Have you ever been so struck by the Holy Spirit that you could do nothing but cry? Have you ever been led by the Spirit to go pray for someone you only knew for 4 days? Have you ever been humbled by the Spirit in knowing that you don’t have everything as together as you thought you did? Have you ever experienced the grip of God’s love on you when you cried out to hear Him speak to you?
I spent this past week doing UM ARMY, (United Methodist Action Reach-Out Mission by Youth) for the first time. If I’m being honest, this was probably one of the most humbling and spiritually growing weeks of my life. I’ve done other mission trips where I have felt God but nothing has compared to what I did this past week. I want to share a glimpse of what I got to experience and I just pray that it would maybe show you how God can move.
My client’s name was Ray. He has stage 3 lung cancer but in every moment I spent with him, I never once saw him doubt God. He knew that God had something amazing planned and that God would remove this cancer from his body. He trusted God more than I have at times. I mean the person who had the most reason to be upset only knew that God was more powerful than anything. To have this type of faith in the midst of something that I’ve seen affect people I know was astounding. I also had the most amazing team of high schoolers that put up with my sass and worked harder than people I know my age. For these things, I give thanks to God, Ray, Lily, Mae, Luke, and Matisen for what I was able to experience.
I spent the week with 50 high schoolers who became some of the best people I have ever met. I met people who had wonderful stories to share. I met those who were mature beyond their years in their faith. I met people who challenged me to live a life like them. I met my twins and future seminary classmates. I met people who I could call family and for that, I say thanks to all those who were able to come.
Throughout the week, we went through the Apostle’s Creed and explored what it means to have a relationship with Christ and believe in God. I felt God move through those who spoke and shared their wisdom and through our worship team who did an unbelievable job. On Thursday night, something happened that I don’t really know how to explain other than God wanted to use me to help others. We went through a prayer trail that looked at the Lord’s prayer and had stations for us to reflect on what it means when we say those words. As I was going through each station, I began feeling God tugging on my heart and saying “Let go and seek me”. And I realized that I had lost sight of God and was going through the motions of life again.
We went into worship and to the last station where we wrote down what was holding us back from God and lay it at the cross. As I wrote, my heart started to beat faster and faster and as I finished my paragraph, I felt in my heart the words “now listen” ring. God said, “Pray for Amy”. And as much as I didn’t know how to respond to this, I said: “Yes, God”. But there was more. I heard “NO, GO pray for her”. And so I did, and as I told her what God said to me, she responded with “Absolutely”. I’ve never been the person to feel this from God or if I did, I never listened. But I knew it was the right thing because it was exactly what she needed to hear (her words, not mine). And so I give thanks to God for the opportunity to do His work and to Amy for letting the Spirit lead her as well.
Today, we left UM ARMY which was one of the hardest things for me to do. I love people and I hate to see them leave. I may have only known these people for 6 days but I grew to love and adore them. I wish it was longer, but this isn’t the end, not yet. I’ll see some of them later and I pray that I’ll cross paths with others at some point down the road. Thanks to all those who helped put UM ARMY on, those who took a week off of work to work with high schoolers, thanks for talks about predestination and other fun topics, but most importantly: thanks be to God for an amazing opportunity to be a part of.
Which leads me to this: Why did I title my blog “Build my Life”. Well, it’s a song that has been speaking to me lately. It led me to pull my car over and just give praise to God. The bridge goes “I will build my life upon your love. It is a firm foundation. I will put my trust in you alone and I will not be shaken”. I believe we all want our lives to grow. I believe we all want to experience God’s love and grace. I pray that God would open our eyes to see His glory and I just ask that we would not be afraid to be led my the Spirit and step out, knowing that God will walk with us. If we want to be changed, we need to let the Spirit lead us. Amen.