As I stand, looking at my face in the mirror, I begin to feel old, worn, wrung out. The dark bags under my eyes tell of the sleep I've been deprived of with the busyness of life. The starts of lines and wrinkles from frowns and worry begin to show on my forehead. The eyes once full of joy and mischievous sparkle now drained and exhausted from weeping over loss and hurt.
The past year has not been easy on this face. As I begin to think on these things I remember all of the bad news, the pain, the loss, the rejection, the hard times, and the stress this year held. It was a hard year, and those are things I would not like to relive. But then, I remember something else... just a glimpse at first, but as I think on it, it begins to grow. I remember the joy from the news of each person who chose to follow Jesus. The laughter that was such a normal part of every huddle gathering. The love I felt having community gather in my living room every week to share food, fun, and Jesus. Seeing the smiling faces of friends when walking through the commons, long talks in the parking lot, the excitement of surprising friends on their birthdays. It's the little things that make life happy, and these are the things I want to remember.
Yes, this year was hard. Friendships were made and broken. Feelings were hurt. People close to me passed away. Others are moving away. Situations at school and at home caused stress, worry, and pain. And I cried more than I ever wanted to. BUT, in all of that, God continued to woo me, to love me, and to teach me. He taught me to trust. To trust Him, and to trust people. To be vulnerable and to let people in on the process with me. He taught me that it's okay to have feelings, and that it's okay to cry. He taught me that even in the darkest moments when I feel farthest from Him, I'm the one that left, not Him, and He's there with open arms waiting for me to turn back to Him. He blessed me with an incredible community and the best mentor I could ask for. And He used them to show His unfailing, unconditional love for me.
Life is hard. Trials come. People leave. But in all of it, God is working His plan for the good of His people. We may not see the good in it now. We may not see the good in it ever. But every situation is an opportunity to relinquish our perceived control, and to trust that God has a bigger plan that we can't see, and that He works all things for the good of those who love Him.
Yes, I'm nervous about next year... terrified really. Everything is going to be so different. Roles have changed, relationships have changed, people I can't imagine doing life without are leaving. But I know I can step forward confidently, knowing that my life is in Gods hands. That I have no control, but He has all control. And that He loves me and will always be with me even when no one else is.
"She does not fear bad news; she confidently trusts the Lord to care for her."
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Tonight I found and looked through the photo album we were given at graduation for the first time since being home from Semester. Reading the letters from the staff got me thinking. They said it in different ways, but most if not all of them said in one way or another, Summit Semester is the beginning not the end, we need to remember what we learned there, we need to create community wherever God leads us, and most importantly we need to keep Christ as our focus so our lives reflect Him.
Before leaving Semester, I had a conversation with Rachel, and then again with several others, about how we don’t want to live in the past, continuing to miss Semester and wishing we could go back instead of looking to the future and focusing on what God has in store for us. After reading the letters from the staffers I began to feel like I am doing exactly what I said I didn’t want to do. Every single day I think of something I miss from Semester, or I tell a story about something that happened at Semester, or I look through pictures from Semester. I know remembering is good, and telling stories is good, and keeping up friendships is good. But those things are not good if that’s all I’m doing and I’m not focusing on living well and serving God where I am now.
I feel like I am trying to serve God where I am and it seems to be accomplishing things. The small group I’m leading is going wonderfully and God is really working there. I have a couple of high school girls that I’ve found I’ve been able to step up in my relationship with and mentor and disciple them. But I still haven’t found anyone to mentor and disciple me. And I don’t want to become a cup that’s continually pouring out without ever getting refilled. But I feel like I’m not living up to my potential. God has given me so many talents and passions but if I don’t use them to further His kingdom they are just going to waste.
This is the part where I figure out the solution. Only one problem… I don’t have a solution. I know Jeff Myers would say “I know you don’t know, but if you did know, what would the answer be.” But I really don’t know. I am praying and will continue to pray about it.