Today is one of those rainy afternoons, not much to do except to find ways to stay busy indoors. Fortunately for myself, this kind of task isn't too difficult. I decided the library would be the perfect place to get away and catch my breath while getting caught up on life and the tasks it brings with it. It's also allowed me to spend some time thinking upon all the craziness that has taken place over these past few weeks and the lessons I can take away from it all.
The weeks before coming into this summer training program brought with them unknown fears and expectations which I was unsure of how they would unfold. But as I look back over these past few weeks, some of these fears seem so minuscule while some new fears and expectations have developed. Let me expound on these a bit...
One expectation coming into this summer was that my team and I would be living in a luxurious hotel room, with plenty of space, an indoor swimming pool, continental breakfast, wi-fi and a location close to all the action. In reality, we are living in a very small two roomed motel, with three double beds and five girls all sharing one tiny bathroom. At first, it was a challenged to figure out how to cook a variety of meals from a small microwave and mini fridge. But I must say, I am pretty impressed by our creativity and preparation in order to eat healthy and plan out meals with the use of such small resources. Secondly, it has been kind of an adventure for me, living a minimalist life this summer out of a suitcase. The Lord has been teaching me in small ways to be content in every situation and that He is sufficient for my daily needs. From washing dishes in the bathroom tub to limited shower time on days when there is no hot water, God has been teaching us all what it means to put others first before your needs, (which is harder said than done). Thirdly, God has really been teaching me what it means to be intentional in relationships. One of my fears coming into this summer is that I would not just be a roommate and co-workers with my girls but a friend and a servant, and also setting the pace to live a life pleasing to God. This is also easier said than done. Especially after a long hard day at work when no one feels like doing anything. But I keep thinking on the verse found in Hebrews 10:24-25 "Therefore, let us consider one another to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another so much more as we see the day approaching." "Let us consider"... for me, this means being intentional about the time I spend and the example I set before these girls. It also means being intentional about the conversations I have with them, noticing their strengths and weaknesses and how I can "stir" them on. It means finding the balance between the "mother and father" roles as well as just being their friend. It also means that this growth does NOT come from me and my own strength but it all rest upon the Lord and His leading and perfect timing. I Corinthians 3:6-7 reminds me that as Christians we can be apart of the planting of the seed and the watering but ultimately it is God who gives the growth and the increase.
I also tend to want to see huge changes and big things happening in order to think God is at work. But obviously, that is not always how He works. But I can honestly tell you that He has been at work here in the Dells in many, many ways. One workshop we spent the night in prayer for those girls on our team still in need of meeting their goal for fundraising. Stress and anxiety began to build, and as Philippians 4:6-7 commands us to do, we spent time bringing our request to God in thanksgiving. It was so awesome to see donations pouring in over the few days, not only for my girls but for many others in the program. There is still needs to be met but God knows our needs and has and will continue to provide.
One of my fears coming into this program was that I would be inaccurate as a team leader and unable to relate to my girls. However, through my past experiences God has brought me through and the lessons I've learned from these varied trials, Romans 8:28 continues to be relevant in my life and with my girls as I spend one-on-one time getting to know each one of them. The things God has and is continuing to break me from such as; Independence upon my own strength rather than dependence upon His, perfectionism and performance, bitterness and hurt from ended friendships, conflict resolution, stubbornness, putting others and things before God and soo much more have all come into play and has allowed me to share my past experiences with each one of my ladies all while sharing life with them and having fun. God is so Good!
So, even though my fears and expectations coming into this summer are drastically different than the experiences I have had so far here in the Dells, what continues to be the same is God's faithfulness to me in every place and situation in my life. Looking back, God has really prepared me by the many different and unique situations and people He has brought into my life and who have poured into me so that I may someday pour into others. I am truly blessed.