I am linking up at (IN)Couragers today! http://www.incourage.me/2014/05/the-power-of-encouragement-a-link-up.html
I will admit that I have always been an encourager. As a young child, I encouraged my best friend to be herself and not to let others get the best of her. I have sat with my sister and had numerous conversations about life and living and where God is calling her. I have continually encouraged her. I can't think of a time when I haven't been an encourager to others. I see how important it is to cheer on my friends and my family, yet there are times that I need that encouragement just as much as the next person. My soul needs to hear those words of comfort, of cheering, of knowing that I am not on this journey alone.
When I graduated high school and was looking for my first job, I wasnt sure where God was leading me. I remember my uncle encouraging me to work at Bible camp. So I decided to give it a go! It was the worst interview ever...I remember looking at the floor and never at the camp director. Yet he took a chance on me and then he couldnt get rid of me. I remember sitting with him and the program director during summer two when they told me they didnt think I would make it but they would take me as long as I would make it. But as you know, I did make it. I worked at SuperAwesomeBible Camp for approximately seven summers. And is the place where I heard God calling me into ministry.
After camp and while finishing college, I again found myself wondering what was next for me. I took a leap of faith and toured Wartburg Seminary with one of my friends who was going there to tour. The crazy thing is the moment I stepped onto that campus I knew that was where I needed to be. I remember saying, "God wants me here!" A year later, I started at the seminary. It was not at all an easy journey for me. I struggled but I still stuck with it. I remember how frustrated I was when I couldnt seem to get through my Systematic Theology class. But thanks to a professor who got me and my soul, I took the class as an independent study, we recorded our conversations, I went home and listened to them and then we talked about that conversation at our next session. It was how I finally passed the class! Without that professor and without my awesome friends, I know I would have easily given up but I didnt!
During seminary, another moment of encouragement for me happened with my advisor and my candicacy committee. We were sitting in my endorsement interview when one of the candicacy committee members asked me why I struggled so much with Systematics. I answered him the best I could. But the moment I remember the most is what my advisor said. He said, "You know how easy it would have been for T to walk out the door, shut the door and never look back. It takes more courage to stick with it." Those words were pure GOLD to me! They were the words that I needed to hear...that I could do this and I shouldnt give up!
When my sister and I became legal guardians for our mom, I was encouraged by friends to take this leap of faith. When I took this new call about six months ago, I was blessed by people who walked this journey with me and knew when to cheer me on and when to let me know they were praying for me and thinking of me. I am so thankful they are still in my life even though the miles still seperate us.
Yes, my life has been full of encouragers yet I don't always see them especially lately. Being in a new place I am so glad for the friends that have blessed my life in the last months. Yet I still struggle. Did I make the right move? Am I where God wants/needs me to be? Will I be good at this job? And so many other questions fill my heart and mind these days! Yes, yes I will be because God will place encouragers in my life to get me through those hard days.
One of the things that I need encouragement most for is not being afraid to take chances and reach out to other single women. At 35 years old, I am so ready to start a family, yet there is no prospects at all in my life! And that makes the waiting so hard! Recently my friend Sarah encouraged me to join one of the (In)Couragers Community groups. And my friends...I took the leap! I spent over an hour reading through the groups and listening for God's voice to tell me where he was leading me. The Lady N Waiting group was under the singles section and when I read their description, I felt this immediate sense of peace; a place to be me and to be with women who understand how I struggle and yearn for the encouragement to trust in God and Gods timing. I am so thankful for this community and we haven't even started meeting yet. But when I read one of the leaders stories this afternoon, it was as if my heart and soul jumped right off the page into hers.
So tonight I am thankful for so many encouragers in my life; my family, my friends (especially, you tonight, Miss Sarah), my seminary advisor Nate, my seminary professor Winston, those who took a chance on me at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp, my colleagues in ministry and so many more! May we continue to be encouragers to and for each other!