Hope has changed my life this summer. Hope Church, that is. The ways God has worked through that place and those people are incredible.
At the last week of The U, a few of us shared a bit of our stories and what beatitude we related the most to, as we had studied one beatitude each week throughout the summer. I went first, and it was awesome getting to just talk about my life and how I've seen God move in it, especially through college and this summer.
When preparing for these little interview sessions, Nicole told us she might ask us "In a year from now, if you were to be back here again, what do you hope to have seen change in your life?" She didn't end up asking me that question in front of the group, but it really got me thinking. A few days after that, I had a conversation with a new friend that I met through The U as well, and he asked me what my answer to that question would be.
So, here's my answer. In a year from now, I hope that I will have sought God wholeheartedly and unashamedly and lived out my life and my faith with a boldness like I've never had before. This past year has been full of such insane growth in my faith, and most specifically in the realization that I truly need community and accountability in my life. Before college, I tried to do everything on my own and didn't want to let anyone in; I didn't want anybody to be able to hurt me like I had been hurt before. But being in IV and my small group shattered that skewed perception I had in my head and showed me that vulnerability and accountability is so precious and leads to such depth and intimacy that then leads you so much closer to the heart of who God truly is.
I want to build on the momentum that's been growing in me this year and take my faith to new heights and new depths. I don't want to just live my life for me, sheltered in my little world. I want God to move mountains through me, to shine a light through me that is powerful and wonderful and that humbles me like never before.
I'm so excited for this year; for the opportunities and experiences I know lie ahead, for being back with my small group and the ways we'll learn and grow together, for just being back on campus, surrounded by believers and strangers and just friends all alike. I'm so ready for God to take my heart and shape it and perfect it and chisel it away to become more like His, in the best of times and the hardest and most challenging of times.
Next summer, I want to look back on my sophomore year and see God so clearly and vividly. I want Rachel to fade away and God to shine brightly. I know God is writing my story; I want him to be the star. I'm just a member of His cast, and I want Him to move powerfully in me and through me this year.
"Jesus calls you to be his intimate ally once more. There are great things to be done and great sacrifices to be made. You won't lose heart if you know what's really going on here, where this Story is headed and what your Lover has promised to you."
-Epic by John Eldredge