Thursday, September 8, 2016

Three Years Later

It's been three years since I moved to New Mexico.

Three years.
Some days it seems like I just got here...and other days it seems like a lifetime.

I remember the day I arrived pretty vividly... wondering when the flat terrain would turn into the supposed mountains that I was moving to. I remember being greeted by a good group of folks who were so graciously willing to help me unpack my too packed Subaru. I remember my calves getting complimented by a strange girl who would turn into a sweet friend. I remember feeling blessed by the space in contrast to my cramped quarters in New England.

I remember rooftop sessions with my roommate, summiting Baldy despite needing to stop every five seconds, working until the sun went down and then some, learning how to run a kitchen by buying food at Sam's and making large vats of chili and deformed, homemade pizza. I remember dropping a cake in a parking lot and still eating it with friends (picking gravel out of our teeth), I remember not knowing how to get around for weeks because this place was just too large. I remember wondering how we'd ever have enough staff to make it happen (I actually still wonder that), wondering if we'd have enough time, if we had enough money. I remember interviewing summer staff, assuring them that their summer would be awesome but admitting that I had no idea what it would actually look like-- still pleading that they would come willingly and unknowingly (I actually called that summer "The Summer of Unknowns").

But what I remember most about that time was that it was new. It was exciting. It was exhausting. It was risky. We were doing something that was known, but unknown. Doing something that was hard, but good. We were on a new adventure and weren't quite sure of the outcome.

Our boss reminded us recently that an adventure is simply a journey with an unknown outcome.

Moving to New Mexico has been exactly that: an adventure.

I never would have imagined that the long-haired, surfer-looking, turtle-tattooed man that I was communicating with when I made the move would be my husband a little over a year later. Our casual long-distance flirting would blossom into many a trip between Texas and New Mexico and late night phone calls.

I never would have imagined the ways that my job has changed or the things that I would be asked to do (and get to do). I never would have imagined the people that would come and go and the friendships that would form and the team that would assemble. I never would have imagined the thousands and thousands of campers we would serve. I never would have imagined serving thousands of burgers to over 1000 people in less than 10 minutes.

I never would have imagined the ways the Lord would move, the ways He would provide, the ways He would be faithful.

I remember when we welcomed thousands of campers in the first day of summer camp in 2014. We watched with awe and terror as they unloaded off the buses, played in the newly established waterfront, and crowded into the mud pit. And we fell on our faces when they gathered in Holcomb Auditorium and worshiped. Somehow, for some reason, it had worked. The Lord had taken all of our imperfections, mishaps and struggles from the last nine months and turned it into something where He could change lives. And we all knew, in the deepest parts of our hearts, that it was only because of Him.

I'd be lying if I said the aroma of excitement is still in the air in the same way it was three years ago. Things aren't as new, as unknown, as terrifying. In a lot of ways, that's a good thing...but sometimes I miss the unknown. Sometimes I miss the newness.

But man...
What a life.
I can't believe what I've gotten to be a part of. I can't believe what I've gotten to witness. I can't believe all the lives that have been changed and the ways the Lord continues to move through the efforts of hundreds of imperfect humans.

So it's been three years.
Three life-changing years.

And I just want to say thanks.
Thanks to the hundreds and hundreds of staff and volunteers and prayer warriors who have been a part of this journey. Thanks for the thousands of phone calls you made, for the toilets you've cleaned, for the sweat, for the tears, for the late nights and early mornings. Thanks for the miles you drove, for the doors you knocked on, for the conversations with youth pastors all over the country informing them of what God is doing here at Glorieta. Thanks for being a part of the story- whether you were here for a few days, a few months, a few years, or are here now.

You are not forgotten.
I know it wasn't easy.
I know it wasn't perfect.
I know it still isn't.
But I pray that when you remember your time at Glorieta (or any ministry, really) that you would believe that the Lord is bigger than all of the junk, than all the humanness. That you would know your efforts produced real fruit. That you would know the Lord used you, despite your humanness, to change lives. It's monumental.... and monumentally humbling.

Thanks for being willing.
Thanks for serving.
Thanks for sacrificing.

It's been an adventure... and, in a million different ways, it continues to be.
I can't wait to see what else unfolds and what else the Lord has for this place.

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