I was informed today by a dear friend that today marks the 100th day since we left FLI. Upon her recommendation I will do a 100 day review of my life since Focus.
There is no single word that can even come close to describing the past 100 days. They have been filled with joy, bondage, freedom, pain, growth, molding, and purification. There are many more words I would like to put in here, but I could go forever. As you can tell, many of these words contradict each other, but isn't that reflective of life. Leaving FLI I was on top of the mountain and slowly have descended, climbed, and descended. Life is up and down, and for so long I feared the valleys, and allowed Satan to make me feel defeated in these times, but as Dr. Thomason would say, "Battles are fought in valleys." I have taken his words of wisdom to help me feel strong in the valley, and to remember that we are to "Consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, because the testing of our faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (This brings me back to our running group, those early morning runs, quoting scripture and being vulnerable. I miss those days) This semester has been so incredible for me, due in large part to the wisdom of my professors last semester and also my wise roommate, AK.
The largest part of my growth is recognizing who I am, who God created me to be, and living in MY strengths and not in anyone else's strengths. It's been about daily dying to self and recognizing my real purpose on earth, which is to bring glory to El Qanna! Learning is a continual process, and God has shown me so much in the past 100 days. Most recently I have learned a little more about what it means to be a man, through a painful experience. My number two strength is harmony, and I hate conflict, I hate hurting others, and I hate the risk that God sometimes demands us to take. I learned that trusting God is many times not waiting around to the risk lessens and we can avoid conflict, but so many times trusting God is going into a moment of high risk and saying "God, I know this is going to be painful, I really don't want to do this, but I'm trusting You to give me the strength, and to be my shepherd!"
I have grown in the belief of myself. I have downgraded myself over the past year in my ability to teach. I have allowed myself to buy into these lies that I can not teach and that I do not possess what the stereotypical teacher possesses. Why yes this is true that I do not possess the skills that most teachers have, but I have my own strengths, maybe not the strength to be a great presenter and to present new material, but I have the strength to guide students to their own discovery, to make students believe in themselves, and the incredible ability to build strong bonds with any student quickly. I no longer define myself by others, but I know who I am, and I know the incredible man God has created me to be. Even now this brings tears to my eyes. I lived in the bondage of doubt for so long and it is so freeing to finally recognize who I am!
I have been so blessed over the past 100 days, and now Katelyn has sent my mind reeling trying to explain everything that has happened over this period. I have been put through the refiners fire this semester, and although extremely painful at times, I'm becoming purer and slowly becoming more like God. My desire? To be a man after God's own heart, to fully trust in Him (which is the most freeing thing ever), and to continually display the joy of all that God has done in me, never forgetting the blessings of God, and never losing the AWE for who He is! May all recognize the greatness of God, the splendor of being able to meet the creator in an intimate setting, and the incredibleness of being drawn into the Trinity with Him, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
FLI Alum - You have been such an encouragement to me and have taught me so much. I will never forget any of you and the journey I have shared with you. I truly was transformed by my time there, and each one of you had a part in that. Thanks for the journey!
I love all of you so much!!!!!