Everybody's Got a Story.
Happy Monday! As it appears, I have not posted anything in quite some time - two months to be exact. These past two months, and in fact entire year, have gone by so quickly, and there hasn't been much time to sit down and write.
Today was the last day of my third year of university. Pretty insane to think that nearly three years ago I embarked on this crazy adventure, and along the way I have picked up some pretty unreal friends, made some ridiculous(ly) good memories and grown in who I am. I want to again, reflect, on some themes from this year. Since you're probably tired and pooped from exams reading this, I'll keep it real simple with some good old lists.
In September, you may recall me telling you about a book I read. It's called Scary Close and it's by Bob Miller. That book flipped my world upside down. Just the other day I finished reading Love Does by Bob Goff. That too changed my perspective on a lot of stuff. Cool thing about these books is that they work together...the author's are best friends, stood beside each other at their weddings AND wrote the foreword of each other's books. I'd say that's pretty neat.
Scary Close challenged me a lot in how I perceive love. Love is a pretty heavy theme in my life, regardless of the amount of romanticism involved. The chapter "Everybody's Got a Story and It's Not the One They're Telling" really struck a chord with me - who are we really when it comes to love? How the HECK can we love someone, again, regardless of romantic interest, if we don't throw away these crazy masks that we put up. I think I did that in my second year a lot. I put up a mask by spending too much time thinking about what other people thought instead of simply being myself. You're probably thinking, Katie! Where are those lists you promised! Well, here they are.
Top three themes of this year:
Learning to love unconditionally. This means loving when I'm not supposed to, loving when I don't feel like it, and loving people who aren't necessarily loving back.
Becoming "Katie" again. When I was a kid and my mom and I went shopping, we would rummage through racks of clothing before she would pop around a corner holding an item that we both gasped and would proclaim "This is SO Katie!" That sounds sort of cheesy, but it's pretty true. 99% of the time, the item had vibrant colour, authentic style or some weird feature that quite literally nobody else would ever think to wear. I remember my life always being like that - a bit quirky and out of the box. With that being said, being myself sometimes means being alone. I think we are built for relationships as God intended, so this idea is difficult to quite literally anyone. I've spent a lot of time with other people, and this year that changed drastically. I had to relearn my identity in Christ and my worth, and how I am centred in Him before I am centred anywhere else. I love that.
Re-establishing my faith. I have said this quite possibly a million times, but it is SO much easier to see how God moves in our lives after the fact. Come to think of it, I don't think it would make too much sense for Him to be revealing along the way what he was doing. That ruins our trust in Him. He calls us to these valleys and hills and Everest type situations so that we put our faith in Him evermore. It is naive to think that we won't ever have trials and tribulations, and so with that being said we can rest assured that our suffering is not in vain, it is for a purpose. His purpose. Bob Goff in Love Does says this in regards to living out authentic mission for Him: The ones Jesus first picked to follow Him started out typical, to be sure. They were unschooled and ordinary. Fishermen, businesspeople, blind people, loose women, rip-offs and vagrants. They were people who were lousy shots...folks who had been injured in life and patched together with gum and leaves and grace...what Christ-followers lack in velocity, they make up for in intensity. They are people who have experienced an intensely intimate friendship with Jesus and move forward with an intensity to parallel that experience. Jesus lets us be real with our life and our faith. [Talking about the story he just read] Maybe my BB gun doesn't shoot as far as the next guy's. That used to matter to me, but it doesn't matter to me anymore. What Jesus said we could do is leave typical behind. We could leave of the comparisons and all of the trappings and all of the pretending of religion. Jesus told the people He was with that it's not enough to just look like you love God. He said we'd know the extend of our love for God by how well we loved people." God allows us to love on others the way He loves us...the way he intended for us to love!
Finally, if you were to tell me one year ago that I could have done the things that I did this year, I would have laughed. I had the immense pleasure of being a part of some wonderful things where God pushed and pulled me a little bit more. Here are some "thank-yous" and some great initiatives that I had the sweet privelege of working alongside.
First off, my Mars' Hill team. Wow. What a semester. Although I didn't see each and every one of you as much as I would have liked, I KNOW these friendships are here for life. I grew as a writer, and that is great and all, but because of the conversations, crazy happenings and doing life together in a writing atmosphere, I was able to grow. I appreciate each and every one of you for the work you do for the school, but also how you challenged me to write better, be more prepared and speak out for issues that concerned me.
My contributors! This goes alongside Mars' Hill. The paper would legit not be what it is without the amazing people who write for it. You guys pushed me outside of my comfort zone in regards to editing, and gave me some wicked content to work with.
My track and field team (and coaches and Spartan department). Wow. My mind was easily blown this year in regards to the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make it easier for me to be a student-athlete and competitor as a Spartan. I am forever thankful for my unreal coaching team (Rob, Kim, Matt) and the support team behind the department, pushing us on towards success. My teammates, I am so thankful for the supportive atmosphere, great conversation, funny jokes (albeit constantly inappropriate) and wonderful times both on and off the track. I can honestly say that I have a family here, and I feel both comfortable and pushed to be the best athlete possible.
My roomie (and third roomie). If you haven't met Amy, you should. It's like living with your big sister and best friend. Wouldn't want it any other way. And A-dawg, thanks for the support and friendship.
My family. Wow. There were so many ups and downs this year that I don't really quite know where I would be without you. You kept me moving forward and delivered the cold hard truth more often that I would have liked, but always in my best interest. I think that you three (+) are the ones who believe in me the most, and so I can always come back to you knowing that you are my foundation.
Moving forwards, there are some BIG things planned! I had the unreal chance to speak with a close friend the other week about some of my dreams and future goals, and I thought why not make these a reality? I don't think there is anything stopping me from continuing to move forward with these goals, God permitting.
I'll be staying in Fort Langley for the summer. This was a tough one. I love working for the School District at home but Langley has so much to offer in regards to training, coaching and employment. I am excited to continue living with my awesome roommate!
Tying in with the last point, I get to stay here and train! I am excited to be closer to my coaches and am AMPED for the season. My goal is to complete at least one hep...of which I am terrified.
I am moving to Ottawa on September 5th to start school at the Laurentian Leadership Centre. This too was a big move, as it means track is restricted and my main focus is on school and my internship, but I could not be more excited to live with some of campus's finest. I am scared because Ottawa doesn't have any mountains...and my BC mountains make me feel safe.
Last but not least, stay tuned for BIG news coming May and June regarding the blog. There is lots in the works, and new posts and possibly a bigger and better site will be released come June.
Thank you for reading this and being interested in my life. I realize that there are quite a few blogs out there and quite a few opinions floating around. I think it's pretty unreal that we have the chance to share our love for Christ through writing, and I hope that my messages are conveyed with both love and grace.
Lastly, I had a sweet moment with God last night. This was too great to share and I think God moving in our lives is something to be celebrated. I was studying in the cafeteria with a friend and I felt the need to go outside to get some fresh air. The caf is a bit stuffy and the night was cool and crisp. I walked outside and just stood there, breathing in the sweet blossom-y air. Such a beautiful night. Stars were out in full force and despite being a Sunday night, campus was dead. SNA singing snuck it's way around the corner and into my ears. I stood there, palms up.
As I stood there, a lamppost light went out. I didn't think much of it and continued to revel in the beauty that this year has been. After about five minutes of just pure joy in my head, the light flickered back on. Huh. I thought. Suddenly, the light started to grow brighter and brighter until I legit couldn't look at the light. It was too hot too handle. But, I made my way over to the banner that was underneath the light and read out the verse: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." That's Philippians 1:9-11 if you're wondering. It's been the theme verse of my school for this year. I pick out the word discernment because I believe God gives us the wisdom to make choices out of free will, purely based off of what He knows is best for us. I remind myself that there are a lot of good things out there, but nothing is worthy to pursue unless it celebrates the love of Christ. He pursued us, therefore we get the choice to pursue Him back. That's beautiful.
Here is to the end of the year. I pray for discernment in your own life, whether that is with school, or relationships or the future. I pray for clear thought and that God would permeate every part of your life. Thanks again for reading.
Ps - top 3 fruits of the year, just to celebrate my LOVE of fruit and HATE for vegetables
apples - shout out to my main man. keeping it crispy since...well...ever.
raspberries - I think Amy thinks I am the raspberry monster...
blackberries - never eat alone, only consume in smoothies
bananas - you turn to the dark side so fast!
photo credit - Lucas Koehn