I never really thought I would be here.
I remember saying Yes, but I didn't know ALL that the Yes would entail.
I remember being excited, and at the very same time incredibly nervous.
I remember not liking my clothes, funny, but true. I mean after all my college "outfit" was hoodies and sweatpants... I don't think I had a personal style yet!
And I remember thinking I knew everything. At the same time I knew absolutely nothing at all. And could not figure out that tricky balancing act of being an "adult," but being scared all the time!
These were a few of my thoughts in June 2005, my first month on Young Life Staff.
And now 10 Years Later.
10 Years filled with faces, names, hugs, High 5's, lots of "Hey Friend", truthful moments, honest conversations, coffee dates, texts, laughter, meals and more meals, and sports galore. 10 Years of joy, pain, uncertainty, wilderness moments, standing on mountaintops, and surprising glimpses of seeing God more.
In 10 years... the schools have changed, Top 100 Music is different (but still gets so easily stuck in my head), I drink more black coffee than I used to, and still cry at EVERY pep rally I go to... they get me every single time!
10 Thoughts from the Past 10 Years on Young Life Staff!!!
1. I am Rich!!! YL Staff joke sometimes about not being in this "for the money," but friends let me tell you... I remember going to the gas station with Cheri, and looking at my ATM balance. I smiled from ear to ear, $700 was deposited in my bank account for my first month on Young Life Staff. I felt like the richest person in the world. I have realized in the last 10 years that I am so VERY rich! God provides MORE than I need every single day. And maybe not in all the ways the world would count me rich, but I am. He continues to give to me... In more ways than you have time to read, but He does. I have dear friendships, that make me feel like the luckiest person in the world! 10 years of loving friends and knowing them... Gosh, I am rich, and am living with such a sense of gratitude each day for the beauty of this life. A life filled with opportunities to watch our God work in the lives of those I love. I am Rich!!!
2. God is God. Breathe that in. I am not. Amen. I am not in control. I am deeply thankful. He knows.
3. I LOVE to Laugh. Joy is from our God, and for that I am SO grateful. I have laughed more in the past 10 years because I am around some of the FUNNIEST people in the world. I LOVE to laugh. I think I love to laugh more now than I did 10 years ago. Our God has a wild sense of humor, and I am able to see that more each day. Thankful the ministry of Young Life CELEBRATES and Laughs together! Thankful for a community of friends that encourage me to laugh more, and laugh often! HAHAHA... See I just LOVE it!
4. He Is Mine. So many things will come and go. I will fail. I have failed, and sadly it will happen again. BUT He is mine. He holds me. He shelters me. He defends me. He protects me. I have a lot to learn, but what I know... He is Mine and I am sweetly His!
5. It is an Honor. If I have ever sat on the floor of a cabin, talked truth with you, laughed, cried, and then laughed again. If I have ever cursed at you while doing the ropes course (yep, happened), danced with you, sang at the top of my lungs, watched God do a mighty work in your life, or prayed with you... It is an honor. If I have ever planned club with you, did contact work at the school, listened, shared, or leaned on you... It is an honor! An honor to be with with YOU, to know your face, to know your story. If we are not in touch now I treasure the time we WERE... (or you call me, maybe!). It is still an Honor... it is an HONOR to hold you before the Lord... an honor to treasure all those memories wrapped into the journey of 10 years!!! It is a Holy Honor to be a Young Life Leader.
6. My hair is still big. I think God likes it that way. I think middle schoolers do too! Haha, and they will always ask to touch it! This ALWAYS makes me laugh, and I whisper to the Lord, "Thank you for this funny hair!"
7. Doodle Dogs make EVERYTHING better... Yep, I just love them and love that people do too! Plus, Mason and Milo's fluffy faces make the hard days easier, and coming home MUCH more FUN!!! They have taught me unconditional love, and holding short accounts. God knew I needed two goofy, giant doodle dogs to remind me once again there is sweetness in the simple.
8. I will never do the ropes course again. I shouldn't. I won't. Fact people! But I will show up and be brave in what God asks me to do. Because I know the heart of God is FOR ME... He is for His people, His sons and daughters!
9. Being on a Young Life Camp Property makes my heart come alive. In a different way than any other place on Earth. I am closer to Shalom. I love what Matt Pogue shares at Timber Wolf Lake, "Shalom is nothing missing, nothing broken." Shalom is peace. I like Shalom. I want to live Shalom.
10. His Voice... There are so many other voices that compete for my attention each day, but HIS VOICE. I want to know His Voice louder, clearer, and more! His Voice is my foundation, my space to rest once again, and my invitation to be EXACTLY the way He has designed and created me... Made in HIS IMAGE BY HIS STRONG, Powerful, MIGHTY Voice! My desire is to cultivate a quiet heart, so that I can every moment of every day, hear that Voice louder than any other! Ah, the sweetest of HIS Voice!
The verse my first year on staff I held strongly to was John 6:29, "Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent!'"
That is the work. That is it. To BELIEVE!
I want to do His work, and in all things I want to believe in the ONE God sent. I want to BELIEVE in Jesus and His mighty power. I will believe more fully today. Believe in the mighty name of Jesus, and will continue to learn how to be MORE His every single day of my life.
There are still hard days, but I cling to Jesus.
There are still days I don't know what I am doing, and I doubt. There are days I am uncertain, and days I watch and wait.
However, after 10 years, my friends... l am more in love with Our God. The past 10 years is MORE... More than I could ever ask or could have ever imagined... I could never have dreamed up the AMAZING life God has given to me!!! I rest with our God, walk with Him, and watch Him work in ALL ways. I count the life I live a rich life, a high honor, and an UTTER JOY!!!
Thank you for being on this journey with me over the past 10 years, and to each of YOU... thank you for teaching me how to believe in Jesus!
In the next 10 Years, I want to know Jesus.
I want to believe Jesus, His promises, and His love.
I want to cultivate a quiet heart.
And in each new day as I learn to believe more fully, what I know is... Oh, How He LOVES Me So!!!
And you too!
We are HIS Tov Meod!!!