Thursday, December 16, 2010

as one season ends, another begins

Sorry I haven't updated in a month. A lot has been going on. I went home the week before  Thanksgiving. I was back at Shelterwood for a week before flying back home for a weekend to celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday. I enjoyed being home with my family and seeing some of my closest friends. I also went to a UT graduation. I can't believe I graduated from college a year ago. I can't believe I turned 23 yesterday, and tomorrow I am graduating from Doulos as a Big! :) This year has been life-changing to say the least. And I am in denial that it is coming to an end...too many emotions to feel if I admit it! :)

Lately, I have felt overwhelmed - in a good way. The community that has developed around me here is such a blessing. There are 3 other girl Bigs with whom I have stayed up to late hours in the night having incredible conversations with. These conversations have been filled with laughter, tears, silence, and words spoken to bring life, healing, encouragement and challenges. It has been such a beautiful time together and they have become very dear to my heart. I feel so loved and encouraged by them. When we hang out together, I am very aware of the presence of Christ and enjoy how I get to experience who He is through each of them.

I have continued to grow closer to my two Littles that I spend most of my time with. Last night I got to take them with me to my birthday dinner with the other Bigs that were off and other house staff. I sat right between them and felt so blessed they could be with me. I can't tell you how much I enjoy them and how precious they have become to me. They are my sisters, not just here at Shelterwood, but in life. I start thinking about the relationship I have with each of them and how the Lord is allowing me to see Him working in their lives so intimately, and its hard to believe that the Lord would allow me to know them this way. They know me well, too. You can ask them questions about my heart and they will tell you what makes it hurt and what makes it happy. It is unbelievably crazy to me that I get to see them everyday and to be so close to them. They are beautiful and I love them so deeply.

As I said earlier, tomorrow afternoon I will be graduating! This is a time to reflect on the past 11+ months where the Lord broke me into a million pieces then put me back together. I have never been so broken before, but I have never felt so free. I have experienced so much healing this year. It is incredible! I don't even know where to begin to process all that happened and I know the Lord will use this year to continue to teach me things the rest of my life.

So as this year comes to an end, I am sure many of you are wondering - what's next? I am hoping to send out a letter over Christmas break to all of you who have supported me this past year. I am so grateful for the countless prayers, words of encouragement, phone calls, facebook posts and time listening to my stories, before, during and now after. I could not have walked this year without each of you and I am so grateful.

As the Lord has strengthened relationships I have here with other Bigs and Littles, I decided a couple months ago that I was not ready to leave Shelterwood at the end of the year. So, I have decided to stay here for another 8 months in a different role. Starting in January, I will be the new Doulos Discipleship intern. Instead of mainly focusing on Littles, my main ministry focus will be on the Bigs. I will be involved in their classtime, teaching a class at some point, recruiting new Bigs to come, living in the house with one of the house directors, and getting to invest in and encouraged the Bigs as they pour out to the Littles. I am so excited!!!! I basically feel like I will just get to by myself. :) I will still be on coverage in the house sometimes and can spend time with Littles when I am off. I will have a more regular schedule of only 40ish hours a week, which I am looking forward to. I will be raising support to cover extra expenses but I am looking forward to what God has planned. Joe is the Doulos Discipleship director, and I am looking forward to working with him and seeking what Christ wants to do in this ministry. My heart is for Bigs to truly experience all that Christ is and the power of the gospel and through that to reach the hearts of the Littles. I love the vision of this ministry for discipleship - to see lives changed by Christ as He restores broken families and brings hope by the power of the cross and His amazing love grace. He is so faithful and I find no greater joy than being a part of what He is doing in people's lives to bring freedom, joy, hope and peace - true life.

So that is what is next for me. I a driving home in a week for the Christmas season. I hope to get a chance to actually sit down with many of you and share stories and catch up in person. I truly am so grateful for you all and thank God for the many people He has brought into my life to reflect who He is. I love you all and miss you very much. I hope that you are blessed and drawn closer to Christ as we reflect on His humility as He entered out world and lived among us so that we might truly know Him. To Him be all the glory, honor and praise forever and ever! Amen. :)

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