Back when I was a little tiny two year old with eyes too big for my head and little curls, God had a plan.
He had this summer planned. He knew what He had in store for me serving with CSM this summer and what it would take to get me there. He knew I would be in Nashville and not Chicago. He knew I would struggle with leaving and fall in love with this job. He knew the lessons and healing that I had to learn this summer. He knew that others would have to be obedient to His voice.
And I am so thankful that my youth pastor was obedient to God’s call. He knew back when I was only two that he was to take a group to CSM, not just any urban mission but specifically a CSM trip. Due to churches and locations he was never able to go until he came to our church. I was still too young to be in youth group when they took their first trip to Chicago. Then they went to Nashville. And finally when I was in 7th or 8th grade I went on my first CSM trip to Chicago.
It shaped me in ways I didn’t even realize back then. It broke my heart for a population that I felt was forgotten and overlooked. It opened my eyes to things I just didn’t see in my tiny town. And that trip continued to replay and those lessons relearned throughout the years. I knew after that trip that I wanted to do this type of work on day, but I lost sight of that for awhile and left it for others to do. I went on a second CSM trip to Washington D.C. and was reminded of feelings and lessons from Chicago.
This last October my friend Jessica was telling me her heart for inner city kids and ministry and I told her about CSM. We decided to pray and then we applied. And after a period of waiting and relying on God I entered the most beautifully wrecked summer of my life (thus far) :-).
This summer taught me more than I can express right now. God is continuing to mold and shape me. He has a work in me that is not yet complete, but I know he is faithful and will one day complete it. He broke my heart for what breaks His. He took me back to my foundation of faith and strengthened it; not always in easy or pleasant ways but always in love. He gave me glimpses at growth and was there as seeds were sown, watered, and harvested. He showed His sovereignty. He brought people into my life that made a deep impact on me, the way I think, and my heart. He showed up in big ways.
And it’s not that CSM makes God magically appear. It’s that while serving with CSM we are put in situations that require obedience to God’s Word. We are given schedules and days that are modeled after what the Bible says we are to do as Christians. We feed the hungry, we clothe the naked, we visit the orphans and widows, we love. And when we are in obedience with what God says Big things happen and our worlds are rocked ultimately for the better.
So I am thankful for this summer of growth and tears and service.
I am thankful for CSM as an organization and what they stand for as a ministry.
I am thankful for my bosses, Jes and Kristin who pushed me and required that I step up.
I am thankful for my fellow hosts who became my good friends and blessed my life immensely.
And I am thankful for Jerry Bush, my youth pastor, who with patience was obedient in the call God had for Him so that I may be where I am today.