Our scripture passages were:
1How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 4 and my enemy will say, "I have prevailed"; my foes will rejoice because I am shaken. 5 But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 for sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. 20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 but now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
Real Life is not summer camp
A year of service while living in an intentional community seamed like the easy choice for me after graduation. I kept saying to myself “oh this will be GREAT! It will be like summer camp all year long! We will sing songs, read the Bible daily and just become one with God!” needless to say I was a little surprised when what I had expected to be a year long summer camp experience became real life. Soon after the year began we all went our own way with our job and with new friends that we had met. For me that meant working 8-5 as a Chaplains assistant.
My real life, non summer camp, intentional community soon became more hard work than I could ever have imagined. I quickly became homesick. In November I was in a car accident. I felt alone, afraid and betrayed. I began to shut down. I stopped trying to bond with my community. I was in a rut.
Reading Psalm 13 I can relate to what David was going through. “Why O God are you hiding from me?” “Why have you forgotten about me?” “Why is the enemy winning?” “WHY?” I am here! Doing YOUR work! Showing strangers YOUR love and your letting the enemy win! Even though I had all this anger and frustration built up inside me I continued to try and trust in the Lord. I was growing physically, emotionally and spiritually ill. I had no clue that by shutting out my community I was becoming my own enemy. I was doing exactly what Romans 6:12 warned us not to do: 12 therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.
I was letting my anger and frustrations have dominion over me.
As a Chaplains Assistant I visit patients on a regular basis. This job in by no means easy, in fact many days it can be overwhelming. I remember many days I would come home and cry for hours about the stories I had heard. I was constantly around people yet, I felt completely alone. Soon it was Christmas, then January, then Mardi gras. Still I was feeling alone. I had shut down and shut off my community.
Life was taking me in so many different directions I welcomed the spring retreat that we were going take in April. I was thinking I would be able to relax and re energize my self… I was partially correct. The first night we go to the cabin in Mississippi I was able to relax. The next day the hard work began. I was emotionally pushed with our discernment activities. And during the Afternoon free time I participated in “Get Fit with Kathy”. She had me running around the lake, doing crunches and all sorts of other stuff that I can’t remember. I had enough. I had a complete breakdown during the middle of the workout session. I don’t remember what I said or why I broke down. All I know is that something inside of me changed that day. My heart was softened. It was clear to me. I had become my own enemy. I was the reason I was not happy. Me! Not anyone or anything else.
I went back to work on Monday feeling refreshed and renewed. I had a major breakthrough and nothing was going to stop me from growing even more…That afternoon I got a phone call from my mom. My grandmother had just passed away. I was devastated. Because of my community I was able to go home and spend some time with my family. I came back a week later expecting everything to go back to the way that it was before the retreat. When I got to the airport Emma and Katie where there to pick me up. On the drive home they made me laugh and cry and just feel loved. I had never felt love like this from my community before. They knew my sins, they had put up with me shutting them out, and they knew all my dirty laundry and decided to love me anyway. I had finally seen that by shutting them out I was shutting God out.
A year of service while living in intentional community has changed my life in was that I did not know or expect needed to be changed. My heart was softened. These 6 people (and 1 dog) have changed my life
Tasha has taught me to not always be so serious.
Evan has made me take a look at the larger picture and see how what I do affects the world around me. Lauren has made me See that I am a good person.
Emma had taught me that It is okay to speak up for myself and have my own opinions.
Katie has taught me how to love with a pure heart.
Kathy (and Thomas) showed me that I am stronger than I think I am or ever could be
. All it took for me to see this was a little bit of trust. Trust in myself, Trust in my community and Trust in the Lord.
But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.