I have been here in Colorado for a week now! It is so crazy. I have been planning and fearing it for so long, and here it is. I was so blessed to be able to drive from Oregon to Denver with my Dad. It was a great time of bonding and honest conversation; I am so thankful for a Dad who makes that possible. It was a rough goodbye with my Mom, of course, but another reason I am thankful for goodbyes – they give you a chance (and often, force you) to be vulnerable and honest and tell people how you truly feel. I know my parents love me, but every goodbye just reinforces and expands that belief. I feel that way about a lot of the goodbyes I have experienced lately, that I never would have known the depth of the love I had for them and vice versa. Anyways, as we drove away from my home, I happened to notice the tip of a mountain peeking (“peak-ing” = punny, right?) out from behind the trees. It was one of those weird moments where I just felt God’s peace and knew He was trying to show me something. I thought maybe it was a picture of my life – that it is only the beginning, there is so much more to be seen. Just like the small tip of the mountain, I have only seen the tip of what God is going to do in and through me. I love that encouragement and reassurance from Him.
I also had the great blessing of seeing some wonderful friends along the way to Colorado – I am always blown away at the goodness of God when I am reunited with long distance friends. It was a wonderful journey of encouragement and prayer and I enjoyed every minute of it.
We arrived Sunday night and moved all my stuff into my new room – I love it and I love the place I’m living in! The woman I am living with is awesome and I can tell already that she is going to be such a great influence in my life. I had a few more days of quality time with my Dad before he left on Wednesday. It was, as you could guess, nothing short of a tearful goodbye, but before we said goodbye, we went on an adventure to the Red Rocks Park (and amphitheater), which was so neat. Basically it’s these huge red rocks (duhh) all around you, and there is a windy road and then a pathway that leads to this amazing amphitheater where apparently really amazing people perform during the summer months.
Something to look forward to!
But the highlight was when we stopped at a lookout point to pray together. We could see the Denver skyline and the mountains and it was just one of those moments where you can hardly take it all in and you pray with your eyes open because God’s creation is singing His praise! I will never forget that sweet time of prayer with my Dad.
Friday was orientation at the school! I was pretty much terrified. I had no idea what to expect, knew no one, and just felt so alone. I prayed a simple prayer before I left, “God, can I just have one friend? I just want to meet one person that I can be friends with.” You can probably see where this story is going, but I was still shocked by God’s faithfulness and His incredible ways of answering prayers. I walked into the school, found my nametag, and entered the main room where there were tons of tables set up. There was a girl about my age right in front of me, wandering the room looking for a table. She turned to me and asked, “Do you have a table yet? Do you want to join me?”
We sat and talked as a few other people joined us at our table. Soon our table was filled with people ranging in age from 22 to 44, from different states, different backgrounds, all with amazing stories. I was so blessed by the overwhelming feeling of community as we sat with strangers and shared our lives. I ended the day by going out to dinner and seeing Beauty and the Beast (in 3D hehe) with my new friend! She is a total blessing and, obviously, an answer to prayer.
I forgot how exhilarating, rewarding, and nerve wracking it is to meet new people and make new friends. It puts you in such a vulnerable state; ultimately, we all have that innate desire to be loved and accepted. I have been reminded through this process of the ever-important concept that our worth and confidence cannot come from anyone other than God and His love for us. When I begin a new friendship, I always worry that I am not fun enough, cool enough, mature enough. All prior self-confidence vanishes so quickly and I am suddenly my sixth grade self, starting at a new middle school. I find myself terrified of what other people will think of me, and trying to figure out the best way to impress and relate to people.
Before I left for this new adventure, I met with one of my mentors, possibly the most incredible woman I know – and she prayed over me that I would give freedom to people around me. That through my relationships, people would be free to be who they are, talk about where they’ve been and what they’ve done. That they would know the freedom that comes from our relationship with Christ. It was so powerful and motivating and, of course, God knew that exactly what she prayed for my relationships with others, is the lesson I personally was needing to learn from Him. So I think “freedom” is my word for the year, maybe even what I will name 2012… Because God calls us to be free – in Him we are New Creations, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. It is a shame to live this life in the bondage of insecurity and human comparison. We need to be measuring ourselves vertically rather than horizontally! So that is something I will be praying for, for myself and for all of you, dear friends – that we would experience the Freedom that comes from being loved and saved by the Creator of the world!
Orientation at a new school is just a breeding ground for small talk and awkward beginnings, but the beauty is the unknown road ahead. I think and hope that I found a great friend here during that awkward orientation. One of the things I am most excited about for this journey is seeing how God answers prayers. He answered a huge one when He brought a friend into my life. He is only going to do more and greater things in the coming months, I just have this feeling. (:
What I have learned so far:
I’m directionally challenged.
There are a billion Target stores here.
I love Colorado weather.
Gas is cheaper.
God is far greater than we can ever know or imagine.
He also has a sense of humor.
I can’t wait to get into my classes and meet more people. I miss all of you, my dear friends across the country, but I have never been more sure that I am exactly where God wants me.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be JOYful in hope, Patient in affliction, Faithful in prayer.