Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our Stories After College

316 days ago we all graduated from the most wonderful university and moved out of the house that was home for two years. Those 316 days happened fast, real fast. And then all eight of us were back together again. At the beach. For an entire weekend.

<enter prayer> Praise the Great Lion of Judah for best friend beach reunions. 

When we all come back together, we no longer come with the same stories. We come with different stories. Ones that the Lord has so perfectly written for each of us as individuals. My past 316 days look different than Sydney's past 316 days and her days look different than Elaine's. 

For the four years that we attended college together our days all looked similar and were deeply intertwined. We processed each moment together as they happened. But now our days are all different and we don't process together as we used to.

Now we are all long-distance friends. And long-distance friendships look different than the days of college when late nights together were the norm and a weekend apart seemed like eternity. 

Now we have eight different lives that intertwine in beautiful ways, but not quite as close as the vines of the McMansion. We are phone calls, letters, road trips, and plane rides away from one another. 

And when we all come back together again, we are hit with the reality: we do not understand one another anymore. 

We do not understand each other's days because they are all different. By the grace of God, we can try to understand; we can ask questions, listen, and share endless stories. But ultimately we're no longer all students, living in the McMansion, leading Young Life, and playing around in Chapel Hill. 

That's the thing that comes with long-distance friendships after college... you stop having the natural understanding of one another's lives. No one knows what it is like to be an intern at Crooked Creek Ranch in the Rocky Mountains and to have their world completely rocked by the Fraser Valley. They do not know, because that isn't part of their story. Their stories are their own. 

I do not know what it is like to be a seminary student ... or to have a full-time job in internet marketing research... or to be a graduate student ... or to live in Charleston ... or to stay in Chapel Hill after college ... or to be an intern at Trail West ... or to apply to school again to be a guidance counselor ... or to join a small group through the Summit church ... or to plan a wedding... or to work from a cubicle. I do not know because it is not my story. 

When you realize that your best friends, who once knew every single thing about you and your days, does not really understand anymore it is hard... really hard. Because, ultimately, we all desire to be understood and to be known. 

But then... Jesus. Jesus who knows each of us intimately. Jesus who is deep inside each of us. Jesus who gives us grace unending. Jesus who grants us understanding that goes beyond our human comprehension. Jesus who drew us all together our freshman year of college. Jesus who is the Author of the most beautiful stories. Jesus who is Grace.

He is the grace we give to others when they do not understand. He is the grace we show ourselves when we do not understand. He is the grace that is breathed through each conversation. He is the grace that allows us to forgive. He is all the grace we need. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Favor I Have to Ask

My heart is heavy writing this post. I come to you with an open and broken heart, asking for a favor. I am asking you to pray... to pray for the valley and to pray against the darkness. 

I have fallen absolutely in love with the valley I live in. It makes absolutely no sense why. We have had over 300 inches of snow this winter (all of which has had to be shoveled on camp), the nearest Target is an hour and a half away, and as the snow melts it creates mud (a lot of mud that absolutely covers your car). But I love this place. I love the way the snow looks like glitter some days, the community of people who love Jesus a ton, the high school of 350 students, and the possibility of an adventure every single day. 

While the valley is beautiful and one of my favorite places it is full of brokenness. It is a dark, dark place that is in desperate need for the Light. Amidst all the darkness and brokenness though, my heart aches and longs for something different. It aches for the people who live here to know Jesus and it aches for there to be redemption.

I weep over the darkness. And most days I am sure I have cried all my tears. 

I weep over the locals I meet who have never heard the name of Jesus before. I weep over the man working at my favorite coffee shop who is either high or drunk every time I am in there. I weep over a dear friend wandering from the Lord. I weep over the sins of the people. I weep over the goodbyes that I never wanted to happen. I weep over the sudden death of a high school girl's father. I weep over the people who think that drugs and alcohol can satisfy their deepest longings. I weep over the people working odd jobs that feel they have no purpose. I weep over the lies that high school girls believe that tell them they aren't enough. 

But in my weeping, I do my best to pray. I am on my knees asking Jesus to overwhelm the valley with His love. I am trying to believe the Lord for more here. I want to believe Him for change, for redemption, for hope. 

So today, I ask you to pray with me. Please pray for this valley. Pray for the people who live in Granby, Fraser, and Winter Park. Pray for the man in the coffee shop. Pray for Middle Park High School and for Grand County Young Life. Pray for my dear friend to turn back to the Lord. Pray for people to trust in something more. Pray for the Light.

"So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer." -Ezra 8:23

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you." -John 15:7

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." -James 5:16

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-- whatever we ask --we know that we have what we asked of him." -1 John 5:14-15 

I know the Lord loves Fraser Valley. I absolutely convinced of it. I earnestly pray that His Light chases out all the darkness. 

Come, Lord Jesus, come. 

And as my heart breaks for this valley in Colorado, I am sure your heart breaks for something too... whether it's a place, a person, or an injustice. And I want to pray with you, too, for those things. I want to approach the throne of the Lord, believing Him for healing in the brokenness that breaks your heart. 

So please, share those things. I would love to pray for you and with you. Comment on here or send me an e-mail ( with any and all prayer requests. I am utterly convinced that Jesus wants us to do this together. 

As I ask you to pray with me, how can I pray with you?