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17 July, 2011

Faith Life: Checking in Six Years Later

I once read a quote that said something to the effect that we find that we have changed when we come to a situation/place/person that has not.  And that is exactly what happened to me this weekend.

Eric and I were among 6 chaperones to take 32 teenagers to a weekend-long Catholic youth conference.  Now I have attended this conference about 10 times indifferent capacities: visitor, volunteer staff, youth minister

The Saturday night hour of Eucharistic Adoration is notoriously a time for teens and adults find spiritual healing, surrender, peace, forgiveness, strength, etc.  It is a very powerful night, especially for the teens who have never encountered our Lord this way.

Now six years ago, my first summer out of college and my second trip with the youth group I was recently hired to lead.  I had a Saturday night Adoration experience of that of a broken teenager; praying for things like healing my broken heart, helping me be a good youth minister, mending my relationship with my dad, forgiveness for a long list of mistakes I made in college, etc.  It was just as much a learning and emotional weekend for me as it was for most of the teens.

Year after year I have been coming to the same weekend conference. The theme and speakers change, but the over all experience is the same...well, that is if you're the same person year after year.  And I was, for probably my first three years as a youth minister; continually praying for freedom from the same sins and surrendering the same battles.

Now, I missed last year's conference due to attending Eric's family reunion, and at first I was disappointed, but I think it was a blessing.  I was able to attend this summer with fresh eyes and ears, and a different heart.  It was also fruitful that many of the keynote speakers were new and fresh.

This year at Steubenville Atlanta...
  • instead of agonizing over my own spiritual battles I could focus on those of the teens
  • instead of being emotionally drained from my own healing I felt free to pray and worship
  • instead of needing to hear the talks on chastity, modesty, and purity I could affirm and witness to the speaker's message
  • instead of praying about freedom from ex-boyfriends and agonizing over a future husband I was in constant thanksgiving for the AMAZING man that completes me in ways I never knew possible
  • instead of worrying about what the girls were wearing in the Communion line, I was deep in prayer thanking the Lord for the baby girl inside of me and how blessed I am to raise her :)

I was telling the teens in my small group how wonderful and freeing it is to realize that God has freed me from sin and burdon that I was carrying for almost a decade of my life.  Often I focus on what I need to be working on next in my spiritual life, yet I often fail to take a look a the past and thank the Lord for how he's answered my prayers.  This realization gives me hope that no matter what struggles I face now or will face in the future that our God is faithful, true, and gives freedom.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God… 
- Chris Tomlin


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