I've been MIA for the past three months, I know. There's a good reason for it, honest.
I was at the Children's Ministries Institute...which was, quite frankly, so amazingly beyond words that I can't even try to fit all of it into one blog post. So I shan't try, and shall instead just simply say: if you are at all interested in children's ministry of any sort, CMI is the way to go. It is the best training you can get anywhere, I'm about 99.9% certain.
So there's that.
Because I had such an amazing time, though, it was very difficult to say goodbye. Myself and my classmates (and a few of the staff people that live at headquarters) became very much like a family...so much so that our final, parting gift and "project" for the wall of pictures from past classes is an actual, legit family tree with our entire class mapped out as "relatives". No, we're not strange...
Well, okay, we are, but that's beside the point.
For the last two weeks, we were cataloging lasts.
Last trip to Walmart.
Last game night.
Last trip to the mall.
Last walk to the lake.
Last casual day.
Lasts are sad. And yes, we'll all see each other again, but it'll never be the same as it was before, when we were all living at headquarters and seeing God do great and mighty things all around us, and being in the midst of such a spirit of prayer and encouragement. We'll never be in that exact same situation, with those exact same people again. Because we're all changing.
I'm changing. My life is changing, moving on, growing, expanding. I'm about to start talking with the local CEF committee, looking at possible employment with them. I'll change as I find ministry partners, and change as I begin ministry, and all around the country, my classmates will be changing, too--getting married, or finding their own employment or getting a car or buying a dog. So all those lasts add up to one gigantic last. And that's sad.
But at the same time, it's kind of amazing. All those lasts add up to a chance to find a beginning, too. Yeah, our time at CMI is over, and that's really sad. I've cried a couple times. And I'll always love those memories--because my CMI family is amazing. But now, it's time to move on, and to grow and change and simply Be.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that came up a lot during my time at CMI. Our entire class took this as sort of an encouragement verse, the place we went to when things looked like they weren't going well, and I love the two verses immediately after it, too.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Corrie Ten Boom once said that "In the center of a hurricane there is absolute peace and quiet. There is no safer place than in the center of the will of God."
A little known fact about me is that I hate change. I really do. I love it, but I hate it, all at the same time. Change means the unfamiliar. Change means doing something I'm not good at, am not experienced with. And it's pride that makes that 'bad', yes, but there it is. So as I step out into this new beginning, into this adult world of ministry and teacher training and pastor calls and ministry coordination...I'm scared silly. But God knows the plans He has for me. I am safe in the center of His will. And in the end, it will be enough to stand before His throne and hear him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
- Kyla Denae