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by Mackenzie Shaver on September 16, 2015
It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since I started the Legacy Fellowship. In some ways it seems like forever ago, but in other ways it feels like yesterday. This year has been an incredible ride and one that I will remember and treasure for years to come. I have already thought back to joyous occasions, fears that I overcame, challenges I have faced, the growth that the Lord did in me, but most of all His presence and constant love for me through every single moment.
One thing I have learned this year is work ethic; doing something even though it may not be my favorite thing or that I may not even understand why I am doing it. To never give up, to push yourself as hard as you can and more than you ever have in your life. This year has taught me that I am capable of much more than I thought. I have skills now that I thought I would never possess. Although some jobs seem pointless at times, they truly are important (even the small or random ones). I do not regret the long hours and the difficult jobs (or the easy ones) because each one of them served a purpose and for that I will forever be grateful.
The Fellowship taught me what true community looks like- fourteen individuals, all with different and unique personalities. I learned what it’s like to carry each other’s burdens, stick up for one another, speak truth, how to love each person as an individual, and so much more. Having the opportunity to do life with thirteen other people for one year is an incredible, unique opportunity that many times I took advantage of. There is nothing like serving alongside one another, pushing each other to Christ. We laughed, we cried, found ourselves bitter or frustrated with each other or circumstances; but we also supported one another and challenged each other. And I say with certainty that our group loved one another deeply. I will never forget my fellows and all that they each have taught me. It is an incredible thing to see each person striving to be better and getting the chance to see the growth and change the Lord is doing in their lives. It is an unbelievable blessing!
One thing I struggled with before even entering the Fellowship was putting people before the Lord. The Lord has given me a passion and a true love for people. But sometimes I become frustrated with the Lord for giving me gifts that have to do with people because unlike the Lord, people will at some point fail me. I have battled and struggled with putting people before the Lord, and because the Lord loves us He chooses to teach and discipline us. So of course the Lord leads me to be in a community with 13 other people. Great…. Because I would not struggle at all with putting people before the Lord by doing life extremely close with one another. I have always said the Lord has a sense of humor, but if things were easy we would not need Him. This year I needed Him day after day. The Lord showed me how to balance being close with people, but not getting to close to where I allow myself to put others before Him. I do not have it down perfectly by any means, but I am definitely in a better place than where I was a year ago.
Another huge thing the Lord taught me this year is what it looks like for me to be a leader. Coming into the Fellowship I always had this idea of exactly what a leader is supposed to look and act like. It was someone who was confident, wise, outgoing, and basically just had it more together than me. Well, once again the Lord chose to rock my world on my perspective of a leader. This summer we ran our day camp in Dallas as site managers of our sites and in charge of our counselors. I remember I was nervous coming into the summer, but compared to all I had gone through in the past nine months I thought, “What is one more thing?” I have always called myself a follower; I am more comfortable that way and as I say that word there’s the key- comfortable. This year I have thrown that word out of my vocabulary. In the past I had led various things, but not like what I did this summer. Through this experience the Lord taught me what it means for me to be a leader. I am what you call a sensitive person. I took a test earlier in the year called StrengthsFinder- my number one strength is empathy. The Lord revealed to me that when I can take care of people, serve them by showing love and care toward them, I am being the leader He desires me to be; not the leader I imagined I had to be. Now, I truly enjoy leading because I can love and care for people to the best of my ability.
With all the obstacles I encountered in the Fellowship, I have realized I am a whole lot stronger. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I would say mentally because I had to push through a lot of fears this year. High ropes, lifeguarding, snakes, leading at Launch Camp, teaching outdoor education and more. One of my biggest fears was teaching. I have a couple of learning problems. I am dyslexic and also have ADHD, so at times school was really difficult. I grew up thinking there was a real possibility that I would never go to college. However, I did graduate college, I taught this past year, and now I am in my first semester of graduate school. I tell you this because the Lord can work through your biggest fears and struggles and give you the confidence in Him and in yourself.
I am stronger spiritually because the Lord pushed me every day to rely on him. He didn’t let me make excuses or run away. He challenged me and pursued me every day. I have grown and learned in the best ways possible. I trust the Lord more now and have a deeper relationship with Him. The Lord revealed a lot of my imperfections to me and challenged me to change them. It has not been easy, but so worth it because I have realized the Lord does not want to let me walk in complacency; He wants me to be better. The Lord brought me out of my comfort zone every day of the Fellowship. In the times where I felt so stretched I might break the Lord molded me and drew me nearer to Him, and for that I will always be grateful. I am thankful for what Sky Ranch taught me about ministry and how to serve to the best of my ability. It has been a true pleasure of being a part of Legacy IX. I am thankful for the lessons learned and the memories made. I have ran the marathon and crossed the finish line!
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