This post was written by Connice Dyar, Director of the Charlotte Fellows.
Another Fellows’ year completed...our 7th year. I look back to when we first started in the fall of 2010, and I'm overwhelmed at all the wonderful memories of God’s provision and the hard and beautiful ways He has worked in our Fellows’ lives.
It reminds me of the quote from A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." There were probably times this year that I’m sure the Fellows were thinking the same thing.
But isn’t that how all of life is? Wonderful things happening alongside painful and hard things. But it’s walking through both that grows and strengthens us.
As believers, we're called to walk by faith and not by sight. And this is what we did together all year. We walked:
- Through volunteering at Brookstone School,
- Through seminary classes with Rod and Mark,
- Through work internships,
- Through retreats and jokes and laughter and tears and seemingly unanswered prayer,
- Through professional development, resumes sent out, job offers,
- Through loss and blessing and questions and hopes and friendships and thank you notes, many thank you notes and oh so much more.
And by God’s grace, here we are...in one of "the best of times." We talked a lot about walking by faith and not by sight this year. We learned how to walk in full dependence on God’s Grace instead of trying to do life in our own strength. We learned to rest in God’s provision and his timing; we learned to humble ourselves and submit to his plan, not ours. We learned how to trust that He was and is in control and that he’s good and kind.
Walking By Faith
Each of our Fellows walked by faith in coming here to be a Charlotte Fellow this year. They came not knowing their host family, their employer, me (their director), or each other. We, the Fellows Board, walked by faith, not knowing the Fellows other than through their applications and phone interviews.
We believed that this was the class that God had for us, that each Fellow was here because this was where God planted them. They were meant to be here. We were meant to be a part of their story as they were meant to be a part of ours.
And as I think about all the many components of the Fellows programs and all of you who are such an important part of making the Fellows program work and flourish, I am deeply grateful and humbled. But I'm also excited and looking forward to our Fellows' future. All of us have made an investment in the Kingdom by investing in these lives.
God has called all of us, not just the Fellows, to walk by faith and not by sight. And for each of us, that walk will look different. But the faith is the same because our faith is in the same person—the person of Christ. We are called to look to Him, the "author and perfecter" of our faith.
The “Sabbath Fellows”
It was a privilege and a pleasure to walk with these Fellows over the past nine months. I called this class "my Sabbath Fellows," as they were our 7th class. And in the Old Testament, every seven years was a Sabbath year.
God has used this "Sabbath class" to remind me and the Fellows that true rest is found in Him. It's also a reminder that our value and worth are not dependent on how good we are, how hard we work, or how well we perform; our value, joy, and purpose are found in Jesus and our identity in Him.
Each year at graduation, our Fellows choose someone from the Fellows family to give them a blessing. These blessings are a highlight of each graduation.
My blessing for our Fellows this year is found in Colossians 3:12-17:
“As you walk by faith...Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
A reminder to our Fellows and to us is that "we have not been left to secure our own future because God in grace has secured an end to our story more glorious than we can grasp.”
The class of 2017 has moved out into the future God has for them. The board and I are finishing putting together the class of 2018. We have a couple more male spots to fill.
But preparations are in full swing to welcome our new Fellows in September. We're always so thankful for your prayers, support and encouraging words. Please keep it up!
If you're a part of our three partner churches, we’d love for you to prayerfully consider being a host family for next year.
Again, thank you for all you do in support of the Charlotte Fellows!
Walk in faith,