless him so greatly , he’s an amazing person .
    Once again, Congradulations to him and Congradulations to you .. for raising him up so greatly !
    Love you all . and Hope to see you SOON 😉

    1. Hi Gabika, Time does fly! It was the same when you returned from Hungary and we couldn’t believe how tall and ‘grown up’ you had become! Even though time goes by fast, as it will for you, the best way to spend that time is loving Jesus, living righteously, and not having any regrets or sorrow to look back upon. God is good and is able to keep us! I believe that for my kids, for ourselves, and for YOU, too! Love you! Aunt Ilona

  4. Hey girl!
    Bless your heart! This is one aspect of our dear missionaries’ lives that I cannot fathom!

    Sometimes I think we have something wrong! 18 years is not long enough… but then, I think it is just about right. Perfect timing for their wings to get just strong enough to take flight by themselves – with out falling.

    Congratulations and many prayers!


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