50 Stories: God in the everyday

50 Stories: God in the everyday Cover Image

"As I think about my experience with YAGM and TfG, I have a flood of memories filling my heart and my mind. This August will mark 10 years since I first arrived in Edinburgh to begin what would be one of the most incredible years of my life.  The place and people will forever hold a special place in my heart and in my call story. After my year with YAGM, I learned to stop putting limits on what God might be up to in my life and in the world.

My time at Bethany Christian Trust was a wild ride of ups and downs, as we walked alongside men with drug and alcohol addictions seeking to start a new life. Whether they succeeded or relapsed, we were in it with them, loving them and trying our best to show them the light of Christ in all circumstances. 

I learned a lot that year about both the heartache and the joy of loving and supporting those who are marginalized, even if by their own doing. 

I learned a lot about myself, as I took this year to completely step out of my life back in the States and to rediscover who God was calling me to be. And I learned a lot about seeing God in the everyday moments.

It was during this year that I finally accepted that God had been preparing me and tugging on my heart to go to seminary. Throughout college, and even most of that year in Scotland, I tried my hardest to come up with some other plan. Because, despite what others told me, there was NO WAY God was calling me to be a Lutheran pastor. I didn't know enough, hadn't experienced enough, wasn't good enough.

And yet, as I would sit in the quiet room with the residents in the evenings talking about God and life, I began to understand that it wasn't so much about what I could do, as what God could do through me. Or as I went on a new adventure with my friends and stepped outside of my comfort zone over and again, I realised my ability to face a challenge and I gained a new trust in God to be with me in all things. And when I did fall short, in my job or as a friend, I experienced unending grace and forgiveness. 

Through the support of my volunteer friends and those I worked with that year, I was able to work through many aspects of discernment in my life. You might say that this could have happened right here at home, too, but taking a gap year is an intentional time of opening oneself up to new ways of living and thinking.

It calls for a new kind of awareness and time of self-reflection. And it gives the space and permission we often need to recognize or rediscover who we are called to be as children of God, sent to proclaim the good news in the world."

--Lauren