Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Springtime Reflections

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Last night friend asked me what God has been teaching me lately as we walked home from the grocery store. This verse came to mind this morning as I was reflecting on that conversation and what I wanted to share with you this month in my blog. Don't worry, these two thoughts are absolutely connected! 

Every month I have such a hard time deciding what to put in this blog. I can tell you all about the events we have each month, but that's only part of what I do each month. So much of my work is tiny, seemingly insignificant. I don't have new students coming to know the Lord for the first time and cool stories of conversion each month. I don't usually have spectacular stories from my one on one Bible studies with girls. The stories I have are more like these (which are real examples, by the way!):

- how the Lord is softening one girl's heart towards her roommate who has been so difficult to live with and how she's been looking for ways to love and serve her the way Jesus would have. 

-how seven out of the ten student leaders in my peer team are in dating relationships and are striving to obey the Lord in their physical and emotional boundaries. They are such great examples to the community of what healthy dating looks like! 

-how a lot of the girls I meet with struggle with deep insecurities and with vulnerability, but how they're trying to overcome those struggles in the name of Jesus. 

-how one girl I'm studying the Bible with is recognizing that she's not yet counted the cost of following Jesus and has some serious thinking to do. 

-how some of the girls I meet with deal with high anxiety and bouts of depression, but are looking for peace in Jesus and strength in community. 

-how hard peer to peer ministry is for our student leaders, but how proud I am of them! They put aside so much time to really love and know their peers that they're reaching out to for the sake of the Kingdom. 

Gosh, as I think about each of those girls, I am so honored to be part of this work at UNT. It's pretty easy for me to get caught up in thinking I need to be impressive and have a lot to show for my work "prove" that this is worthwhile or important work. But when I look for the impressive, I get discouraged. When I look for the spirit-led and the things that the Lord is doing through me to make and mature disciples to the glory of his name, I'm amazed! These aren't impressive things, but they have significant life impact and I love getting to be part of this work. 

So how does this connect to the verse I shared with you at the beginning? The thing the Lord is teaching me is how all of these things don't depend on me and that I can't control people. For some of the girls I meet with, I want sooo badly to just tell them how to fix their life and to dictate what they need to do. I want to step in and fix things, but that is not my job! That's the job of the Holy Spirit. I can be used in his work, but I am not the main worker! 

There's absolutely a certain amount of frustration in that realization, but there's also a lot of peace. These women that I meet with and care so much about are in the Lord's hands. I am planting seeds and watering seeds planted by someone else, but I am not the Master Gardener. Praise God! What a hefty job that would be! I'm so thankful for this reminder of what my job and purpose actually is and that I get to share these reflections with you. 

Not to Leave Out the Cool Events! 

Here are some of the other awesome things that happened over the month of February! 



These two girls got baptized together this month! Erin (on the right) is a corefa (student leader) at UNT this year. Sierra (left) is in her core. I loved getting to see these girls make this step forward in making their faith their own and in following Jesus' commands. 

                       Family Night

This year's Family Night was my favorite one EVER. The testimonies from different parents who shared about how their child has been impacted by God through FOCUS since moving off to college was incredibly encouraging. 

What was even more special was how the Lord is working in the families at home through these college students. It's incredible to see the ripple effect Jesus has on these students' lives! 

  Art Show Outreach! 

Aaron Hollingsworth, one of my teammates here on the Denton FOCUS team, has gotten us connected with a super special opportunity! We currently have an art show in the UNT Art Gallery in the Union! The show artistically explores the ways in which interconnectedness and community shapes who we are. The artists at students within our ministry in Denton!

There's a reception today and March 10th open to the public. We're hoping to have some deeper conversations sparked by the art! 

Pizza Theology - Let's Talk about Race!

This is a picture from Pizza Theology - our semesterly lecture day where we explore a given topic more in depth and then eat pizza together!

This topic is so relevant and impactful. One of my favorite things this year was "Voices from Our Community" where different students, alumni and staff had thought through and written out their experience with race from a very personal perspective. It was heart-wrenching to hear what some of my friends have gone through because of their race. It was convicting to hear the ways that I identified with impactful moments of thoughtless racism. I've been thinking a lot about my own experience with race and my interactions with people of other races. It's sparked some really good conversations that I look forward to continuing with friends and students. 

If you'd want to listen to the lecture and "Voices of Our Community" for yourself, it will be posted here soon!

Fun Things

My friend and coworker, Sarah, got married!! WOOO! What a day to be part of!

The weather has been awesome! We've been loving spending time outside, hammocking and hanging out with the pups!

Ways to Pray

  • SICM Students: We've prayerfully invited 30 students from Denton to attend the Student Institute of Campus Ministry in Washington this year! Of those, 27 will be able to go this May. Please be praying for the Lord to be preparing their hearts and minds for what He has in store for them. Also be praying for successful fundraising for the ones who will need help paying for the trip.
  • SSI: Student Spring Impact week is coming up! This is where students from Western Washington University spend their Spring Break doing outreach on our campuses! It's such a fun mission opportunity for them and a really neat way to engage with out campuses here. Please be praying for safe travel for them and for the Lord to lead us in every way that week.