#rwanderingaround

We’re all different people – better people, I believe – because of our time as Fellows. And as we say – once a Fellow, always a Fellow. The program is ending, but our friendship isn’t. It’s just going to look a little different next year.

But, sappy emotional endings aside – June means something else. June means we’re all getting on a place and flying to Rwanda.

Little update on my time as a Fellow and our upcoming trip over at the Greensboro Fellows blog. Check it out, maybe?

p.s. Yes, I have officially dubbed that our trip hashtag. Not sure how the rest of the team feels but I’m determined to make it stick.

an update.

It’s hard to try and sum up everything I learned and experienced during my college years. In May, I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in Dance and a minor in Computer Science. The past four years have been incredible, and I’m thankful for the experience I had at UNCG. I made life-long friends, had many opportunities to perform beautiful choreography, and, of course, learned a few things. The past two years I’ve been attending Church of the Redeemer, where I found a church family that welcomed me, drew me into community, and pointed me towards Christ. I was also able to spend a semester studying abroad in Malta – a semester that was challenging but amazing as I learned to navigate a new country on my own. Also, as many of you know, I spent July 2013 in Kenya with Adventures in Missions. My trip to Kenya was an experience I’ll never forget as I learned to trust God in new ways, developed deep relationships with my team, and was blessed by the love of the people we met there. My time at UNCG challenged and strengthened my faith in ways I didn’t expect. It’s been a journey of learning how to trust, how to surrender, and how to daily walk with Him.

This year, I’m taking part in the Greensboro Fellows Program. The Fellows Program is affiliated with Church of the Redeemer and seeks to develop young adults to live in a Christ-centered manner in every aspect of their lives. The program integrates professional experience, leadership development at the Center for Creative Leadership, discipleship, volunteer work, seminary classes, networking with local business owner and executives, intentional fellowship, and a year-end trip to visit our sister church in Rwanda, Africa. The Greensboro Fellows website (http://www.greensborofellows.com/) has more information about the program.

There are six Fellows this year – Sean, Graham, Kyle, Stacey, Sarah, and myself – and we’ve become a family, along with the program directors, Tripp and Sarah. They have already blessed me so much, from sing-alongs in the car to faith conversations around the dinner table. I’m interning at C12, a company of Christian business owners and CEOs that seeks to develop businesses from a Biblical perspective. This year, we’re developing rhythms of prayer, worship, service, and fellowship that will carry us through the rest of our life. I love the rhythms we’ve been practicing, especially morning prayer on Mondays. It’s a gift to start each week together in prayer and in Scripture.

The Fellows Program is an adventure that I can’t take alone. In Greensboro, there’s an entire network of people that are giving of their time and talents to help us – host families, internship providers, mentors, teachers, people who feed us and pray for us and bless us. I’m grateful for this cloud of witnesses that makes this program possible and I could not make it through this year without the prayer and support of God’s people. Would you partner with me in prayer and financial support this year? The Fellows program costs $6,500, and I have already paid the first half of my tuition. This means I need another $3,100 to be fully paid for the year. If you can support me financially, donations are tax deductible and can be made on the website or by check. Checks can be made out to:

Greensboro Fellows
P.O. Box 4764
Greensboro, NC 27404
       Please put my name in the memo line.

This year is a blessing but also a challenge, and I would be thankful for your prayers for myself and the other Fellows. I’m very humbled and grateful for this opportunity to take this year to learn and grow, and I could not be more excited about what God is going to do in and through our lives this year. We’ll be sending out a regular newsletter, and I’d love to keep you updated on what’s happening in the Fellows Program. If you’d like to be on the list, please let me know. I’m grateful for your love, your support, and your prayers, and for letting me share this journey with you.

 

a gathering of thoughts.

scattered fragments. i think my jigsaw puzzle is a missing a piece, that one piece that will make it all come clear.

i’ve been looking under tables, but it’s nowhere to be found.

so here i am, well past bedtime, attempting to gather thoughts. rearranging them into scribbles and syllables, hoping that some sense will appear.

thoughts remain scattered, but still i catch them in my hands.

—–

learning, as of late:

if by some gift of grace you find those special people that are your people – hold them tight and be grateful for them. every single day. love them as well as you possibly can.

sit and face yourself. take a good long look. stop running. come to terms. make peace. you’re gonna have to live with yourself for a good long time, hopefully, so make peace.

whitespace. white. space. leave margins in your life. fight for them, if you need to.

it’s okay to look at yourself in the mirror and declare yourself pretty. really. you can do it.

love wins.

always leave five minutes early. or ten. don’t be late. cool kids aren’t late.

monday is rough. but she just wants a little love, like everybody else. make monday your friend.

celebrate. everything.

do new things. even if they scare you. especially if they scare you. don’t miss the adventure because you were too scared.

find people who are better than you. who love better. who live better. people who make you want to be a better person. and then, listen to them. watch them. learn.

ask questions.

—–

maybe i’ll stop chasing jigsaw pieces.

let my hands be too busy seeking beauty to fret about the missing pieces.

for the nights you’re feeling twenty-two.

say what you will about Taylor Swift, but she got a lot right about being 22.

cause there will come a night when you’re feeling happy free confused and lonely at the same time.

actually, there will come many of those nights.

don’t let them pass you by.

there will be a night when you’ve been out way past your self-enforced bedtime (which you set in an attempt to get a handle on this thing they call adulthood) and you’ll find yourself driving home at 2 a.m. and you’ll turn the heat on in your car for the first time this season, because there’s a september crispness to the air.

and you’ll be grateful for the friends you just left, the friends that will stay up till 2 to talk, the friends that will bring you anything you need when you get sick.

if you find those people – hold on to them.

and you’ll drive home and you’ll marvel at the lack of traffic on the streets, and it might hit you all of a sudden that you have no idea how you got here. how that many years slipped out from under your fingertips.

it might hit you that you have tonight. and maybe that’s it.

maybe you’ve never been good at that whole carpe-diem thing. that’s okay. but know this, darling, when you realize no one promised you another sunrise: you don’t want to wake up when you’re 70 and not have good stories.

no. you want stories.

you want stories of nights that lasted long past bedtime and best friends that stuck by your side and adventures down new roads. you want stories of mistakes made and lessons learned. you want stories that leave your listeners slack-jawed in awe and rolling on the floor in laughter.

if you want those stories, you’re gonna have to live them.

so if you find yourself in a car at 2 a.m. one september night, turn off the heat and roll down the window. let the chill hit your cheek, a gentle caress to remind you: you’re still alive.

you’re alive. and you’re collecting stories.

make sure they’re good ones.

you once told me.

you once told me

that i was created

fearfully

and

wonderfully.

but in this world

that surrounds me

and barely makes sense

it’s hard for me

to see the purpose

when i don’t even

understand

the inner workings

of my own

foolhardy heart

and tongue-twisted head.

this me –

this supposedly

fearfully and wonderfully me –

sometimes, this me does not

seem to fit

and i am left

with

half-completed phrases

tangled emotions

and hands

clutching at something

without knowing

exactly what they were reaching

for

or what they

want.

and so i

try to cling to the truth

that i am

fearfully and wonderfully made

but sometimes,

i must confess,

that truth rings false

to my ears.

goodbye, august.

summer is slipping away. she fell through my fingers quick this year, it seems. i guess it always seems that way.

there seems to be a theme of change echoing around these words of mine, lately. you might have noticed. september has always felt a truer beginning to me than any new year’s resolution could. the seasons change and everything feels a little crisper, a little sharper, a little hint of electricity in the air.

for the past 16 years, my life has been lived to the rhythm of the school year. perhaps that is why september brings with it feelings of fresh starts. sharpened pencils and blank notebooks.

and yet this year, it is different.

and so it has been a summer of adjusting. it’s settled in, now, really, that i am not a college student anymore.

first it was the tweets about packing. and then the instagrams of dorm rooms being decorated. and then, the facebook statuses about the first day of classes.

and it feels all sorts of wrong to not be there, and yet it feels right too. that chapter is closed and gone it’s time to move on but i’ve never really been the best with change.

i’ve been learning, how to sit with change. how to step back and let it all wash over you, how to accept. i’ve been trying to lean in. trying to delight. trying to let it be.

august, you’ve been teaching me.

i’ve been learning that the change does not come easy. and it is good and hard and beautiful and messy. oh, it is so many things. i could dump a dictionary’s worth of adjectives onto this keyboard and still, i do not think i could find the words to describe this summer of change. i can try and list it out, scribble notes and bullet points of things i want to remember.

i’m not so good at the remembering part. i have a tendency to learn my lessons over and over. let’s just say God teaches refresher courses.

but august – and july and june – you’ve been good to me.

and now september is peeking out from just around the corner. things will be changing. and i am longing for the electricity in the air. i will wrap my fingers around the beautiful things that this summer has taught me and i will walk forward with open palms, because there is yet more to learn.

wildwoman.

she’s done waiting,

done staying

done listening

done stopping.

she’s ready to unfold

unfurl

unleash

become undone

and remade

wildwoman.

she’s tired of the

words on every side

hemming her in

so she opens her hands

and gathers the words

in her arms.

she’ll stitch them

back together

in a way that she likes

she’ll rearrange your fences

she’ll make her own maps.

she’s seeking gold

all around

and finding it

already held in her palms.

she’s deciding she gets to decide

and when tomorrow comes-

or the tomorrow after

or the one after-

and she catches herself

shrinking small again

folding back in

smoothing her rough edges

she’ll find her feet

she’ll stand tall

she’ll stretch her arms

she will decide

over and over and over

she’s done waiting.