Two weeks from today, 9 months and 4 days after I graduated Refuge for Women, I leave my position in rural Wisconsin as barn manager and spiritual mentor to a tribe of incredible teenagers to rejoin the world as a 28 year old college freshmen at a well known, highly competitive bible college in downtown Chicago. As an extroverted, fast-paced, competitive and people adoring woman, with a passion for ministry and biblical scholarship, I am over the moon excited. However, as one who struggles with a fear of failure, battles with turning over control when I feel scared, and trusting my savior in the unknown; entering a space where my identity, as one whom God pulled out of sexual exploitation and called into ministry, will need to be re-exposed to new people and risking potential rejection is kind of freaking me out. I am so grateful that, although I will need to go through the uncomfortableness of being vulnerable with new people, going to Chicago is also going home to my Refuge family who sees me and knows me in a way that allows me to be most myself.
School has always been something I’ve been gifted in, academia tends to come easy to me. Nonetheless, it is also an area in my life I have repeatedly run from when I’ve failed to live up to my own standards or when life’s circumstances and the enemies lies seemed too daunting to face. While going back now still presents with opportunity for failure, I no longer find my value in my achievements or the perceptions of others. I can go into this bright opportunity and know that my best is enough even if my best isn’t want I WANT it to be.
Mostly, I’m 70% thrilled. Though it is definitely bittersweet. I’m leaving my first ministry position at a place that was God’s provision of a home and family for me when I left Refuge after graduation. These people took a chance on me and I love them and the teenagers I serve so so deeply. Leaving them and walking into the life and big world God is calling me to hurts, even though I know it is exactly in line with His will for my life. I’m going to miss them more than I ever thought I would and plan to cover the walls of my dorm room with their sweet faces. God knew what he was doing when He sent me here. (Go figure) I now can’t imagine a life where I’m not loving on and pouring into teenage girls. While I’m eager to move on into this new time of learning and pursuing my passions, I find confidence in that I am taking these relationships and how they have grown me into this next season.