2017, what a year! Am I right?
This year was simultaneously amazing and unforgettable and also bland and forgettable. Each year comes with struggles of course (the great battles of the year), but each year also is equipped with awe. Maybe it is about balance? But balance overall, not at the same time. It doesn’t seem to work that way and be that easy.
The best place to start sometimes is the bottom, so my tale begins and ends here. The year was drastically better than 2016 – much of the struggles you can read in former posts – but this year, as all do, still presented problems.
Around March I lost my ‘mojo,’ including my motivation, my drive, my passion, and most important spiritually I fell short and felt drained. I had a rock solid start in the first 3 months – reading the Bible, speaking in tongue for the first time, classes were great, I felt unstoppable.
I’m not really sure what happened (as it seems to be usually). In an instant my mood can change without reason, but something shifted. I had changed, my life had changed, bad habits were gone and good habits came. Like the flip of a switch I felt unworthy, unable, and bland. There was a haze and I couldn’t come out of it. I kept telling myself I will get my ‘mojo’ back, but it did not come. Not until 2 months later when I left for Minnesota and had the best summer of my life (more on that in a moment).
When I came back I had an all time high – fuming from excitement, adventure, exploration, love, joy, and witnessing selflessness and community far more than I had before. I was unstoppable when I came back, but classes started, my boring 8-5 job had come back into reality for me, and days of summer past were just that – the past. So I ended my year with my monotonous day to day tasks, living routinely, living within me. Again, bland and hazed, not really living, just doing what I was obligated to do. But classes ended, work was out, weddings happened, and I was joyous. I love the holidays and even with being sick that could not be taken away from me.
Guys… my summer was simply AMAZING! GOD IS GOOD YALL! At the end of 2016 I applied for a job as a Public Relations (PR) Assistant for a nonprofit in Minnesota called True Friends. I was informed later all the PR jobs were filled but was offered to apply and interview for an Activities Counselor. *Follow the path to the fork in the road.* I would have taken the PR Assistant position in a heart beat, it is so close to my dream job (which if you are wondering is to work with nonprofits or NGO’s in undeveloped countries). So it was in the states, but it would have been amazing! My fork in the road comes in because simultaneously I applied to go on a mission trip to Baja with a group from my church and with there still being an opening I had to make a decision.
- Mission trip in Baja (This would have been incredible and my first mission trip!)
- Accept a position with an amazing organization even though it was not the position I had hoped for.
I had to do some praying because in all honesty I (Can I emphasize this more IIIIIIII) wanted to go to Baja for the 10 days instead of committing 14 weeks of my life for a position that was not what I had originally hoped for. But.. there is always a but… I prayed about it. God said (HE) wanted to me go to Minnesota.
“But Father, a mission trip is your work, I can spread your word and love,”
“But Shauna, Baja is not where I want you, just trust me.”
Ugh! Trust is a funny thing isn’t it? But I obliged, hesitantly, unsure, and not so joyously I obliged. I accepted the position as Activities Counselor and began my countdown to leaving 4 months later. God and I had a lot of conversations about this, me still not trusting but me acknowledging this is out of my hands and in his (Darn you guys, it turns out I CANNOT CONTROL everything).
Something amazing happened though. First understand True Friends has 4 sites and you can pick which one you want to work at. I applied and was going to be the activities counselor at Camp Courage. Anyways, AMAZINGLY a month and a half before my fly-out date I got a call from True Friends. The person who accepted the PR Assistant position at Camp Courage accepted a different position and I was offered the job and obviously I ACCEPTED.
Boy did I feel bad for not trusting God in the first place. This is how it usually goes for me. But I had the most amazing summer ever! True Friends works with individuals that have physical and/or mental disabilities beginning with youths to adults (pretty much open to everyone). They run several camp sessions throughout the summer tailoring to several people. I spent my time getting to know these individuals and the amazing staff and volunteers that pour their heart into this work. I interviewed and shared these stories, stories of people generally ignored by the larger population and it was eye-opening. I could not have imagined my summer any other way. I learned a lot about the difficulties these individuals face, I learned about their hardships but their optimism and undying hope. I learned about community and witnessed NOTHING being impossible. It was INCREDIBLE!
What Does All of this Mean?
It means many things:
- God is Faithful, He comes through. I wish I could say I will not doubt Him again but my dreams scare me, and what He has called me to do is scary, but I just need to remember He will come through
- It is okay to be unsure. I always want to know what is going to happen. I am a planner, a task-list creator, and I usually don’t like the unexpected. I need to brace the unexpected though, I need to brace what I cannot see, but being unsure does not make me a bad Christian, being scared is normal! The unexpected, the unsure, brought me a time in my life I never knew would or could happen and it was simply amazing.
- I am more sure now than I ever was that I am going in the right direction. It is so easy to get wrapped up in my own thoughts, my own needs and wants, and take the easy way instead of the “God way.” His way may not be as certain or clear to me, but I can and I do trust Him.
- It is okay to feel bland. Even in what seemed monotonous, I have learned to be okay with some things I do not want to do. I have learned peace and patience with the stillness of life. I always feel compelled to fill up EVERY SINGLE SECOND of every day, but there is something really beautiful about nothing. I have learned to take this time and let it be me and God, just us. These moments are invaluable and they are moments of growth and reflection which is what I needed last year. I needed to pause. I needed to cherish time with family and friends, cherish what is happening in the moment.
Going into 2018 I describe my life as “in limbo.” What do I know? I know I will graduate this year (Praise Jesus for this!), I know I will be returning to True Friends as the Communications and Marketing Coordinator (and I hope this is a time for me to learn how to be a receptive, active, and thoughtful leader, listener, and friend), I know after that I have no idea what will happen. I have something I am praying for to happen after my time at True Friends, but what God has in store for me is beyond me, and I am OK with that.
I don’t know what I will do with my degree, with my life, with the post-grad me. What I do know is God is going to do something amazing in my life this year, He will show me the way. I know this year has many changes in store for my life, some are scary, some make me anxious, and some completely change the lives of my friends and family, and I am excited for those moments. Whatever the good is, the bad is, the middle is, I am ready for it. So, to 2018, I am ready for you!
Until next time,