Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 8 Moments of 2013

8. SEEK 2013

I was thrilled to an inappropriate amount to be helping the events team at SEEK. I got to be a Special Events Subcommittee head, which meant I got to pop into all the non-main program meetings and make sure the room was set up correctly, the catering was all there, and the AV was good to go. I was basically a gopher, but I loved every second of it. 

At conference. I had a conversation with my friend Meg about how I really wanted to be an event planner, but I didn't feel like God wanted me to leave the mission of FOCUS just yet. We had some great conversations about the value of all work and the importance of being a light in every field, but neither of us made the connection that the events team could be an actual possibility for me. But being at SEEK confirmed my desire for event planning and laid the foundation for my move to the DSC. 

7. Spiritual Impact Bootcamp

I really struggled seeing my worth as a missionary at UNL. I did a lot of building and sending, where at Drake I was used to winning and building. I felt lost in a sea of 12 missionaries, and I was blind to my own worth.

Enter FOCUS' Spiritual Impact Bootcamp. A 3-day retreat focused on healing and encountering the Holy Spirit. This retreat blew the lid off of my struggles and allowed me to just lay everything out there. While the retreat itself was great, the aftermath was even more incredible.

My favorite experience was after admitting my struggles my entire crazy huge team prayed over me. It was humbling, beautiful, and I felt Jesus' love through all of them. The year ended and I chose to move to Denver. But fast forward to New Staff Training. I was telling a friend about my first year on staff, and as I was describing my struggles, I realized I was describing them from a healed perspective. I realized that since that moment of being prayed over, I had not questioned my success as a missionary. It was cool to see the power of Jesus' healing through the prayer of others.

6. Joining the events team

It's cool to look back and see how Jesus laid those desires upon my heart at SEEK and fulfilled them. It was such a cool discernment process. I was able to tell Jesus what I wanted and He let it unfold very slowly. I love this job so much and I feel so blessed to be able to work for FOCUS in this capacity.

5. Moving to Colorado

Moves are scary, and I honestly didn't want to pick up and start all over again. But I'm glad I did. The people, the mountains, the city...really everything, has been so great. I am glad I am here and hope to be here for awhile.

4. Subbing at Camp Tecumseh

I subbed at Tecumseh again for a week this summer, and this time it was less hard. I love that place and those people. It's crazy to think about what my life might have been like without camp.

I stepped into the staff meeting this summer really only knowing full time staff (I was now that old counselor in a sea of 19 year olds). The weirdest part was my old campers were now day camp staff. It was fun to see them around camp that week, and I spread the word that I wanted to take a picture with them at closing campfire. I don't think I've ever been more overwhelmed with love and gratitude in my entire life. I went to the back of campfire, expecting a quick picture. Instead I had nine Cayuga, Ojibwa, and Teton girls running at me and tackling me. I was quickly picked up. Millions of pictures later, my heart was so full and I thought I would just burst.

In that moment, I realized that as great as my pathfinder staff (they were top notch), my fellow counselors (who will be friends for life), and my bosses (people I look up to and respect the most) were, they were not why I love Camp Tecumseh. It was those kids and the hundreds more who had crossed my path all those summers before. Memories of ridiculous shenanigans, devotions filled with real tears, and the joy of watching kids become serious about connecting to Jesus raced through my head. I am so grateful for these girls and all the others who I was blessed to live alongside for 3 summers. 

3. Joining a parish

My tendency to get over-involved may or may not have kicked in when I first joined St. Jude's...you mean it's not normal to do High School Youth Group, teach Kindergarten RE, conduct the youth choir, and cantor at Mass? Whoops. Regardless of my supposed overcommitment, it has been cool to set into the "real world" of the Church. The goal of FOCUS is lifelong Catholic Mission, and I was just pumped to try it out. 

The more I step into the heart of the parish, the more my love for the new evangelization grows. I am loving my kiddos and the desire that everyone at St. Jude's has for discipleship. I am praying that my zeal for souls continues to increase and that I will be open to the ways Jesus wants to use me next year.

2. NST 2013

Ah, training. The most wonderful or most terrible time of the year. Insert 400 outgoing people who are stressed about where they could possibly be placed, trying to fundraise their salaries, and making new friends into the middle-of-nowhere Florida. Jam pack their days with graduate school level theology classes, community building, and retreat intense prayer, and you have New Staff Training. 

Though I kid about the craziness, NST is intense. It is spiritually, emotionally, and physically (I've never sweated so much) draining. But as challenging as it is, it is beautiful to be striving for Jesus alongside these 400 other crazy people.

I learned so much about who I am and who Jesus desires me to be this summer. I learned to sit with struggle and just let Jesus touch it. It was a great experience, and I'm looking forward to helping run it next year.

1. Pope Francis' election

Everyone loves Papa F, don't they? There's just something about him ...joy ...acceptance ...hope ...love ...Jesus...

Pope Francis challenges me. And it's awesome. And I hate it. No longer can I sit idle and feel a desire to love the poor. I must go. I love that he radiates joy and is drawing others to Jesus just by being who he is. He inspires me to be a better disciple of Christ.

What were some of your favorite 2013 moments??

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