Welllll, that was a bit dramatic.
Yesterday was my last first day of high school, thus ending my last summer while I'm in high school.
I feel like I'm nearing a cliff, unable to see what's below. But my pace is becoming so rapid that I can't stop...and even if I could, the speed and the mystery and the excitement is exhilarating, despite the occasional explosion of butterflies caused by a bump in the road. I'm so close to this end, and yet so far...and when I reach it, what next? Will I fall, or will I fly? Will I want to go see what's below or take to the sky?
Anyway. Before I get carried away with thoughts of the end of this year, here's a bit about this past summer.
I grew in my relationship with Jesus. He continues to fill me with wonder and draw me into a beautiful, passionate relationship with Him. It's really hard to be a Christian today and not get discouraged by the world and despair, but choosing to live in His hope and His love is always worth it. I also grew in my relationship with His mom, Mary. I know that a lot of other Christians believe that Catholics worship Mary, but we don't. Jesus entrusted her to His apostle John (and in doing so, to us) and entrusted St. John (and us) to Mary when He was dying on the cross. Mary leads me closer to Jesus...kind of like how if I want my dad to do something, I'll ask my mom first so that she can help petition him. Anyway, this summer I consecrated myself to Mary. Basically, I went through a retreat sort of thing in order to entrust myself into her care. It was really awesome and definitely helped my spirituality.
I met amazing men of Christ. At summer camp, I was awed by the incredible guys I met that are so desperately in love with Jesus it brought tears to my eyes. They really strengthened my resolve to keep my expectations high and hold men accountable. Also, they helped me to trust God that He has someone for me who will lead me closer to Him.
I met amazing women of Christ. Also at summer camp...they inspired me to trust more in Jesus and abandon myself completely to Him. They inspired me to let only Him define me. They showed me that it's not a one time thing, but an every day process and decision that's difficult but so, so worth it.
I lost a friend over my beliefs. That hurt. Unfortunately, though, it's life. We are called to share our beliefs with love. Sometimes, even when we're loving, hate is the response that we get. I struggle at times to still be loving even after that...but God always provides the grace necessary to fulfill everything He asks of us.
I set aside my fear and confronted someone who needed to be confronted. This was really tough. Like up all night before and sick to my stomach tough. But again, God always provides the grace necessary to fulfill everything He asks of us, and I truly believed that He wanted me to do this...so even in my fear, I talked to someone who had really hurt me. It didn't solve everything and things didn't necessarily get better, but I walked away from the meeting with a new found peace and closure.
I realized that a lot of people are fake. As negative as that may sound, I feel like it's a reality that everyone has to experience and discover in life. I also realized that I can't be the only person in a relationship to be making effort.
I unexpectedly gained a new best friend. A family friend came and lived with us this summer to do some interning for our nonprofit...despite living down the street from me when I lived in PA, Anna and I were never really close. However, this summer, we shared so much...from shopping and ice-cream and making dinner together, to deep late night talks featuring lots of laughing and tears. It was seriously incredible, I'm so blessed by her and miss her so much!
I spent lots of time with my cousin. If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that I'm super close with my cousin, Alex. We spent every day together in the summer when I lived in PA, so living four hours away from her is really difficult. Anyway, I was so blessed to be able to spend collectively about three weeks with her. We did a lot of fun stuff: put putting, shopping, swimming, typical girly summer stuff that was 100x better because it was with her.
I did a lot for Mass Impact, the ministry my family runs. I worked the table at our local Christian music festival and got to talk to a lot of amazing people. We also had a pretty big festival that we put a loooooot of work into. That took up most of the summer...but it was cool to serve so many families and help them grow closer to each other and to Jesus!
I'm feeling increasingly validated to do NET. I've talked about NET before, but for new readers-- NET (National Evangelization Team) is a ministry that trains and sends teams of young adults all over the country to do retreats for high school and middle school students. I'm in the process of applying for next year (2015-2016). I've definitely had some doubts as to whether this is what God really wants me to do...it's hard to give up a year of my life! Especially since I'm excited to go to college. This summer, though, God made it increasingly clear through other people's support and different events that that is where He wants me to be.
So there you have it, folks. It was an insane summer, and I'm looking forward to this school year God taught me so much this summer and blessed me in so many ways...cannot wait to see where He takes me this year.
How was your summer?