I just finished grading the Journal entries for my students in Christian Leadership class where I was the TA. It has been such a privilege to get to know these guys and do life with them this semester. The teacher for this class is equally impressive as inspiring. They touched me, they moved me, they encourage me. God in them spoke directly to me. So much that I asked Him to share with me a final message for them as we close out this semester. Just thought some of these nuggets might hit you where you need it. MK
P.S. I’m a little annoyed that it won’t format correctly. Imagine line spaces.
P.S. again. I keep thinking of more and adding to the list.
What are lessons like these that God has taught you?
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I just finished grading your Journal entries. I read every single one.
There is probably much I have forgotten here below, but my spirit was so stirred by you and God in you. I would be remiss to pass up the opportunity to let you know what a privilege it was to have this glimpse into your hearts and lives. I want you to know that I will be praying for each of you as you earnestly seek the Lord in all that you do. Keep seeking. Always, seek. Seek that you might see.
We all come to the table with our own mixed bag of stuff, don’t we? Love one another, and love one another well. Life is messy. We’re all just fellow pilgrims on the journey.
Also, be vulnerable. Show trusted ones your hearts that you showed in your journals. People need to see our honest, raw, real lives. It sets others free. You all have such beautiful, kind, good hearts. We are all broken. It’s the only way. I don’t mean broken in the “live in your pain” kind of way, but the kind where the Light shines through. Keep your hearts and lives open to the Christ who loves and serves and saves, and available to minister to others through these places. (I will, too.)
Get help in the areas of your life where you need it. I’ve had the same therapist for the last 10 years, though some seasons I kept her busier than others. In a family full of ministers, she is the single-most person whom God has used to change my life. Get well in the areas you need it, gain wholeness for the hurt places. We are all growing.
Forgive your parents. One day you will see that they did the best they could with the tools they were given. Hurt people hurt people, and they probably are so caught up in their own pain that they didn’t know the devastation. I’m sorry your parents didn’t know any better, for those of you who had a sucky home life. Let it be fuel for all of us to make better lives for our own and others’ children. Deal with the pain that they caused, but then release them into God’s care so that bitterness doesn’t cripple you. Do it now before the time comes, and it will, when you aren’t able to do it anymore. You’re worth it.
Forgive old boyfriends and girlfriends. They’re not thinking of you. Don’t contact them. There’s a reason you broke up. Don’t hold on to them or the reason. Not worth it. (I mean, unless you were the offender. In that case, get with God and do what you need to do to make amends. (P.S. I’m pointing at myself for all of this, too.)
Just be a forgiver. No sense in walking around in shackles and chains for pride. No one owes us anything. Remember Christ died for our offenders, too.
Remain humble. Stay teachable.
Don’t make cheap mistakes. Let them teach you that you might teach others.
Don’t pay the price for cheap grace. It’s too costly.
Don’t get too big for your britches, even when -especially when- it comes to serving God. Walk in (true, not false) humility.
There is limitless possibility and potential in you. LIMITLESS. God is really, really big and we are really, really small. Remember this.
Do what you need to do to create those margins. It’s important. There’s no reward for being a martyr. Besides, we already have one.
Remember: You (and I) are not in charge of the Universe. This frees.
Don’t worry about who you will marry, or when that will happen. Pray for that person and then be released. (Let my life testify to this, even if it doesn’t all together encourage you. It is not the worst thing in the world to be 35 and still single when God is in your story. I promise.)
We are all our own worst critics and biggest obstacles, aren’t we? Relax. Don’t take yourselves so seriously. You don’t have to strive to become more of who you already are. Do the require work to become whole, and trust Jesus with the process. We don’t get to have all of this life-stuff figured out right now. It is very likely we will all continue to make our same mistakes over and over again until, in Christ’s mercy, the lightbulb comes on and we grow past it. Learn to laugh at yourselves. A lot. There is grace and joy for the journey in abundant supply.
Baby steps. One step at a time.
Only God promotes. And He will. Remain faithful where you are. Do the thing, no matter how small or thankless or insignificant it seems to be. He sees. He knows.
Remember: Everything is about your heart. And everything boils down to love.Nothing else matters on this earth without this being the thing.
Remain in a posture of hearts and arms wide open. Let this be your filter.
Don’t forget to breathe.
Don’t overestimate yourself. Recognize Christ in His story that is your life, always.
Don’t underestimate yourself, either. Recognize Christ in His story that is your life, always.
DO THE THING, that Jesus is calling you to do, no matter the cost. There will be a price to pay for following Him in this way. There will be times it may seem crazy or you might feel lonely. Press in. Go deep. It’s the only way. Don’t settle for a superficial, surface-kind of life in Christ. Be His friend, way deep in your soul. Be romanced by Him.
Stay committed to your race. Run your course, and don’t give up. Don’t look to the left or to the right. Keep your eye the prize that is yours in Christ. (And remember that there IS a prize!)
And on the days that you do get distracted and run down a rabbit trail, make it part of the adventure! Learn from it all that you can, get back up, and keep going! Suck the very marrow from all the bones of your life.
Know deep down in your bones that YOU are LOVED and YOU are ENOUGH. Hold onto this. Let it change you.
Continue to be good citizens of the earth just as you already are. Remember that this isn’t your home. But we are to be good stewards of it and those placed within our reach. Love the other mutants well.
Make good choices.
And in Prof’s own words: Keep a tough skin and tender hearts. Put on your grown-up pants. Don’t embarrass Jesus.
You move me. You bless me. I have learned so much from you and Prof this semester. You have blessed me more than there are words in my heart to express. Thank you for affording me grace for my journey, too, as I navigated my first semester of grad school while being entrusted to your care, and yours to mine. Thank you for showing me Jesus on days I couldn’t see Him. And THANK YOU for laughing with me. You are a delight and a joy and a BLESSING, to me and to many.
I believe in each of you -ALL of you- and in all that Jesus has created you to be. Do it. Be it. Live it. There’s no other way. Go for it. All the way. Don’t stop til you get there.
Kick your exams in the teeth! You got this!
Love you guys,