This summer I worked as an intern with the Urban Impact team at Lexington Leadership Foundation (LLF), and will continue to be on staff with LLF this coming year – what a privilege to get paid to do something I enjoy so much! Below is something I wrote for LLF’s newsletter.
“Is it weird that I lost a tooth in kindergarten and it never grew back?” A girl in elementary school asked me this question as we sat on a dock, swinging our legs back and forth over the water. She immdiately asked another question: “Is it weird that I wrote my dad a letter in kindergarten and he never wrote back?” Our life stories just ooze out of us in the everyday, don’t they?
Interning with Urban Impact is now part of my story, and I am so glad. From sitting in on meetings to planning Academy camps; from paper shredding and staple-removing to playing crazy games with the kids, it has all been a joy and a privilege to be involved with the work that LLF is doing. One of our tasks as interns has been to try to make our way around the staff of the LLF office and hear about their lives and how they got to LLF. What a great task! I could sit all day and listen to people tell about their lives. I think telling our stories to one another is so helpful – the speaker is reminded of the Lord’s hand in their life over the years, the listener gains wisdom and perspective, and God gets all the glory and thanks. So many people say they don’t have widsom to offer or that their lives aren’t interesting. But our stories are nothing but compilations of God’s work of redemption in our lives, which makes our stories worth telling and hearing. As an intern I had the privilege of getting to know the stories of some of the LLF staff as well as some of our kids, and it was such fun to simply sit and witness the greatness of our God. I need to get to know both God’s story – the grand unfolding of salvation and redemption – and my story, which testifies to His story.
One of my favorite books of prayer is “Valley of Vision.” I recently read a prayer that included this beautiful phrase: “May I… be through time and eternity a monument to the efficacy of His grace, a trophy of His victory.” And this is what we are! Our redeemed lives are monuments to the grace, love, and power of our God. I want to get to know my own story well so that I can remind my soul of God’s faithfulness demonstrated over and over and declare that faithfulness and goodness as I share my story and my life with others.
At Academy camp this summer we took photos of our kids and had them answer a few questions about themselves, such as “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and “What do you want to thank God for right now?” The pictures are precious and the answers are priceless. One of my favorites was one boy who said, “I want to thank God for making me!” And the girl who said “I want to be a police woman or a firefighter. I want to be able to help people and save people and take them to the doctor. They get to pass the red lights!” These quotes from our kids are glimpses into their current lives as well as what story they may potentially tell about their lives one day. Each encounter with another human life is a chance to enter into, learn, and potentially be part of their story. I love that these kids have entered into my life as I have entered into theirs. Being with them has been a highlight of my summer! Now LLF is part of my life story – a story that I will hopefully be able to share with dozens of people as a testament to grace and redemption. Being at Urban Impact as an intern was instructive, humbling, joy-filled, and life-giving, and I wouldn’t have had my summer any other way. May my life be a monument to the grace of God.