LDI Recap: Just the 6 of us…

…We can make it if we try. Just the 6 of us, all you and I.

Two weeks without LDI and it’s hitting me hard. It’s a such a good thing that I’m finally experiencing what it feels like to not technically be an intern any more, but I have to be honest and say that it’s not easy. My days and nights were filled with 13 insane people who are so deeply in love with Jesus. I have become a BIG fan of each of them, but especially the women who walked alongside each other this year. I’m so thankful that these women taught me how to be vulnerable. These women were honest in their struggles, they were joyful in their everyday, and learned to trust Jesus all the more. Each of them taught me more about myself, my walk with Jesus, and relationships with others more than they will ever know. It’s a crazy thing, taking 6 women, who hardly know each other, put them all in an office together and throw in the bone. And you know what, it worked. There was hard stuff that we had to work through together, but in the end, the Gospel allowed us to love each other deeply, even through all our yucky sin. Thankful that God had it all worked out perfectly.

Beks isn’t pictures, but you know I luh her too.

LDI Recap: Utah Spring Break

In March, we were blessed with a week-long spring break where there were no LDI classes or ministry events. During this time three friends and I headed to Utah to go hiking and just chill out. This trip was instrumental in my faith as I got to see God is such a different way. I was hiking rock formations that God created, basking in the glorious stars He formed, and delighting in the fellowship He’s given me. It was such a beautiful trip, and it came at the perfect time. Praise God for always knowing exactly what I need when I need it. Thank you Jesus, for allowing me to wake up for views like the one above for the week. It’s given me a bigger view of who you are and how much you love to create beautiful things, not only in nature, but also in us.

LDI Recap: Servant Leadership

My brain and emotions are just about puttered out for this week. It’s been an emotional one. We graduated from LDI on Monday night; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are our last three classes, and I will begin to pack up my belongings and remove all of my stuff from the LDI office next week. I’m reminiscent about these last 10 months of LDI, so hang with me as I continue to take you through a recap of the last 10 months over the course of the next couple of weeks.

Here’s another recap:

I love, and I mean deeply love the five other woman (plus staff women) I got to stand alongside this year in LDI. They taught me so many things, but one thing in particular was how each of them came into their own as servant leaders. These women put in hours and hours of humble service at Hope in different ministries, and in their personal lives as well. They truly understand what it means to put Christ and others first and themselves last. I struggle with that a lot, yet God gracious allowed me to see them serve Him in so many ways. They encourage and humble me. So God, thank you for intricately placing each of these women into my life this year to show me what servant leadership looks like.

LDI Recap: Abundantly Blessed.

As of June 3rd, I will officially be done with LDI. I thought it would be appropriate to spend some time reflecting on the past 10 months of this incredible experience. Over the next couple weeks, you will find me posting pictures from my LDI experience. This will be my way of meditating on God’s goodness, grace, and love He’s bestowed upon me this year.

Recap #1:

Ryan, Paul, Tom, Rob, Danielle, Brittany, Alisa, Me, Dan, Jon, Katie, Bekah, Jason, and Ben

There is so much I could say about these people the Lord blessed me to do life with this year. They are funny, witty, intelligent, responsible, loving, caring, empathetic, strong, courageous, deep, passionate, thoughtful, attentive, understanding, compassionate, God-fearing and God-loving men and women. I’ve learned so much from them in conversations, in ministry work, and just by getting to walk alongside them in everyday life. Selfishly, I don’t want this year to end because our times of sitting in Horses, Systematic, and OT/NT classes will come to a close, however, I’m excited to see how God is going to continue to mold each and every one of them into people who love Jesus deeply and proclaim the Gospel in their every day lives. I’m honored to have gone through LDI with these 13. God, you have blessed me abundantly.

Superhero Unwinding

Define Superhero: a character who possesses extraordinary or superhuman powers [dedicated to protecting the public]. While I believe that the last part of the definition is important, I’m going to just stick with the part that talks about extraordinary or superhuman powers.

I want to start with a little story. Once upon a time, there was a little girl. She was given so many great things in her life: a beautiful family, some pretty great friends, a house to live in, food on the table, and clothes on her back. The others things she was given was the ability to talk and communicate super well-even manipulate others and situations super well. She was given athletic talent that she pursued over 13 or so years. She was given every opportunity to help serve the communities that she lived in through various organizations. She was given lots of leadership skills, ones that people normally have to work at to achieve, but she just had them. Mostly though, she, or at least she thought, she was given extraordinary powers that resembled a rubber band. She would be able to metaphorically stretch herself so thin by participating in all these different opportunities and activities, not receive any rest, rely on her own strength, and snap back into place immediately. Really, when people looked at her, they thought she was WonderWoman, and she liked that.

Fast forward 23 years. You may or may not have guessed it, but that little girl was/is me. For the past 23 years I’ve lived my life as WonderWoman. I even sometimes marveled at all the things I did in a given day. I would wake up in the morning, grumble at the idea of school, but eventually put on my big girl pants and WonderWoman costume for the day. I never wore anything but a positive attitude because trying to explain to people why I was down wasn’t part of my persona. The people needed WonderWoman, so I gave them WonderWoman.

Most of my self-worth had been wrapped up into the things I accomplished. It was wrapped up in how much I worked, how many raises, promotions, ‘good jobs’ and pats on the back I received. Much of my self-confidence was wrapped up into how people viewed me, treated me, and accepted me. And pretty much all of that self-worth and self-confidence came tumbling down when my strength could compete any longer, when I would fail at a project at work, receive anything lower than a B in class, or hear that someone thought of me being anything less than awesome. When those things happened, WonderWoman no longer existed, rather a normal young woman with sin and struggles. I didn’t like that. I didn’t know who she was.

And then  just last week, I learned one of the best lessons any young woman could learn: I learned how to kill the WonderWoman inside of me. The WonderWoman that I have been idolizing for the past 23 years is starting to be put to rest.

How did this happen you might ask? Through a series of really tough, faith-building events I would say. The last couple weeks have been ones that I hope not to relive, but they have been oh-so-good in so many different ways. The WonderWoman in me thought that I could go days on end without opening up my Bible and getting filled with God’s Word. The WonderWoman in me thought I could go days on end with only a few hours of sleep a night. The WonderWoman in me thought my prayer life could go on hold for a few days while I dealt with things. The WonderWoman in me desired to be that rubber band I held so near to my heart. I wanted to know that I could act according to my own desires and will. I wanted to know that I could control my mind, my heart, my soul, my actions, my everything. The WonderWoman in me wanted to be invincible so, so badly, and I failed so, so miserably.

And yet God used that time to bring me closer to Him. As I lay sobbing and wrestling for some sort of hope, God quickly comforted. He didn’t yell, He didn’t condemn, not at all. Rather God allowed me to experience the deepest Grace I have ever experienced in my life. God opened my eyes and showed Himself off. He showed me how deeply I need Him, how much He wants me to throw up my hands and surrender to Him. He showed me the community of people, the Gospel friends, who He’s given me to love me, encourage me, and remind me that the best thing about me is how God pours out His Grace. I know that I’m not invincible, but I serve the I AM who is.

While being WonderWoman was nice for a season, it doesn’t do any more, not since Christ took ahold of my heart. There is no point to live under my own strength, to try to go without rest or Scripture. There is not point of me trying to be invincible because I will fail ever time.

So WonderWoman, I’m done. I’m done idolizing you. I’m done thinking that I can do life on my own. I’m done thinking that invincible is my middle name. I don’t have extraordinary or superhuman powers, no, but I have God.

And let’s be honest, God is all I need.

This one is for you, Brittany Sprague.

One of the most wonderful LDI women of all times wrote a short little story of all the LDI women this year, and I’d love for you to read it here. I have to echo the sediments in this blog post. These women are that amazing. God did/is doing is awesome things through these women right here in Minneapolis. It is an absolute joy to live life with these beauties. We struggle together, cry together, laugh together (boy ‘o boy do we laugh together), and encourage each other. It’s a pretty amazing gig if you ask me.

You will find one rather lovely lady missing from that post. But let me tell you, she rounds out the tenacious 10 of us 🙂

LDI Women of 2011

I’m pleased to introduce you to Mrs. Brittany Sprague…

 

Mrs. Brittany Sprague has such a real view of life and a keen sense of fashion. Her clothes are always adorbs and her words are filled with wisdom. She lights up a room with her passion for Jesus and love for others. I see so many awesome strengths in her, but one that I’ve been blessed by is how she can connect to others. While we can all feel somewhat alone in this world at times, Britt always have the words to say, the scenario to explain, or hug to give, saying ‘i’m right there with you’. Brittany loves, loves, loves her hubby Ben and takes some beautiful photos (she even did their own engagement photos-how cool is this girl?!)  Whenever Brittany opens her mouth to speak in class, I just know something awesome and profound is going to come out. Her questions are thought-provoking and honest. I’m so thankful for the sunshine she brings to the women’s LDI office. I cross my fingers and toes every time I come into Hope, hoping that she’ll be here. Yep, she’s awesome-sauce and more. God knew what He was doing making this girl the way she is 🙂

Hey, pretty lady.

So there you have it, the awesome of Brittany Sprague. Now hop over to her blog and read about the rest of the lovely ladies.

On the first day, I questioned.

During the first day of the Leadership Development Institute, I looked around the Fireside Room at HopeCC and seriously questioned God. This is what I said to Him:

“So God, why am I here, in this room, with these other people? Why did you call 14 (!!) people to do Trek 1 of LDI this year? What do you honestly think that we can do here? We are just people who deeply love Jesus and want to see Him glorified. I seriously don’t belong here. I’m not good enough for this. I’m not Christian enough for this. I’m not ready for this, God. What could you possibly do with us, recent graduates, students, husbands, wives, fathers, dreamers, sinners?”

Then it hit me.

God can do a lot with us. With sinners. Because we realize that we are sick and that we need to be healed. God can do a lot with 14 Trek 1 Interns because that’s 14 hearts to continue to soften to the Gospel, 14 minds to blow and fill with knowledge of the Holy One, 14 mouths to pray for each other and our community, 28 hands to serve the body of Hope and our neighbors, 28 feet to walk toward Him. That’s 14 leaders to be built up to TRASH the kingdom of darkness.

God has been revealing to me just a glimpse of His glory-in the sunrise this morning, the worship at Hope, the community of people He has placed in my life, a place to live. God made these things happen. He called 14 Trek 1 interns to Hope this year. Hope wasn’t ready for this. Logistically, hiring on 14 interns is a nightmare, especially when the largest class of interns they’ve had so far was 8. Where were they going to put our offices? Were we going to feel like just another number in the midst of this growing church? How are they suppose to find enough work for 14 eager interns to do? Hope didn’t have these answers, but God did and will continue to provide answers. This first month has been tough, but so good for my soul. I’m so blessed and thankful to be apart of this class of interns. I eagerly wait to see what God does this year with Hope.

All I know is that there is a ton of intern-power to trash the kingdom of darkness. Word.