Now entering the homestretch

Whew.

It has been a crazy month. I haven’t really written a legit post about what God has been teaching me over the past few weeks because it’s taken a few weeks for me to fully absorb and process. A lot has happened. Too much for me to fully get out here, but if you want to talk about it with me in person, I would love to go into greater detail.

For now, though, I will provide brief synopses in sections form for your reading pleasure:

I love the Bible.
I am getting really close to finishing the New Testament, and it has probably been the biggest blessing in my life this summer. I’ve probably read most of the New Testament over the last 21 years of my life, but never in a two-month span, straight through. God has seriously revealed some awesome parts of His Word and really used it to enhance lessons I’ve been learning through prayer, LT talks and from through other people out here. My Bible has become very colorful (because I’ve been highlighting a lot), especially Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and I Peter.

God has rescued me from a lie I have been believing.
For the past two years I have been believing something about God that is simply not true. I doubted His power and ability to restore people. He unfolded the truth about His omnipotence through a series of events, including a fight with a dear friend, the courage and strength of two friends and their awesome testimonies, talks with mentors and the words of many friends inspired to discussion by the testimonies. The awesome thing about this whole process is that God was not mad at me for being deceived. The moment the truth smacked me in the face, I thought, “Oh my gosh. How could I doubt God’s power in this situation? How stupid of me!” But all I felt from God was love, forgiveness and even a feeling that He was proud of me. It was a beautiful realization. I then realized today while reading II Peter that I didn’t just discover this truth about God; He saved me from the lie I had been believing. He came to my rescue because he is the hero of my story.

God has granted me greater confidence in my leadership abilities.
When I was first approached about leading a Life Group this summer, I was not happy about it. But over the past two months, through trial and error, amazing coaching from Mark and Macie and feedback from the girls in my group, I have gained a lot of confidence in my ability to lead spiritually. This confidence was furthered earlier this week when Drage asked me, along with Jake Wiig, to co-plan and direct Mizzou’s fall retreat. It’s huge undertaking, and I am a little worried about my time commitments from August-October, but I am so excited and honored to be able to serve my church in this way. I pray that God will help me with time-management over the next three months and that he will use me to give everyone an awesome retreat experience.

The concept of marriage has become somewhat of an idol for me.
Believe me, I did not want to admit this. That’s one reason I’m just now realizing it. As I mentioned earlier this summer, I struggle with believing that God has a plan for me to have a family. I told myself that it was something I struggled with occasionally, when something set me off. I am now admitting that it’s not something I occasionally struggle with. I struggle with it a lot. It hit me during Workshop this week. Dan Luk was talking about finding joy in God’s gifts but not making them idols in our lives. He asked us to identify a gift from God that we were putting before Him, and it hit me. He has given us the gift of marriage, and I worship it. I often feel that I will not be truly happy with God or trust Him completely until I have that ring on my finger. It’s a trust issue. I have yet to fully give over everything to God. I haven’t yet turned my head knowledge that God has a plan for me into heart knowledge, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to do that. I’m starting off by setting a goal to pursue God as a lover over the next school year. I am honestly really excited about taking Saturday sabbaths (Yeah, that means no football tickets. I decided.) to spend time with Him and to truly know Him intimately. Last night during service I broke down during The Stand” and “From the Inside Out.”

“And I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned.”

“My heart and my soul, I give You control.”

I prayed and offered God my heart, my heart that desires romance and someone to pursue me, and prayed that he change my head knowledge to heart knowledge this year.

I went down to Twin Sisters to pray.
Last Project Day, I was a little nervous to see a two-hour block of time carved out of our day for prayer. Two hours?! I was slightly excited at the idea of two solid hours of praying to God, but I was also skeptical that our Project could really pray for that long. We all went down to one of the basement meeting rooms in Twin Sisters and just started to pray out loud. There weren’t many guidelines, just to pray for LT and those around us. The first hour flew by. Not everyone ventured to pray aloud, but the stream of prayer was constant, and after an hour, Kelsey had to stop us to break us up into groups by school, or because we don’t have dominant school groups, states. (Mizzou, A&M, Illinois/Illinois State, Kent/Bowling Green) For that hour that I prayed with Thomas, Alexis and Joe, we were seriously fighting to jump in as soon as the previous person finished presenting their requests to God. We were all just so excited to ask God for great things this coming semester, ask him for guidance in decision, for healing in our friends’ life and so much more. It was a truly phenomenal two hours, and I am ecstatic that I get to pray for three solid hours in August for the Rooted retreat.

When we go through pain, we have a choice. We can get bitter or we can get better.
Great sermon by Mark Bowen. Take a listen here.

God fulfills scripture, He just may not fulfill your script.
Another great sermon by Mark Bowen. Take a listen here.

I want to come back here next summer.
I have had a great time out here, and since I’m going to grad school in the fall, I really can’t think of anything else I would rather/need to do next summer. It could be potentially awesome since a bunch of grad schools I’m looking at actually come out here. It could be a great opportunity for me to transition from The Rock to one of the communities at Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois State, Bowling Green or Texas A&M.

                I’ve got 9 days left in Estes, and I hope God continues to teach me things, even as I finish the homestretch of LT.

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