Claim Your Future


To My Graduating Niece:

Dear Leah,

Yours has been such an interesting life so far; constantly moving and changing without ever asking your permission. From your birth in a military hospital in Hawaii to Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, you have been forced to start over and relocate just when you were getting settled. You’ve never been in one place more than three consecutive years. For this reason, I’m not sure you’ve ever had the luxury of a comfort zone; a place where you always know what to expect.

That’s a tough way to live. After all, it’s not easy figuring out who you are supposed to be when you’re on a roller coaster. 

It’s made it difficult for you to trust. People. Places. What is temporary and what is permanent? Does anything or any relationship last?

But you’ve handled it well, jumping in with both feet to find the right friends and create some great memories. You’ve discovered quite a bit about yourself along the way. That your strong will can be an asset once you are pointed in the right direction. That who you want to be and where you want to end up have little to do with your hair color. That the love of family is constant and covers the miles that stretch between you. That God lives everywhere and you are never alone. And that you are capable of doing anything. Maybe everything.

So now, with graduation, you find yourself at another crossroad.

More choices to be made. More places to learn. More people to meet. More challenges to overcome. You may be an expert at this by now.

But there is one big difference. Until this point, most choices have been made for you.

But all that changes today. From this point forward, the choices are yours to make. 

The future is yours to claim. You decide where you go to school, what you major in, your career, your spouse, when to go to bed, if at all, and whether or not to go to class. You choose what you will stand for and who you will stand with. And now, it’s as if every choice matters, and could change the trajectory of your life.

For the first time, you get to decide where you live for the next four years. You get to choose what and who to take from your past to blend into your future. You get to dig deep to see how far that determined spirit can take you.

Please know that God has a plan for your life, and when it comes down to it, His is the only one that works. With every opportunity you face, decide whether it pulls you closer to Him or further away. Cling to what is permanent; to those who’ve been here from the start.

The opportunities will be endless. You will have to learn where to draw your own boundary lines in advance. You have to learn to protect your heart. And your future.

I pray that God reveals your chosen path to you one beautiful day at a time. And I pray you’ll be strong enough to follow.

It’s your future. Claim it, instead of allowing it to claim you.

Because it is yours.

I love you and believe in you. I always have.




Janet Morris Grimes

Janet is the author of the book, The Parent's Guide to Uncluttering Your Home, released in 2011 through Atlantic Publishing. A wife and mother of three, Janet currently writes from Vine Grove, Kentucky on such topics as faith, family, and forever. She writes for Nashville Arts & Entertainment Magazine among other publications, and is an aspiring novelist. For additional information on Janet, visit her website at

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