I had the gift of heading home to Steamboat over Memorial Weekend for the wedding of one of my best friends from high school, and I was reminded of how much I adore that place. And not simply because it's one of the most beautiful places in the country, or because it's a resort town, or because the people are so laid back and easy-going. Steamboat is where I grew up, where I learned about faith, and where God laid the foundations of who I would become. Steamboat is home.
When I first left for college, I would have laughed in your face if you told me I'd want to move back someday. I couldn't wait to leave small-town life and discover something new. Moving to Colorado Springs was an act of God itself, since I was utterly convinced that I wanted to leave Colorado and go to a private Christian college in Minnesota. Instead, the Father led me here, where I went to a smaller state school, got a degree in English, and became a WyldLife leader at Cheyenne Mountain Junior High. And here I am, three years after graduating from college, on staff with Young Life because God whispered a calling into my ears, and I answered with a "Yes." And, truly, I am convinced that there is no better way to spend my life than loving kids and welcoming them into the Kingdom of God. I am so grateful for the way the Father has orchestrated the events of my life, so humbled that He would choose me for this.
Thinking of my journey on staff has caused me to remember those experiences and relationships that He used to form and shape my heart around His own, and so many of those are because of people in Steamboat. When my dad passed away, our church and friends cared for us and, I've no doubt, spent many hours in prayer for us. My life is dedicated to following Jesus because so many people, from my youth pastors and leaders to family friends to my peers, taught me how to read Scripture, how to pray, how to love people, and how to trust steadily in the Father's deep, unfailing love for me. Because they loved Jesus so deeply and loved me so well, I love Him too, and I am able to teach Young Life leaders and kids how to do the same. I owe many of you a great deal of gratitude for that, because I don't think I'd be here without those prayers, conversations and discipleship. Thank you, Steamboat friends, for that gift! You are a part of what the Father is doing here in the Springs, and your legacy of faith continues on.
As my sister and I were driving up Rabbit Ears Pass on Sunday afternoon, leaving a day early to make it back in time for Cheyenne Mountain High School kids' graduation parties, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of sadness. It's always hard to leave home, but I left knowing that I was coming back here to the Springs, to continue to follow the Spirit's voice and to give to others what Steamboat gave to me. Steamboat will always be home, but I know that God Himself has called me here.