(The CSM Chicago team and I at the YMCA helping out with their produce day)
I can’t believe it.
My last group of the season is coming today.
Where did time go?!
I know I said I would blog during this time, and obviously I didn’t, sorry.
It’s been a whirlwind, but at the same time, pretty chill. This has probably been the best couple of months I’ve ever experienced in a while. From God growing me as a leader, to the ministry sites and the people I got to meet all around Chicago, to the groups I had, to my awesome directors and co-workers. Yeah, this was an unforgettable experience :)
One of the favorite parts of my job was probably getting to see the ways God is moving in Chicago. So many times we hear about the violence going on in Chicago, the corrupt politics, or our youth going crazy, and many times, that makes you a little bummed about the current state of Chicago. I know it has definitely made me bummed living here for four years.
But to get to see an awesome food pantry in Englewood (which is known as one of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods) and meet some awesome people from the community; to get to see an amazing ministry in Humboldt Park and having the opportunity to work with them, to seeing the multiple ministries in Uptown; it reminds me that even though, these neighborhoods and the people’s living situations are not ideal, that there’s beauty in the midst of all of the violence and poverty, and man, it truly is beautiful. I’ve been reminded every weekend since October how God is moving in Chicago.
Another thing that has impacted me the most while being a city host are the groups that I’ve had. They were all great, and all had their different personalities, but at random times I was reminded of how God still has his hands over our youth. To see junior high students crying over how God touched them during the day, and it makes you want to cry just because you were lucky enough to see this. Or how a group of high school guys can actually be pretty fun and it gives you hope for the men of God they will become. Sometimes I just have to stop and remind myself that THIS is my job. What?!
Something I have been learning throughout this whole time is how to lean on God for EVERYTHING. I have a Bible verse on my wall for this time, it’s 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul, one of my favorite leaders in the Bible, said this, and I could just imagine him saying this all like, “Look, you can follow my example, but just so you know, i’m following Christ.” That just changed my whole view of being a leader and how much I need Christ. When I am feeling bummed, I pray for God to give me joy, when I honestly don’t feel like leading a group, I pray to God for strength, when i’m not sure if students are being touched God shows me that he is moving through them. It just reminds how small my strength is and how big his is, and the fact that I can lean on his strength is pretty darn cool.
“It reminds me how desperate I am in this desert land, thirsty for your mercy and plan while you give me the strength to stand. You’re my greatest pleasure, yeah, no matter the weather I face, Lord you never forsake, my fragile life is safe under your sovereign grace.”
I just got reminded of one of my favorite songs by Beautiful Eulogy called “Anchor” that this quote is from. God has always been my anchor, but he has for sure been my anchor this season.
Now comes spring season. I’ve been asked to stay for spring season, which is pretty cool. I’ll have week long groups, which means I will be mostly busy with groups, but to be able to build better relationships with the groups, getting the chance work with kids, building more solid relationships with these ministry sites, and just seeing more of God’s beauty in Chicago makes it worth it, and I am excited to see him move.
Oh, and one last thing! We are looking for spring host! We’re looking for summer host as well, but spring is a current need right now. So, if you want a little taste of this beauty, and also get the chance to be my co-worker/roomie, then you should apply! You don’t even have to live in Chicago currently! Check out: http://www.csm.org/seasonal.php (CSM did not ask me to say this by the way.)