MMmmmm, fall is HERE!
Some weeks ago now, as I was adjusting to my new responsibilities that the fall season brought, I was anxious that I would be so stressed out and struggling that I would miss the blessings of this season - that I would be unhappy instead of joyful. I am so thankful and give all praise to God that was not the outcome! I have already been SO blessed by this season, and it's not even half over!
Many of you know my heart for youth ministry. I truly feel, and know, that God's calling is for me to minister to hurting teens. Though I felt called to start my own ministry and think that might still be in God's cards for me someday, I wasn't sure what God's will was for me in terms of preparation for that and pursuing that during this new season, as I am so busy with work - two jobs, one full-time and one part-time after my regular job on the weekdays. (Praise God for both, for He is sovereignly providing for my needs!) God had that all taken care of, though. God has blessed me with the opportunity to serve as a youth group at Northern Hills Christian Church - my HUGE blessing of a home church. I am not sure I have ever belonged to a more awesome church! It's everything I was praying for and more. Though I haven't been involved with the youth group and the leadership team very long, God has already blessed me. The leaders are amazing sisters and brothers in Chris, and I immediately fell in love with them and felt like family with them. Youth group itself is so fun, such a throwback to high school which is fun in itself :) I am so thankful that God has called me to ministry in this season, because I felt like I was dying without it! I am so excited to see what He will do, in these children, in me, and through me.
As I have become increasingly busy, I have not had time or desire to cook on the weeknights. Nor, extensively, at any given point in my life. I've had spurts here and there, but they've never lasted long. To my own surprise, the Sundays of this beautiful fall have found me with the desire, the means, and the opportunity to begin cooking more homemade meals. I love the idea of a delicious home-cooked meal on Sunday :) The cooler weather makes me want to cook more than summer or spring do. And roasts are currently my cooking fetish. I have made roasted chicken and roasted pork. Now on to roast beef!
God allowed these two things, cooking and youth group leadership, to coincide this past Sunday in a wonderful way. I had again planned to cook this Sunday and had planned a meal I was excited to try. I wanted to bless a pair of leaders (married) and their family by cooking for them, and instead was blessed with two families! So I ended up getting to host them at my house and cooking for a total of 13 people. This was truly a blessing to me not only because I love to bless other people, but because I have wanted to be able to host my friends at my house for a long time and had never had the friends or the right opportunity! God has not only provided the new friends I prayed for, but the opportunity to bless them and host them in the home I love, and I was so thankful for that. Though it didn't go EXACTLY how I wish it had, it was pretty smooth nonetheless, and I'm glad I got to make their tummies happy!
Now I sit in my living room in front of beautiful fire and a lit candle and wrapped in a cozy blanket in the midst of a quiet house. These are more of the cold-weather blessings that make my heart SO happy. They also give me the rejuvenation I need to endure all the hours I must put in working. I am the queen of "cozy" - I LOVE all the cozy things... candles, fires, good food, blankets... fall leaves, or freshly fallen snow... they are my favorite things! Fall and winter truly are my favorite seasons, and Colorado is my favorite place to enjoy them. I am so thankful and so blessed to live here. This season has filled me with non-stop astoundment at how God has blessed me with the things I have longed for so long and how he has blessed me abundantly after I had been in such a dark place. It amazes me to see the differences in my life now and a year ago. God is SO GOOD.
Often when I think of these blessings and shake my head or smile in amazement and wonderment, I remind myself that this is a mountain top, and the hard times will come. But I know that the blessings God has given me are not only tangible. He has given me increased strength in Him, increased faith in Him, increased family in Christ... I know that the next time the serious trials come, I will be able to stand more strongly against them, thanks to the intangible things He has given me. Praise be to God.