A Great Start
It’s hard to believe it’s 2016! Seems just like last week I was telling you how excited I was for our Fellows year to start.
First off, let me say that it has been a great first semester. We’ve shared lots of good times getting to know each other, hearing great Roundtable speakers, starting our professional development seminars and going to the TFI Biblical Justice Retreat in November with other Fellows programs. The highlight of that weekend is always the Ultimate Frisbee competition, which our Charlotte Fellows won, beating out 15 other programs!
After a good Thanksgiving break, the Fellows returned for a few weeks before Christmas to finish up their seminary class, take their finals, and grab the last few weeks of learning before 2015 ended.
In the midst of this, the unexpected happen. The week after Thanksgiving, Bob and I found out he needed bypass surgery. It was very unexpected, with no real warning. So on December 8, Bob underwent surgery, coming out with six bypasses. During this time and until the Fellows left for Christmas break, Virginia Spykerman, our assistant director, and the board stepped in to help finish out the semester. I am so grateful for the provision of the Lord in giving my husband a successful and safe surgery, for the leadership of the Charlotte Fellows as they stepped in and took over for me, and for our Fellows. They were so encouraging with their prayers, texts, and ways they tried to care for us!
In these weeks following as I’ve tried to process what has happened and what the Lord is doing, two verses have been my companion. One is 1 Thess. 5:18: “Give thanks in all things for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The other is 1 John 4:18: ‘There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.”
When the Fellows returned from break, we got together to share and process what they were learning and what I had been learning.
We talked about how we can find joy and give thanks in the unexpectedness of life—in the hard times we don’t want to be in—by remembering God’s loving sovereignty: nothing in this universe or our lives is out of his control. All of our lives fall under his wise and loving hands. For believers, all of life is plan A. And the thing that gives us joy and comfort is that our Sovereign God is a loving and good God. He loves us perfectly, and this perfect love is what gives us courage to walk the path he puts before us.
This next semester is busy and full of great opportunities for learning: the Fellows have professional development seminars, our mission trip in late February, our seminary class with Mark Upton, resumes to polish, and interviews to go to.
It’s also a time that can be full of worry, anxiety, and fear for the Fellows over what comes next when they finish in May. The two verses I mentioned will be a constant echo and reminder for them and for me as we enter into the new year.
There will be unexpected changes, challenges, disappointments, fears and unknowns. But because God is good and in control, there will also be great times of joy, thanksgiving, awe, and wonder at what God is doing.
I am so thankful to be in the care and provision of a loving and Sovereign God and that He is the One that will direct the paths of our Fellows.
Please continue to pray with us for this next semester. Pray that our Fellows’ hearts will be teachable and tender. Pray that they will be able to trust God for his plan and provision for them. Pray that they will have strength and endurance to finish the year well, to give good value to their employers and to continue to strive to grow spiritually, emotionally, and vocationally.
Maybe you would like to join us in this journey of seeking to find joy in the unexpectedness of life. We are so thankful for all of you who support the Charlotte Fellows with your prayers, your encouraging words, and your resources. None of it is a coincidence that we are part of the Fellows program and the Fellows’ lives.
Remember this as you walk ahead into 2016: perfect love casts out fear, and you can give thanks in all circumstances because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus!
Peace and blessings,