heart of gratitude

I spent last week in Atlanta at a student ministries conference. A huge takeaway I got was that it truly does take a village/community to raise a child/student.

A lot of times we won’t ever get to see the changes or end results of the efforts that we put into being part of a season of someone’s life. I have often felt discouraged in my few short years of ministry and like my time and emotional investments haven’t made a difference at all in anyones’ lives.

Last week I was reminded over and over again of the big picture and thought a lot about my own story. When I was in high school only 8 years ago, I was a complete wreck. I battled deep depression and eating disorders, and in my senior year of high school I gave birth to a daughter who I gave up for adoption. I never would have believed anyone if they had told me that I could even begin to heal from any of that, and that I would one day be loving Jesus, working in high school ministry, and married to a pastor. God has quite the sense of humor.

All throughout last week, I was reminded that my heart is broken open for the students that I get to spend time with every week, and I am so grateful for every single person who had a broken heart for me when I was barely treading water to get through high school and through life. I am so grateful to so many people who helped shape me into who I am today.

Thank you for loving me exactly where I was, but loving me enough to help to crawl out of that. Thank you for seeing me when I felt invisible. Thank you for building me up when the world was tearing me down. Thank you for letting me wrestle with if and what I believed and letting me doubt and have questions. Thank you for showing me grace and forgiveness. Thank you for teaching me and challenging me. Thank you for listening and caring. Thank you for just being in my life and for showing me what it looks like to want to live like Jesus did. Thank you for showing me what a spouse, parent, and friend looked like. Thank you for not giving up on me.

You truly made a difference and I will always be grateful for the time, emotions, and efforts that you invested in my life. 

And thank you to everyone who has affirmed my calling into high school ministry, and molded me, and helped me see characteristics and abilities in myself that I never knew were there.

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