Shared this last Sunday...
Today is a bittersweet day.
I leave for graduate school today and must say goodbye. Of course, I'll always keep tabs on you (creepily on Facebook), but it won't be the same.
Today is also a sweet because my departure has prompted me to reflect on all my memories of you and to say thank you. I am deeply grateful to God for you. He has always been so careful and intentional in the way He placed people in my life. And for the past few years, those people have been you.
Five years ago, I began a new chapter of my life as a post-undergraduate, not truly knowing where I was being called vocationally or geographically. I had a deep sense of wanderlust, and it was hard to be content returning home to Orange County. But God's plans were better than my plans.
My time here felt like a balancing act. I was working a few jobs, interning, and going to school. I often worried I was working hard for nothing, feeling incompetent and unaccomplished, and feeling insecure about my abilities in school and the workplace. There was an unsaid expectation to perform up to a standard that I, and what I perceived as others, had expected of me. I felt as though I was getting pulled apart and thinned out because I was placing my identity in all of the things I was doing. I quickly realized I was unable to depend on my own inner strength.
This is where you come in.
You never stopped declaring the truth of the Gospel of Jesus from the day I arrived. You preached it from the pulpit. You demonstrated it through your lives. You reminded me time and time again that Jesus Christ is my identity every minute of every day. I'm not defined by my work, my school, my issues, or my emotions. I am deeply love by the one who saved me from the worst thing in this life and in the life to come. You became to me a reflection of this reality.
Thank you all for encouraging my faith and reflecting Christ to me.
It is my prayer that God would continue to plant the Gospel deeper into all of your hearts so that the fruits of His work would be all-encompassing in every aspect of your life, and evident and enjoyed by those around you. Thank you for being part of my life, I love you all, and will miss you greatly!