The Summer of {2015}.

The Summer of {2015}.


The summer of 2015 was my first experience with Disaster Relief, and little did I know how much it would impact me. That summer I was a member of a 6 person collegiate disaster relief team. As a group, we learned the practical skills necessary to safely cut down trees, care for children after a disaster, feed masses of people out of a mobile kitchen, run an efficient shower trailer, clean flooded houses, and effectively remediate mold. We learned how to clean and maintain chainsaws, the most efficient way to remove drywall, and the spiritual skills we would need at a disaster worksite. But for me, the summer ended up being so much more than that. During the summer of 2015 I gained family. I gained friendships that would stay with me for years. I learned what true community should look like. I met people that inspired me and cared deeply for the things of Christ. I gained another set of parents, ones I never expected. I learned about myself and I got closer to God than I had ever been before.

A word that comes to mind when I think of the summer of 2015 is growth.

You see, I allowed God to have every ounce of my being, and when I let him take everything, I grew in unexplainable ways. He took my pains and gave me a promise of healing. He took my doubts and crumbled them. He broke chains I didn’t even know were holding me down. I began to really grasp how Jesus changes everything.

God shook my world when he told me to break up with my boyfriend of four years, but he gave me the freedom to follow him unhindered.

He shattered my tiny worldview and what I thought I could do (and what I thought I couldn’t do) and told me that there were no limits to what he could do through me.

God showed me that trust is hard, but what’s even harder is not trusting.

He rescued me from so much.

In 2015 I met so many people whose whole world had been torn apart, literally. We removed thousands of screws from the kitchen of a man’s flooded dream house. As each screw was removed, so was a little piece of his life. But we watched as a song began welling up inside of him. We sang “Great are thou Lord” as we tore apart his home. That’s hope.

We witnessed multiple families and communities come together after being ripped apart by flood waters.

We heard the words, “I was going to end my life, but then you showed up” and prayed with the individual saying them.

We worked long hours and wore ourselves out so completely that moving another inch seemed nearly impossible, but we prayed and experienced the supernatural and unexplainable strength of God and finished the workday anyway.

I felt what I didn’t think I could feel when God broke my heart for the hurting, lonely, and hopeless. He showed me just how important it is to talk to others and love them through actions, to show them the love of Christ intentionally, especially when it’s uncomfortable.

In 2015 my life was flipped upside down and permanently altered. This community I had found, this family I had discovered, made me feel safe and loved and left a mark on my soul. It was a game changer for me. Those friends, my teammates, taught me so much and gave me strength every day to keep growing and striving toward God. We had an insane amount of laughs and heartfelt talks together. We learned that our focus should be on the people we meet, not the houses we work on. I still pray for them daily.

Those parents I didn’t expect to gain, they showed me what it’s like to love others and love each other. They modeled Christ’s love in every way and gave me hope for future relationships, and I’m so thankful for them.

I pray often for others to feel the intense and overwhelming love of God, to find a community and family that pushes them toward him. We desperately need each other and we desperately need God more.

I learned a lot in 2015, but I left a lot there as well. I left behind a lot of doubts and pain and distrust of others. I left behind a small view of God. I left behind scars and welts collected over the years, some physical, some emotional. I left behind the idea that I would change others, because I couldn’t. But god could, and he did.

One of the biggest things I learned in 2015 was that it is not about the big decisions, ideas, or actions. It’s about the little ones. God doesn’t want us to do a lot and he doesn’t want us to do everything. He just simply wants us.

He wants our attention daily. He wants our little decisions, our little ideas, and our little actions; the small things add up to the big things. He wants our pennies and quarters, not our dollars.

I’ve made it clear that I hold Disaster Relief and the people I’ve met through it near and dear to me, but the true object of that affection is God. God used Disaster Relief and the people connected with it to change my life and allowed me to be a small part in him changing the lives of others. If I can convey anything to you through this, it’s that God knows exactly what you need and is ready for you to give him every ounce of your being. He doesn’t want you to do anything for him or be anything specific, he just simply wants to be near to you.

Unshakeable Grace

Unshakeable Grace

The Summer of {2017}.

The Summer of {2017}.