Milestones

Standard

I have two things to write about…today marks two different milestones in my life.

One year ago, yesterday, I piled my stuff in several cars and made the trek north to move to Ft. Collins. A year ago today, I started my job at KinderCare. I don’t feel like I’ve been up here for a whole year.  Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday and sometimes it feels like I’ve been here forever!  It has been a great year of learning and growing.  I have made new friends, joined new communities, and studied hard!  I am half way through my classes to hopefully get my teaching license.  I’ve been learning about classroom management, writing lesson plans, and having a professional demeanor.  It’s been a rough road, but I am pushing through.  I have enjoyed my time connecting with new friends and also with some friends who have moved up here too.  I love real relationships and have treasured the fact that I can be real with these people and they are real right back to me.

Another milestone is that five years ago today was when New Life Church experienced “our darkest hour.”  A gunman came onto our campus and killed two young girls and wounded several others.  Many of my new friends have asked about my experience on that day in 2007, so I decided to write out part of my story.

I woke up late that morning.  I had moved to a new apartment the night before and couldn’t find my keys.  I ended up finding them on the front seat of my car and drove up to the church.  I was going to finish picking up some stuff from my old house and my friends were going to help.  I also had some friends coming to the new house to help me unpack, because I had had surgery a few weeks before and my arm was still in a cast.

After church, while waiting for my friend’s kids to be done in the bathroom, we heard noises.  It sort of sounded like something was dropped on the new tile in the hallway, but no one was at that end of the hall.  We were standing near the playground doors, not very far from the end of the hall, when we saw him in the door way.  We ducked down, realizing the noises we heard was a gun!  Then someone yelled “get out!” and we took off running as he was coming into the building, shooting in our direction.  In the process of running, I lost the friends I was with.  I finally got a hold of them and I realized the first of many miracles I would come to find out.

After exiting the building, my friends ran to their truck.  I ran straight ahead.  It ends up their truck was parked next the the Works’ family van.  We were headed to that truck.  If the kids had spent a minute less in the bathroom, we would have encountered the gunman outside in the parking lot.  If they had spent a minute more in the bathroom, we would have encountered him point blank at the doors.  This was nothing short of a miracle.  My friends were first responders to the girls, and went to the hospital with them.

Out in the parking lot, I realized I had lost my phone and my keys while I was running.  I borrowed a phone and called one of the only numbers I had memorized..my friend Helen.  I told her “someone’s shooting up the church.”  She sent another friend to come get me, and she miraculously bypassed all the roadblocks and made it onto the campus to get me.

The next week was intense.  I was scared and practically shut down.  I remember going to work on Monday,  I called about my keys and phone to the police station, and they asked if I had been questioned.  I hadn’t, and they sent an officer to my work, surprised that I had been able to leave campus without being questioned.  I visited several counselors that week.  We had a big family meeting that Wednesday.  Before that, we had small group leaders meeting.  During that meeting, the fire alarm went off.  We had to evacuate.  It turns out the bullets had damaged the system.  The only reason I came back in from that evacuation was because of my friends by my side.  That Friday, I graduated from college.  I went to theMILL that night and the alarm went off again.  My initial response was to run.  Far away and never come back.  The only thing that kept me inside was not having a jacket or shoes and facing a snow storm.  There were many times I wanted to run away.  Never to come back.  But God had different plans.

These five years has definitely been a process.  The first few months were very hard.  I had a hard time eating, sleeping, and concentrating.  I was offered 15 free sessions of counseling and was able to process through some of the emotions.  The emotions that I had were bringing up past stuff, and it was all very confusing.  Honestly, I was living in a lot of fear and anxiety.  A few months later, we had a worship recording.  I was having a hard time understanding why the shootings happened and how I was still alive when these two young girls had died.  I didn’t want to worship God.  I was mad, confused, and hurt.  I had been drained.  During that recording, we sang the song “Greater.”  It talks about how God is greater than the fight that rages for my life.”  I literally had a war going on in my mind.  I had threat of physical harm that had raged for my life.  The song also says “you are brighter, breaking through the night, lighting up my sight.”  There was a darkness that had surrounded me, but God was breaking into that darkness with his glorious light.  I suddenly realized that God was greater.  That even though I didn’t understand, God was still there and he was watching out for me.

This was the beginning of my process of getting my hope back.  The enemy had tried to take it away, but God was restoring.  I saw a glimmer and I followed it.  There were several other “turning points” when God downloaded more about his love for me, despite what had happened.  And I had ears again to hear what he wanted to say to me.

Today, 2012, was the first time the anniversary has fallen on a Sunday.  I was able to come down from Loveland and attend the service at New Life.  I am grateful that I did.  I realized that five years later and I’m stronger.  I was not fearful.  I was not jumpy.  I celebrated, with the New Life family, where God has brought the church and mourned the losses.  For the first time, maybe in the five years, I didn’t feel like talking about that day in 2007 was going to send me into flashbacks.  I did think about where I was that day, but it didn’t effect me the same way.  It was healing to be there this morning.  We sang the song Overcome, which has been New Life’s anthem.  I cried my face off, but it was good tears, healing tears.  Appropriate tears.

God is amazing.  What the enemy meant for harm, he used for good.  Pastor Brady told us about the meeting the Works and Murray families had, and the power of forgiveness.  I realized that I have been holding onto unforgiveness for some things in my life and how petty they seem when I think of the forgiving embrace that was offered to the parents of the man who killed their daughters.  It is profound to think of that, but what I great picture of God’s forgiveness for us.  Jesus died on the cross because of us.  And despite that, God forgives us.  The gravity of our sins killed Jesus.  God embraces us and cares for us anyway.

So, on this day five years later, I am grateful.  I am grateful for Jesus and the work he is doing in my life.  I am reminded to be forgiving.  I am open to more of God’s healing work in my life.  I am reflective about the lives that were lost, but rejoice in the faith of their parents.

I am stronger and have hope because HE is greater and has overcome this world!

Advertisements

God is Bigger than ANYTHING, and yet he talks to ME!

Standard

It’s been almost seven months since I moved to Fort Collins, I can’t even believe it!  I am getting ready to move to Loveland a month from today.  Loveland is closer to work and is also closer to some of the extra activities I am involved in.  I will be living in an apartment by myself.  It is very cute and I’m excited to have my own space.  I have been working hard to pack here early.  I just cleaned up my room and packed several boxes today.  I can see most of the floor in my room, and that which I cannot see is because there are boxes.  For those of you who know me, this is a big deal! 🙂

Here is a small-ish list of the things I am learning and fun things that I am learning and also some prayer points.  Thanks for reading!

  • With the fire in Colorado Springs, I became very homesick.  My brother and his family were evacuated and one of my best friend’s home was very close to the fire.  My brother has since gone back home with no damage to their house.  My friend’s house was two streets from a neighborhood that was burned.  Her house was miraculously spared.  I haven’t heard about smoke damage yet.  During this, my heart was aching for the community I had back in the Springs.  I know that I am being intentional about building community up here, but was aching for that that was already established.  On Wednesday last week, put on the You Hold It All CD from New Life on the way to Bible study.  That night, three of the four songs we sang were off that CD!  (And the leader had just bought the CD the day before!)  God very specifically told me that it was okay and that he saw my heartache.  He is bigger than any crazy fire, and that is unfathomably yet incredibly comforting.  Those songs were played just for me.  
 
  • I am learning more and more how to grow in God and the many ways I can listen to him.  He is always talking to me, I just have to take time to listen.
  • I have become involved with a group at a church in Loveland.  I am making some great friends there and have been learning about letting God heal all of my life and giving my hurts, habits and hangups to him, because he is the only one that can heal me.  
  • Yesterday I went to the ARC and got a practically brand new pair of Chacos and a gently used pair of Keens for $16 total!  If you don’t know, these shoes cost upwards to $100 each!
  • I recently discovered a new way to make money on amazon.  Some books are available for trade-in.  Essentially, I see if books are eligible and then submit them for trade -in.  I then pack them up, print off the shipping label, and drop them off at the post office.  After they are reviewed, amazon credits my account.  Last month, I bought a book at the ARC for $4.00 and sold it back for $70!  Today, I went around my room and ended up trading in $130 worth of stuff!  (And it all fit perfectly with no extra space in the only box I had in my room!   
  • My job is going well!  I have a group of extremely active and curious two-year olds!  We laugh a lot, dance like crazy, and are constantly learning and exploring the environment!  I am working on getting my teaching license and have found out that I can continue my job like I am and get my license that way.  I am extremely blessed that I can keep my job and further my education!
  • I am the kids worship leader at Mill City Church!  I am working on getting CDs and videos made of all the actions so that I can teach the rest of the team better.  It has been fun to see the kids connect to God and get excited about church!

 

~Prayer Points~

 

*Please pray for:

-a smooth transition to Loveland

-my friends and family in Colorado Springs

-God to continue to reveal himself to me, and for me to be open to hearing

-Mill City Church

-my classes that start next month as I have to drive to Denver 

 Thanks for reading and following me on this crazy awesome adventure that God is walking me through!
 
Image
This is what I desire to do!
 
Image

 

My awesome new Keens and Chacos! (before my clean room!) 😉
 ImageA monkey my co-teacher and kids made in my class during animal month!

The Joys of Cooking–sans microwave

Standard

Well, it’s been almost five months now!  I can hardly believe it!  I am two weeks away from the end of this semester.  It’s been challenging for sure!  I will be extremely grateful when this semester is over, and am looking forward to moving forward in my education!  I will be taking 2 classes over the summer, and should be starting my cohort for my education program at CCU in the fall!  I’m excited to start in seat classes and learn even more!  I will be moving out from where I currently live in August.  I haven’t found a place yet, but am waiting on some possibilities. 

God is awesome!  I’m getting connected at Mill City Church.  God is building his church and we are hearing great stories about the miracles God is doing in people’s lives.  I’ve also gotten connected in a multi-issue recovery group where I am learning about God and his healing power.  Work is going well. My class roster keeps growing!  I’m navigating the wonderful world of two year attitudes full of lots of “no,” hugs, yelling, screaming, dancing, and learning!

In the five months I’ve been here, I have been learning how to cook without a microwave!  It’s been quite an adventure!  I’ve had some challenges with finding easy things to cook after getting home at 7pm after work.   My toaster oven and george foreman grill have definitely become great friends!  🙂  I’ve chronicled some of my food adventures. (not sure how to make the pictures smaller…sorry!)

Chinese food for $3.00!

Image

Dollar Store Pizza crust!Image

Spagetti and Meatballs with Garlic Cheese bread!ImageCheese tortellini and peas!ImageChicken parmesan: parmesan Pasta Sides, chicken nuggets, sauce, and cheese!ImagePasta, cheesy bread, and grilled chicken sausageImageGrilled cracked black pepper turkey, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, beverages, desert, and some Psych on the wii! ImageSandwich and green bean fries!!ImageTurkey burger w/cheese, tots, and peas!ImageImage

First Two Months!

Standard

I have been in Fort Collins for almost two months now.  It has definitely been a process getting used to life up here after spending my whole life in Colorado Springs!  I have gone through some ups and downs here so far, but know that I am where God wants me to be.

I am having fun exploring the city when I have the time.  I like taking new routes to different places and finding new fun places.  I started going to a Zumba class on Thursday nights after work.  It’s a lot of fun!  I also started going to a group on Friday nights that is about healing and fellowship with other believers.

I’m enjoying work.  My time at Kindercare with my class of seven two year olds is exciting, challenging, fun, crazy, and rewarding all at the same time!  I am still in the process of making my classroom my own.  I’ve done some improvements, but am still working on the ways I want my walls to look and which toys I want out when.  I am learning about the curriculum we have, and am getting used to the different activities.

I am also in probably my most intense semester of school for my program.  I am doing a Post-Bacc program for my ECE license.  This semester, I have 15 credit hours, which the most at once being 12.  I am working hard to get all of my school done so that I can become a teacher.

We are also a month away from our 1st service of Mill City Church!  Today we had the first run through of how things should be set up, and what we are missing.  I am part of Mill City Kids, and am having fun discussing games, curriculum, and music for the kids.  The auditorium we are using is beautiful, and our team is strong.  I’m excited to see how God will use this church.

I’ve taken a lot of pictures and want to share some of them with you. I think they will come in the next post. 🙂