At Bethel, every year they pick two revivalists from each class (one guy and one girl from the first year class, and one guy and one girl from the second year class) to receive recognition as Bethel's version of class president. I WAS NOT ONE OF THE FINALISTS NOMINATED - but I was nominated by like four or five people from my revival group, which was a pleasant surprise. (When they approached me to tell me they'd voted for me, I was like, "For what?" >_< I literally had no idea what they were talking about, haha!)
During the ceremony, as I sat and watched my friends cross the stage and receive their diplomas, words poured out of my heart. They sounded good, so I decided to share them with you. This is what I'd say to my class if I could stand up and give them a charge. Hope you like it. ^_^ (If you want to skip the thanks - jump down to the part titled "Charge".)
I have to start by thanking my parents for all of their sacrifices, love, and support through this whole journey. There have been lots of late night phone conversations, cash transfers directly into my bank account, emergency prayers, and all around supernatural acts of parental love! On top of all of that, my parents are quietly and humbly some of the most amazing revivalists I've ever met. They don't make a big show of it, but doing the stuff (healing the sick, serving the body, and pressing into God) is just a part of who they are. They have set the bar high, but they've been known to kneel down and give me a leg up to make sure I go over!
Thank you to my brother Jeremy for believing in me and investing in me - it meant a lot! You're my spiritual competition (yes, competition is of GOD), and I mean to give you a hard run. My sisters, Danielle and Abby, I LOVE YOU. Thank you for being so willing to talk nothing but God, Bethel, and boys for the last few years - nothing can change your place in my heart. To my roomies and best friends, Angie, Lina, Audrey, and Richelle, and Margaret, wah! I couldn't have made it through the years without you! You are my sisters and I will pull for you and with you for the rest of my life. To all my Clay St. family (you know who you are), I love you. Thank you for loving me. To my family at Family Life Christian Center, and my email partners - thank you for your prayers and financial support! You were more than an email chain, you were my sounding board and my extended family. I love you all!
To Papa Bill and Papa Kris, thank you for stepping up and being the catalyst. The first message I listened to from Bethel was called "Multigenerational Kingdom Thinking". It spoke to things that had been the hidden dreams of my heart since I was a small girl. And I want to say that every day more like me hear you and wake up because you carry His words, you carry His heart. Thank you for all you've done and you continue to do - I pray for you both from my heart.
To Mama Beni and Mama Kathy, you ladies are AMAZING!!!! I loved it every time you came and spoke to us - thank you for lending us your strength. Thank you for all the sacrifices you've made and all the burdens you've shouldered to make Bill and Kris's dreams come true. Thank you for sharing your husbands with the world.
And finally, to all my 1st and 2nd year pastors, Papa John Sturges and Mama Diana, Anne Kalvestrand, Lynn Strietzel, Eric Johnson, Theresa Dedmon, Sara Webster, Mike and Sue Tesauro, Aaron Tesauro, Aline Lidwell, Deanne Mather-pike, Phil Breja, and all the interns and all the pastoral staff - THANK YOU. You have poured into me in such amazing ways! I wouldn't be standing here with out you.
Well, everyone, we did it! We graduated! We made it through two years of exegesis and hermeneutics, book reports, revival group meetings, small group meetings, home group meetings, outreach/activation meetings, intern meetings... Lots of meetings. Some of us survived the culture shock, and we manifested - if "only" fruits of the spirit! We learned new definitions for common words, approached strangers in public with no other motive than love, practiced words of knowledge and prophetic acts, and grew out appendages like we knew what we were doing. We crossed the chicken line over and over and OVER.
We did it. We did it. And I'm so proud of us. Now, you might be thinking, ok, so what's her charge? There is something that has been ringing in my heart for the last few days, and I want to share it with you. My charge has a few points, and I'll do them in order.
First of all, I want to challenge all of you (though I include myself in this admonishment) REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE. If there is one word to describe our class that word is intentional. We are passionate, we are opinionated. We are intense. We long to burn, we long to run after a vision. And all year, we had people behind us, cheering us on as we went deeper and pushed farther into all that God had for us. Now I'm not saying, "Class, rest on your laurels." But I am saying, remember who you are! You are on fire, you are alive, you are dreamers, and visionaries. You carry the eternal fire of the living God. You are laid down lovers, you will change the world - don't ever forget it!
When life gets intense, and that perfectionist thing starts to creep in, shut it up. Do whatever it takes, and keep that Christ in you the hope of glory picture clear!
This leads me to my next charge - STAY CONNECTED. We have had the most amazing experience here at Bethel and in this culture - let's not waste the bonds we've made. We are a body, let's be the example to the world - an example of believers who BELIEVE in each other. Use facebook as the tool it is, get invested in the alumni program, heck, text your friends! Attempt to spoil all your friends with prophetic words and encouragement - encouragement should be something that every Christian is well practiced in, not just "encouragers". The other half of this charge is, ask for help when you need it. When you're tired, give yourself permission to ask for support. When you're lonely, reach out to someone and let someone know. Let's not let this whole Bethel culture thing be just a Redding phenomena; be vulnerable, be reachable, be intentional about staying connected.
And lastly - when in doubt, ROCK IT OUT! We're not sneaking out of here, we're being sent! Live your lives boldly in the way that best reveals the glory of God hidden inside of YOU. Value the fire you carry. We're all different parts of the body, so no comparison allowed! Of course the foot doesn't change the world the same way the bladder does!
I expect to cross paths with many of you in the years to come. It has been a pleasure and privilege to learn along side all of you -but now... first one to save a nation in day wins! GO!