Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trying to Put it Into Words: The Village

I have thought about writing this post many times since getting ready to leave Living Proof. But how do you put two years of life changing experiences into one blog post that would not have y’all here reading for weeks. Well having been gone for a bit now and processing the past two years I firmly believe that it is straight up impossible so I am not going to try. I am just going to let the Lord lead me in writing and trust what He would share.

So when I was thinking about it, I had to go back to one member of this village who first impacted me when I was 18 years old. I honestly am not totally sure when I first met Amanda, I kinda just remember her always being there when I arrived to college. We pledged the same Christian sorority in college and were placed in the same freshman bible study. I had no idea that this person the Lord had placed in my life would have such a huge impact. My senior year of college I was blessed to obtain a prestigious internship in Washington, DC. Being the only in my family to go to college I was humbled by what the Lord had done and excited to see what He would unfold. But as the days became closer to my departure I was becoming increasingly scared and knew I was going to be out of my element. During finals week I was sitting in one of the main eating areas on campus and saw Amanda. She was getting married that summer and I was bummed to miss the wedding so I went over to tell her I was sorry and we ended up having a conversation that forever changed how I viewed my friend. Through the conversation I told her I was scared and didn’t know what to expect, Amanda calmly spoke truth to me, encouraged me and prayed with me for that summer. After that conversation Amanda became one of the main people I always reached out to in seeking advice when changing jobs. (And when you are in politics that is pretty often)

So of course the Lord would use her to be the link that helped bring me to Living Proof Ministries and the wild ride these past two years has been. Walking into the building I had no idea what to expect, I had just finished 6 and a half years in Washington, D.C. where even our informal moments were formal. And not to mention that my last job had been in the Pentagon, which in case you did not know is a much different world than Women’s Ministry. I knew I would really enjoy working with these ladies but I had no idea of how impressed I would be with the work they did. If you ever wonder about the work that is done at Living Proof Ministries I can guarantee you that those ladies and Curtis put everything into the work they do there. Not just their physical efforts but their spiritual efforts as well. They are the real deal. There is no better way to put it. They love the Lord with everything within them, and they love others just the same.

I have been blessed to work in many team environments where you are all striving after the same goal. It’s invigorating and allows you to build bonds and relationships that are rare. But I can honestly say I have never been in an environment quite like LPM. The Lord brought me into a whole new family that has forever changed my life. I was blessed to obtain some new sisters in the Lord, a brother and a handful of sweet mothers. Watching these women do life together challenged me in so many areas of my life. The Lord used each and every one of them to speak into my life, and bring me to a greater understanding of Him and how we are to pursue Him. My quiet times will never be the same and neither will my prayer life. I truly do not know how to express my gratitude to Him for these lives, neither do I know how to properly explain to anyone what the Lord did in my life through them. The best thing I could tell you is that He used them to bring me closer to Him and fall more in love with who He is and who He can be in our life if we allow Him.

Even if I never see a single one of their faces again (and that is not the plan so don’t get any ideas ladies!) I doubt I will ever get over them. They have affected me in a deep way that is only from the Lord. So before I cry here in Starbucks I pulled some fun pics from my two years to give a small view of my time there.

Amanda, Her Roomies (Maggie, Mel and Bonny) and I at dinner
(I think this is our Sophomore year at A&M)

This was the 15th Anniversary of LPM (and my first full staff picture)

No one celebrates you or your birthday like LPM! This was my first LPM Birthday!

No LPM highlights would not be complete without Starbucks. I grew to love coffee more here and a lot of fun times happened over coffee

And no one goes to lunch like LPM! Everyone together just about everyday trying to fit in one car. If nothing else happens in your day lunch was always an adventure and so memorable.

A highlight was a road trip to and from Austin in a 15 passenger van and lots of rain, I was blessed to drive for Di's daughters wedding. It was a blast!

This was the Village (minus Curtis and Amanda) in Israel, a trip I will never forget

This picture was one of the most stressful times in my LPM days... sitting in front of the group and Beth teased me that I was going to need to find Obidiah... oh the pressure. I still flinch when that book is mentioned.

Even everyday tasks are a blast at LPM! This was when the ladies spent all morning putting together some furniture and then moved it up in the tiny tiny slug! (I also had to get a pic of the slug in there! No tribute would be complete without it)

No one celebrates like LPM celebrates, I have so many memories from all sorts of celebrations with them. This was our Christmas party this past year.

The Road! Traveling was one of the duties I loved best for so many reasons. One small one was we usually had a lot of laughs on the way back! This was the day of Beth's heroic actions that saved many people in the Atlanta airport from slipping and falling.

I wish I had a picture of all the event coordinators at Lifeway! A unique group of women who I will miss just as much! Life on the road with them was always a blast! This is Paige (IGoM) and I in Seattle, she rallied to take a late night ride to the 1st Starbucks and the Fish Market for me!

Ron was equally as much of a blessing to me. A lot of laughs and a lot of business!

This is typical Rich... That's all I am saying!

This was Beth and I at the last LPL I traveled with her to.
The Lord sent me out on a strong Word from Him!

Travis and the Praise Team. Again no words for how much of a blessing these folks are. They have ruined me for worship with anyone else. They are gifted and bring you into the Lord's Throne Room like no one I know.

I had to bring this to a close with one of Amanda and I. This was a fun moment at the Christmas party for so many reasons!

The ladies who were there my last day sent me out like this, standing shoulder to shoulder. I am crying even now sitting in Starbucks remembering this. I have been blessed to serve along side them these past two years. And I know if ever I need these ladies for anything, I need to just call. I love them so and will take them with me where ever the Lord brings me from here.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Ok...maybe it is hormones, but I am just weeping. Sweet life. Sweet friendship. The pic at the end with Amanda, just made the tear squirt even harder. May God continue to bless you, dear sweet Michelle. Your Aggie Sister in Christ, Holly