So last night I made the mistake of going on Facebook before I went to bed. And of course my feed is full of pictures from your going away dinner last night. Which I actually didn't have any idea about until 7pm and I also didn't realize you were actually moving back East. Huge curve ball right in my face. Anyways the reason going on Facebook was a mistake is because I couldn't stop crying. Probably for a good hour. I was going to write this post then but I was really tired and thought this wouldn't help me falling asleep.
Side note - this post doesn't follow the order I was going in but it needs to be shared now so I will resume with my regular order after this post.
Last time our youth pastor left I was absolutely devastated. So devastated that I refused to meet our new one for a few months. I didn't want anyone to replace Jared and I didn't think anyone could live up to my expectations. (Jared if you're reading this don't worry there is going to be one about you soon!)
One night my parents decided to have our new youth pastor and his wife over for dinner, and that night I decided I wanted him to be my new best friend.
This happened some time in the Summer of 2010. And little did I know at that time - he was going to become one of the most influential people in my life.
Theres a statistic like 80% of all high school graduates that attend church stop attending church once they graduate. And if it wasn't for you I would be part of that 80%.
I believe in God today because of what you have taught me.
I don't know that I've ever been able to look at someone and say "you can see how much love they have for this," with just about everything they do. But with you its there. 100% - everything you do there is love pouring out of your heart and soul and it inspires me so much. Whenever you talk about your students I feel renewed in my love for helping them. I want to be just like you in those moment - I want people to see how much love I radiate for the people around me.
And how you are with Laura make my heart sing. You love her so much. And everyone knows it. The other day I got an email from you and one of the recipients was "Sweet Cheeks." It might be silly to some people but its just another example of you radiating love. One day I hope that I can be in a relationship where the love is that apparent.
And to Laura - I have been so excited to start spending more time with you. I feel like I'm finally starting to get to know you better and I love the person that you are. I know it took some time for you to get used to being the pastors wife and having it be the super outgoing youth pastors wife probably didn't make it much easier. But I love watching you interact with your girls. You are such an amazing role model and they all have such an amazing time with you.
I love that our youth group was called Impact. It fits you perfectly. You impacted us all so much. You told us to impact the world around us - to inspire people to be the best that they can be and to show love in everything they do. And now more than ever I can see how perfectly you lived that out.
I have gone through many "life" moments that make you want to just give up on everything and stop having faith. But you have been there for me in all of those moments ready with the perfect advise to help me persevere and keep my chin up.
My freshman year of college was so hard for me but coming to Impact on Sundays helped me remember how many people cared about me and how much love I was surrounded with. I was ready to give up on God, but you kept that from happening.
I said it before in one of my posts. But I credit the church for who I am today. Without MMCC I wouldn't be someone that I'd want to be around. And right now, I can say I love who I am. And most of that is because of you. You have helped me learn to surround myself with people who are loving and inspirational. And these people are around because of you. You have so many leaders for your students and we all are there because we believe in you and your mission. You helped me become a leader and you've shown me that I too can impact the world around me by doing everything with love.
At our most recent beach camp we talked about Mother Teresa's quote - doing small things with great love. And I believe with all my heart you did more than that. You did great things with great love. And because of that you have changed so many peoples lives.
I told my girls at camp that they could be there during the leader meetings so they could hear you talk about your students. And how much love he has for each and every one of them. I think its incredible how much I can see love just pouring out of you when you talk about them.
I think I could make this post go on forever. Thats how many things are going through my mind about how much you have done in my life.
I was heart broken when our last youth pastor left. And I should've known that my heart would be broken this time as well.
This one is for you.
Ive been blessed to have experienced so many things with you. From your first dinner at an Arizona family's house to you meeting your sponsor child.
And besides you being this amazing loving person, you also happen to be one of the funniest people I know.
When I first met you I didn't consider you an adult. Over the years you have grown so much and even though you will always be a kid at heart, I now can see that you in-fact are an adult (you're welcome you are now officially an adult in the eyes of a 20 year old - incase you weren't aware of the fact that you were in fact an adult.)
I know you already know this but just incase you have forgotten - God has huge plans for you. Even though you have already accomplished so much in your life, you have so many more incredible journeys ahead of you. I know you have had your fair share of curve balls thrown at you. And you have taken them with a smile on your face and faith in your heart and thrived in every way.
Everything Jesus did was traced to the root of love and with all my heart I believe the same can be said for you.
|Ryan's first beach camp - Summer 2010|
I pray that you never forget how wonderful you are.
Regardless of circumstance - you are so loved