First and foremost, I would like to extend my congratulations from the Board of Directors. We are so incredibly proud and inspired by all you have accomplished.

There are a few things I want you to take away from this evening. I want you to know you can literally be anything you want to be… ANYTHING! And I want you to know that God’s plan for you is far bigger than you can dream. He will take care of you in ways you’ve never imagined.

First, I want you to know you can be anything you want to be. Think for a moment… if you had never had any parameters put around you or been typecast or put into a category (gender, age, demographic, labeled as a teen mom), would you for a moment even question whether or not you could be the President, or a doctor, or a business owner, or a lead site manager, or the best mother to ever raise a child?

No, you would walk proudly into any environment and know you deserved to be there.

I want to tell you a little secret: you deserve to be there. You deserve to have a seat at the table, you deserve the job, the promotion, the raise and the business success. Focus on where you want to be, how you’re going to get there and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you can be anything you want in this life.

And that leads me to my other point. God’s plans for you are far larger than you can ever, ever imagine. The last 18 years have flown by for me. I just watched my daughter graduate high school, and it all came full circle as she was not only at my high school graduation with me, she also attended many college classes with me as well as my college graduation!

Along the way, God put so many people (we call them our village), in our life. He loved me, and he loved my baby. We are his children, and he took care of us just as he promised. And he will take care of you. He will put people and experiences in your life to guide you and take you on your journey. Listen to the little spirit within; it will be your compass. Know that a missed opportunity or a closed door simply means that there is something even better around the next corner. And trust that he’s got this!

I want to touch on something else. God trusted you with a fantastic child. I don’t think I even had time to stress about the hundreds of ways I was going to mess up this little life God had entrusted to me — we just had to put one foot in front of the other each day. But he created this God-loving, fantastic human being, and she has literally taught me more in the last 18 years than anyone I’ve ever met.

My daughter is committed and loves deeply, and she turns to God for all her struggles. She knows, without a shadow of a doubt, that God’s got her and that he’s got this. I frequently sit and stare in awe, hoping that for just one moment her confidence and clarity will rub off on me. But then I remember… God trusted me with her, he allowed me to raise her, and that is the biggest honor you or I will ever have in life. So soak up every moment, ladies, because I have to tell you, 18 years goes by in the blink of an eye.

Graduates, you amaze and inspire us daily with your heart, kindness, creativity, laughter and unwavering commitment. We know you will go forward and change the world and we will be walking beside you each step of the way. Follow you heart always for it will guide you; be proud in what you accomplish; fight for what you believe in; and continue to serve others with your kindness.

May the Lord bless you always!