One Year.

Baby missionary me. circa 2013 
When I decided to join Hard as Nails, there were a lot of mixed up motivations. On one hand, I deeply desired to do God's will. I wanted to help people. I wanted to give my life over to something bigger than myself. On the other hand, I wanted to get away from my life. I wanted to travel. I wanted to not go to school anymore.

God works with our weakness, clearly.

Despite the fact that I wanted all of these things, I still found it incredibly hard to leave. Incredibly hard to leave, and then, incredibly hard to stay for another year. I was terribly homesick for a chunk of my first year, and the second year, less homesick, but still, I missed my home.

Yet, here is something that I know: if God had not worked with my weaknesses and taken me to Syracuse for those two years, I would be an even bigger mess than I am now. I would be a disaster. The formation, healing, and community that I received while I was with Hard as Nails was invaluable and I would be in some messy places without it. The time for prayer, the constant encounter with God's love, the human formation, it all made me a much better human than I could have ever been on my own. (And I thought I was helping people...L O L).

All because I gave God a year (or two).

I think a lot of times we get caught up in the idea that we have to do things a certain way. Like, go to college right out of high school, decide on a degree, get a job, etc etc. All good things. Sometimes, though, we ignore that often, right out of high school, you don't really know what you're doing.

When I was in school before my missionary year, I was studying something that I was good at, but was just not the right fit for me. The time I took away from school helped me to know and decide where I should go as far as school was concerned, and I couldn't be more happy with the direction I'm going in now.

If you are in college, or right out of high school, I encourage you to take a year to give it back to the Lord. Your life will be changed, for the better. If you can afford to give a year, do it! There is literally nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Here is another thing I know: college will still be there when you get back (scholarships and acceptance can often be deferred for a year or two). The minimum wage job you're working will still be there (or one like it, or better). Your friends and family will be there and they will still love you.

There is a great grace in being generous with the Lord. Consider being generous with just a year. You won't regret it.


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