This post written out of thanks and obedience to God, because I believe He wants me to write this down so that I will never forget His faithfulness during this summer. I hope it is an encouragement to anyone who reads this too.
There is a point where you are in the middle of a growing experience with God and you can’t look back and see what He has done until it is past. That was my experience this summer. What can I say but to God be the glory for loving a sinful imperfect being like me. He is indescribably magnificent, and may my life never cease to bring Him glory!
As the Spring 2016 semester was coming to a climax with finals looming in the coming weeks, I was in my own spiritual turmoil with God. I felt the relief of summer approaching, but I also realized I had no plans. It was an ideal situation to be in. However, my heart longed to have a purpose, whatever small that might be in serving God during that time. I had seen so many summers pass where I lapsed into apathy about my relationship with God and never really sought after Him and His will.
I know it was selfish, but I was desperate to turn my energies to work for God’s kingdom after having my head submerged under the mountain of college life. I cried and prayed a lot during the week before finals, which is the exact opposite of what I should have been doing (studying). I urgently pleaded with God to give me something to do. I had thought about missions, I had thought about a job, getting more involved in Cru, or volunteering maybe? As I prayed, I began to write and pour out all these thoughts and desires to Him. I brought them before Him and laid them at His feet. At those moments, I realized that I could do nothing without God, and I asked for Him to open the right doors, whatever they may have been. I also prayed for the strength for me to walk through whichever doors He opened. Did I feel selfish and pitiful? Yes. Did I feel frustrated and confused? Yes. That is why God is to be praised and given all the glory for what happened next.
The next week, I was at my Worship Band’s practice in my church’s sanctuary. It just so happened that our Youth Group met that night led by the head pastor. I will fondly call him Pastor J.
Pastor J came sauntering through the sanctuary as we were gathering for worship practice. All I will say is that he is a big kid at heart with a big personality (Did I just say that?), and in the midst of our short meeting he playfully mentioned that if I did not have any plans for the summer, I should come intern for him. My worship leader laughed and asked if it was because he wanted another intern to torture (Pastor J already had another intern). I smiled and told him I’d think about it.
In fact, I did think about it quite a bit, because that Sunday I asked Pastor J is his offer was still open and he would be willing to take me on as an intern. Thus began my summer as a summer youth intern at our church. I had no idea what I was jumping into, but I was so thankful that God had opened this door open for me that I embraced it wholeheartedly.
I would have been happy just to intern for the summer, but I guess God wasn’t done. At the beginning of June I went my dentist for a check-up and he offered me a summer temp job as an assistant at his office. I was blown away at God’s goodness and still am.
It was a whirlwind of a summer. I spent hours every week with my pastor planning youth group activities and organizing a Youth Camp. We also were going through a study on hermeneutics together, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Wednesday nights were spent serving and leading at our church’s Youth Group. In the other days, I got to dress up in scrubs and learn the ins and outs of being a dental assistant as well as seeing more bloody teeth and root canals than I ever hoped to see in my lifetime. There are so many other small activities and events that made for a very full summer.
It all culminated in a weekend-long, much anticipated Youth Camp. I’m not sure how to put the experience into words. It was a blessing to the leaders as much as the kids. I think I really learned what it meant to be a servant leader at this camp.
During all this I was still struggling along in my faith and falling before God and and recognizing my failure in the light of His perfection and holiness. Oh how I treasured every moment He had blessed me with, and I realized more and more how much I really needed Him to take control in all aspects of my life including school.
I must admit that it has been hard to turn my attentions back to school once summer ended. I really was upset and tried to cling to what I had gained during the summer. I did not want to go back to the drudgery of school. However, God is not done with me yet. He is still refining me, calling me, teaching me.
As I read and pray, the one thing I am definitely taking with me from the summer is a subtle but clear message God continues to lay on my heart:
“Follow Me. Be my disciple. Let go of your life and let me take control. Do not worry or fear, because I Love you and have called you to the path I have laid before you. I will give you the strength to do the impossible and the peace and joy to abide where I have placed you. I am your God and Father. Never forget that.”
To be continued…