In the past 3 months, God has been at work. And He always is, but He’s training me to recognize it. It started when He began to draw me so close to Him. He lit a fire inside my heart and I began to desire nothing more than Him. I was seeking Him daily and I had a hunger for more and more of Him. I started a new job at an elementary school that I fell in love with immediately; I fell in love with a crazy bunch of fourth graders. I was chosen for a leadership role at Christian Student Fellowship, serving on Monday nights at an event calls “Shift”. I have the opportunity each week to make a meal for 200 hungry freshmen, and serve alongside some absolutely incredible students and adults. I was filled with so much joy, God was doing some really incredible things in my life, and He was teaching me and showing me all that I can be doing in order to glorify Him. God was whispering to “keep moving”, keep serving, keep working, keep smiling, keep showing them my love.
The first weekend in October, I was given the opportunity to lead a group of college girls on a Fall Retreat with CSF, and I was thrilled. 30 minutes before leaving for that retreat, I had a very difficult conversation with a man who I had spent the past 2 years with, and we decided to end our relationship. I felt that God was there during that conversation, and I felt that he was present when we made that final decision. With the tears still streaming, I left for Amelia, OH. I will be honest, I was broken and I was hurting. And honestly, I still am 2 months later. I contemplated not going, I contemplated backing out at the last minute. But I knew, I just knew that God needed me there.
I heard this metaphor back in the beginning of September, someone was going through a tough time and he said “I feel like an exploding pinecone” he paused, and then began to explain that when you light a pinecone on fire, instead of just accepting its fate and being consumed by the flames, it explodes and scatters its seeds. Instead of being destroyed by the flames, it combusts and spreads all that good that is within it spreading it to those around it. And truly, that weekend, I was an exploding pinecone. I was exposed to a flame, and I had a choice to simply be consumed and destroyed, but instead I made myself available, and I let God do the rest.
That weekend, God reminded me that I am His, and that His love is enduring. A song that I sing daily says “Unreserved, unrestrained, your love is wild for me. It isn’t shy, it’s unashamed, Your love is proud to be seen with me. “ What greater comfort could there be in realizing that you have a God, who loves you more than you could ever imagine?
The following week, I ran my first half marathon, and listened to the song “More Than Conquerors” by the Rend Collective on repeat for most of it. Side note, I went from not being a runner in the slightest, to being able to run 13.1 miles continuously. Can we just appreciate how rad God is?
I was asked to share in front of over 1,000 people, and speak my redemption story, and praise God for the beautiful creation that I am. I had the opportunity to speak of my struggles with anorexia and bulimia, and how God has rescued me from those illnesses. That was huge for me. I have never been one to be open to speaking publicly, especially speaking about such a personal topic. But I felt so much peace, and have heard stories of ways that my testimony has impacted others. I praise God because I am a new creation with a new purpose. (Eph 2:10 and 2 Cor 5:17).
Just two weeks ago, I spoke at an International Missions Conference in a workshop specifically for Freshmen Ministries. I got to share about what God is doing on Monday nights at CSF, and talk about what I’ve learned as a result of being in that leadership role. It was awesome, and it was just another example of God morphing me into the woman that He planned for me to be. One who is bold in her faith and willing to do whatever it takes to bring Him glory.
What’s next? I felt called, especially in the past month, to apply for a camp called Crestridge in North Carolina, and I actually just submitted my application last week. I am so excited to see what God does through this. The application for this job was like 9 pages long and had all these questions asking about your salvation, in order to assess your knowledge of the message of the Gospel and the purpose of the Bible. And I don’t want to say that I didn’t know how to answer those questions, but I was struggling to find the best way to go about answering them And just in the past 2 weeks, I was exposed to people who were just like “hey sit down, I want to talk to you about what the Bible is and why we study it” or “Let’s go over what it means to accept Christ”. Like I kid you not, I was having conversations with people who were answering questions on the camp application, who didn’t even know that I was applying for the job. Like, I see you God, I’m taking notes.
Stay in relentless pursuit of your Creator, the One who loves you more than you could ever imagine. Keep pursuing God, and pursuing opportunities to bring Him glory. I know that even while I was hurting, and even as I still am, I am able to live my life in such a way that brings Him glory. And more than that, I am able to find peace and joy in knowing that I have a God who loves me, and is confident in His love for me, and I am certain of His plan for me. And when I keep my eyes set on Him, I can be filled with joy in any situation. Run with endurance the race set before you; this is only the beginning, dear friends.
Watch my redemption story, along with others in the videos titled “Dirty Laundry-The Fall” and “Dirty Laundry-Redemption” at http://www.ukcs.org/dirtylaundry