YWAM Orlando – Part 2

Ok friends UPDATE time Part 2.

I have some really exciting news to share!

One of the most valuable things I’ve learned over the past 5 years of moving around and following this seemingly crazy path God has guided me along is to listen to the Holy Spirit no matter what.  Sometimes the Spirit speaks in a gentle whisper and sometimes it’s a bit louder.  I am the type of person that wants the clearest possible guidance from God (like written in the sky, or plastered across a billboard – neither of which have ever happened for me), but often times it’s the gentle nudges and whispers that have led me to where I am.

Last month at Infusion in YWAM Orlando I felt the Spirit of God, in his kindness, speaking to me once again.  The few times I have been to this YWAM base I immediately felt the culture of family.  It is a special place.  As we arrived for Infusion I felt an inexplicable sense of home, belonging, and excitement.  After the first few days on base this feeling would not go away and began to pray about it. My prayer was that I wasn’t just caught up in the feelings and emotions from being in a special place.  Rather I prayed if this is where God was leading me in the fall to do my School of Ministry Development, that He would make it clear.

There is absolutely no doubt in my heart that God is leading me to do the School of Ministry Development (SOMD) with YWAM this fall.  My plan the past few months has been to attend this school in YWAM Denver; however there was something that kept me from paying the down payment for my school fees (even though I had the money to do so.)

YWAM Orlando offers the same school at the same time as the base in Denver. As I prayed about the feelings of home and sense of peace at the Orlando base, God continued to confirm this to me through the affirmation of people I love and trust, a ministry opportunity that has been on my heart for over a year that is taking place there, and other small nudges.

So, all that being said, I have officially made the decision to do the SOMD at YWAM Orlando this fall!  The first 12 weeks of the school I will live on the base in Florida and participate in leadership training and local outreaches.  The second half of this school will be some kind of outreach – either international or local.

One of the amazing things about God’s guiding me to this base is that the community I have lived in the past year has great relationship and connection with them.  The bridge between YWAM Orlando and my church here in St. Joseph is continuing to grow and God’s strategy and kindness over every part of this past year and next steps is evident.

I’ll be honest – I had fear over making this final decision.  Fear of what others would think.  Fear that people would think I’m flaky or indecisive or led by emotion.  Fear around finances.  Fear that I now have to fundraise enough for my outreach. (I still plan on working as much as possible this summer to pay for the training phase).

But fear is a liar.

Another valuable life tool I’ve learned in this journey God has brought me on is that I’ll probably be afraid of 99.9% of the great things God is calling me to.  But real faith is built through taking the step of courage and obedience despite the fear.

In line with this principle, there is one more thing I want to share.  That is I have the amazing opportunity to serve again with Models for Christ at New York Fashion week this September!

I fasted and prayed about this decision for a week and have never felt so much warfare over making a choice about one week of my life. One of the biggest things that was keeping me from committing to this outreach was the fear of finances.  However, I believe wholeheartedly that God called me to go to this fashion week outreach, so I booked a ticket (even though the Delta website literally would not let me after three tries!! Get behind me Satan!) and am so expectant for what the Lord is going to do at this fashion week outreach!

From September 4 – 13, I will be in New York City to join a team in partnering with Models for Christ.  This is the same organization that I worked with during my DTS outreach.  We will serve at the shows, evangelize, and show Christ’s love to the models as they work in an incredibly harsh, unforgiving and competitive industry.

Over the next month and a half, I will be working 5 to 6 days a week at a café and a coffee shop to save as much as possible for all that is to come this fall.  It’s been a sweet reminder of God’s provision and that literally everything we do is unto His glory!

Finally, I want to ask if you would pray about partnering with me in this journey.

We all need a community of praying friends behind us.  In addition, I will need financial provision for the mission work God is calling me to.

It’s all about seeing His Kingdom come. 

My fundraising goals are

Fashion Week Outreach: $500
SOMD Outreach: $3,00-$4,000

To help me reach this goal and give financially you can do so through my Paypal account linked below!

https://www.paypal.me/CassieLBaker

Whether you choose to partner with me financially or in prayer, I am SO grateful for you.

Please keep in touch!  I am here for you as much as you guys are here for me.

With love and gratitude,

Cassie

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Infusion Testimonies! YWAM Orlando – Part 1

Overdue TESTIMONY TIME from Infusion, the high school camp I had the opportunity to serve at last month!

It. Was. Incredible. God never ever ceases to amaze me with the unique and specific ways he pursues each one of us.

To give you a broad recap of the camp it was a period of 6 days filled with teaching, activation moments, worship, prayer, and, of course, fun competitions and games.  I, along with a co-leader, led a room of six 16-year-old girls. It is with abundant faith and joy that I can say there was a true shift in each of those girls from that week at camp!

One of my favorite testimonies from the week was the freedom and absolute change in self-confidence and joy that God brought for one of the girls in my room.  On the first day of camp this student admitted to me that she struggled with social anxiety to the point where she was pulled out of school to be home schooled.  She wore head phones without playing music at almost all times she was around others to cope with the anxiety.  My co-leader, Elliott, and I both felt from the moment we met her that God was going to free her from her dependency on wearing the headphones.

Almost every morning of the camp we joined with the YWAM base for an hour of worship.  During these mornings we also took time to pray over the students, and there was opportunity for anyone to go up on the stage and share a word from the Lord. The second morning of camp, the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray over my student for peace and freedom from anxiety.  As soon as I finished praying over her, another student went up on stage and shared about getting out of your comfort zone, encouraging others to do the same.  I looked at my student and asked her, “Do you think you can give me your headphones?  Me and Elliot both know that God wants to set you free from having to wear them this week.”

She was hesitant and afraid, but took the step of courage and said yes, handing over her headphones to me!

This was just the first step of breakthrough God was bringing to her that day.  That evening we were back in a time of worship and started praying for people in the room who needed healing.  The same girl told me that she needed prayer for her foot because it had been hurting.  A group of students and leaders prayed over her foot and I continued to intercede for her freedom from anxiety in that moment.

God, in his faithfulness and grace, showed up! God healed her foot along with other students who had physical pain! Right after, those who had been healed had the opportunity to go up on the stage and share what God had done.  I looked at this student once again and asked if she wanted to take another step out of her comfort zone, going up on stage to share what God just did for her.

A look of fear overcame her as she shook her head no.  I continued to encourage her telling her she could do it, and despite her fear and anxiety she agreed.  I was amazed at the grace of God and the bravery in this young woman who had been bound by fear and anxiety as she walked on to the stage and testified over a microphone in front of over a hundred people that God healed her foot!  When she walked off the stage, she looked me in the eyes with a look of joy and freedom on her face and said, “I don’t feel anxiety right now!”

I was speechless and amazed once again at the power of God to set someone free in an instant.  Throughout the rest of the week, this girl had a different demeanor about her. It was like a weight had been lifted off her.  She even participated whole heartedly in evangelism later that week, going up to strangers and sharing what God was doing in her life!

There were many other moments of breakthrough and freedom for each student at the camp.  The staff is continuing to hear reports of lasting fruit as the students go back home – students are getting baptized, starting Bible studies with their friends, and planning worship nights in their communities!

Although exhausted at the end of a week of pouring into high school students, I also left that week feeling filled and refreshed.  I left with a greater urgency to go into the world and share the good news of Jesus.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

We have the answer to the chaos in the world.  We have the hope for the thousands and thousands that are bound by anxiety, depression, fear, emptiness – the wages of sin.  Whether my world is a youth camp, a corporate office, a classroom, a coffee shop – wherever! –  I never want to forget what Jesus has done and his command to share this with our world.

Thanks be to God that the more we share who He is, the more joy and freedom we get!

Thank you for your support and prayers.  I absolutely would not be where I am today without the intercession, friendship, and financial support of my loved ones.

Thanks for being a friend.  I hope you feel encouraged as I do about how fun and faithful our God is!

Stay tuned for another UPDATE coming out soon with some exciting news!

Until next time,

Cassie

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One of my favorite pictures from the camp of a student from our church in Michigan!
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The sweet room of girls I got to spend the week with.

changing seasons, changing rhythms – post college life and new moves

Hello friends!

Hi, yes, I’m still here.  It’s been a long minute since I’ve written for the blog to update people on my life.  These days I don’t write as many life updates since my life has been the most stable this past year than it has in the last six years.  Also, most of my writing…well all of my writing efforts of late, have gone toward finishing college.  Two words I thought I may never say in that order – finishing college. I did it! I finally completed a four-year degree after six years of living in six different states, at three different schools, and with two changes in my major.  I now hold a bachelor’s degree in ministry leadership with a discipleship emphasis.  School taught me discipline, commitment, when to say no, when to say yes, strengthened my writing, and much, much more.  Though this was a great accomplishment for me, one of the biggest lessons I learned in getting this degree is that it is not the title of a degree that qualifies you.  I have a long way to come in loving others well and the ultimate mission of living like Jesus.  I am incredibly grateful looking back on my college experience and there’s not a thing I would change about the unique path I took.

Currently, I am still living in St. Joseph, Michigan.  It has been just over a year since I moved to St. Joe and it has been one of the fastest passing years of my life!  My schedule was routine for the most part – working part time at a church in youth ministries and an administrative role, and part time at a coffee shop. Between ministry events, school work, weekend trips to Grand Rapids, and a ministry trip to New York City it has been one jampacked year!  With summer approaching (or already here I guess! Fooled by this crazy Michigan weather!) life is starting to slow down for a little while.  Finishing school last month honestly felt like getting to the end of a 6-year marathon – sweaty, out of breath, exhausted from every effort given, but so satisfied. Right now, I am enjoying the “post-marathon” pace of life and sipping the recovery drink of rest in God’s presence.

God has reminded me that we run to get stronger.  To build our endurance.  This last year was one of growth in my endurance and capacity. Reflecting back on the year, I now see how the work of finishing school brought so much personal growth and maturity.  It is truly the grace of God that brought me through and resulted in a year of fruitfulness.

As I wrapped up school this spring, I had the question looming over me of, “What’s next?” The church that I am part of offered me a job, and I don’t have enough words to describe how grateful I am for Road to Life Church and the family they have become to me.  However, for some reason, I did not have peace about accepting the job.  It makes sense to the eyes of the world to take a stable job in the position that you got your college degree in, but I have to be obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and I knew from the Lord that I had a choice.  Throughout a season of praying and fasting for guidance on next steps, the Lord placed YWAM on my heart once again.  I never thought I would go back to do another school with YWAM, but God is funny, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s never say never.

I am excited to share that this fall I will be returning to Colorado to do a training school with YWAM Denver!  The School of Ministry Development (SOMD) is a secondary level school with YWAM that is a leadership school designed to release you into full-time ministry.  From September to December, I will be a part of this school in Denver. Following this time I will have the option to go on outreach.  I am not sure at the moment if I will go on the outreach phase and trust that God will show me what to do when the time for a decision comes.

The Lord’s kindness and grace is all over this next transition! My time in Denver almost two-years ago (doing an internship with Open Door Ministries) was a difficult season.  I fell in love with the city and people but lacked community and sustainability.  Returning to Colorado as a part of the YWAM community is a sweet gift from God.  The word that the Lord gave me over this upcoming season is “deposits.”  A deposit is an installment, entrusting someone with something precious and valuable.  I am believing there are specific deposits of vision for ministry and leadership that God is going to put in my heart.

For the rest of this summer I will continue to work at the church part time over the summer and also at a local restaurant in Benton Harbor. In contrast to my previous years with YWAM, I felt from the Lord that I am not supposed to fundraise for this school, but to instead work as much as I can and save towards it.  I will be stretched more financially than I have even in previous years with missions, but I am ready to step into deeper trust in God’s provision and break off any stronghold of worldly financial security in my life. Security in money is a temptation that is easy for me to fall into, and I don’t want there to be anything hindering my full trust in God.

One more exciting opportunity I have this summer is taking 18 high school and middle school students from my community down to Orlando June 16-24 for Infusion summer camp! This is the same camp that I have led at in YWAM Kona in previous summers.  I am so excited to be a part of this camp with students who I have been working with all year.  Infusion is an incredible time of breakthrough and empowerment for young people, and I can’t wait to see the impact these students will have when they come back to southwest Michigan! Since I am working to save as much towards my school in the fall, I want to ask for any financial donation towards Infusion camp.  I owe $100 towards travel costs for the camp. I am asking, if you feel led, to consider giving the cost of what you spend to fill your gas tank.  You can do so by check or cash, or through my paypal account – clbaker04@gmail.com.

In addition, I would love your support through prayers for the students going to the camp – for breakthrough, a deeper encounter with God, a zeal and passion for serving God that would continue through their school year, and safe travels.

Finally, THANK YOU.  Thank you for being a constant support and encouragement over the years and making every part of God’s work possible in my life.  I am so grateful for the people I have in my life – near and far – and know that this is truly what the body of Christ is about.  Love every one of you and hope to see you sometime soon!

❤ Cassie

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love and be loved – lessons from a turkey

There’s a lot I’ve been learning lately.  About adulthood, community, friendship, hard work, and God.  Living in an old house with 5 other women, where we host anywhere from 30-50 people weekly, has been one of the more educational experiences of my life.  There has been loads of laughter, a few tears, lots of prayer, and a fair amount of screams due to the perks of living in an old house (think rodents, sewage back up, snaking the drains…but those are all stories for another time).

Monday night at my house we hosted our monthly young women’s group for the church.  Usually this group is geared towards high school and college age girls, but because of the holiday week we opened it up to women of all ages and coined the night “gals-giving.”

Because the house ebbs and flows with who lives in it there is an assortment of stuff that gets left behind when people move out.  This worked in our benefit this week as someone had left a 16-pound quality, organic, local turkey in the freezer!  “Gals-giving” seemed like the most appropriate way to finally use that thing.

What seemed like a brilliant idea, cooking this turkey, turned out to be one of the more stressful things I have done in my life.  Ok…that’s exaggerating a bit. But dang, handling 16 pounds of raw meat and hosting 28 people that depend on that meat tasting delicious and not dried-out and overdone (the way I usually cook my meat when I cook it for myself because I am that paranoid about it being underdone) was a stretching experience for my perfectionist self.  If you are at all familiar with the enneagram personality type that is trending right now, all the other ones (“the perfectionist”) give a holla.

This is where I owe a huge shout out to my house-mate, Grace, and her mom who, on a Facetime call, was the real MVP and walked us through how to prep this hunk of meat.  No tears in this process, but lots of laughs and some screams.  Sorry, but what the heck are giblets and why do they leave them in there if you’re just going to throw them out anyways?  Call it an excuse, but I blame the American system of quick, convenient, grocery store food for not preparing us to stick our hands up the butt of a raw turkey.  Grace and I came to know Patty the Fatty (yes, we named the bird) really well that night.  A bit too well for my comfort level.

Grace and I were proud of the work we put into prepping the feast.  All that had to be done the next day was rub some spices on it and throw it in the oven.  Boom! Adulting.  Feeling like a real woman.

Until we realized no one was going to be home the next day to put the turkey in the oven.  Everyone in our home had work or school and was tied up until evening.  Little details you learn to think through when cooking a giant bird.  I’ve been living of the poor college-student diet of canned tuna, lunchmeat, and beans for my protein.  So, in my defense, I was not mentally prepared for this.

This is where I owe a huge shout out to our friend Justin, who was able to stop by the house in the afternoon and put Patty in the oven.

I’m nearing the end of this rant about the first turkey I’ve cooked, and I promise I’m getting somewhere with this story.

In this process it struck me how special it is to live in a community that loves God and loves one another.

Community is sometimes messy, it can be inconvenient, and often times it’s a learning process.  But community also one of the greatest joys, support systems, and gifts from God in our lives.

We wound up having 28 women for “gals-giving” to eat a mediocre turkey (yeah, I ended up overcooking it and slightly demolishing it because carving a turkey is another learning process of its own), a random assortment of side dishes, and an abundance of desserts (because we’re women and really…is there such a thing as too much dessert?)

Despite the stress…I mean adventure…with the turkey, I had a moment to breathe, and I thought my heart might just burst with fullness.  You know those moments in life when you literally cannot help but smiling?   As I looked around my home and saw 28 women (ranging from 7th grade – 30 years old) I was overcome with thankfulness and gratitude.  I’ve known what it’s like to feel really alone and not have any community.  And it’s really hard. I thank God for this family he has brought me into, in a small town in southwest Michigan.

We can’t do life, or I believe we can’t do life to the fullest, without community.  A community that is filled with the love of God, one that stands by you through your mistakes and learning, one that will inconvenience themselves to help you in your need, and that will be more excited about sharing time with you than sharing great food.

Great food is a blessing from God (amen!?), but the people that we surround ourselves with is the greater blessing.

That night I had my own translation of Proverbs 15:17, “Better is a dinner of vegetables and herbs where love is present, than a fattened ox served with hatred.”

Better is an overcooked, not beautifully presented turkey where the love of others is present, than the best meal you’ve ever tasted where you’re alone and without community.

This Thanksgiving, I am incredibly grateful for the community God has brought me into.  I am grateful that I don’t have to be the perfect host, the perfect adult, or the perfect cook – but that I get to love people well and be loved well in return.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May you love your people well and be loved well in return.

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friendship with Jesus – making time for rest

Hi friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve written just to write.  Most of my writing efforts and energies have been put into school recently.  This past session of my online classes I had a professor who really encouraged me in my writing.  He called out my strengths and told me to keep writing and sharing my pieces.  I suppose this is like working a muscle, the more you practice, perform, and push yourself the stronger you will get.  This professor also encouraged me to do grad school, which kind of feels equivalent to discussing a second child with a woman who is in the hospital delivering her first child.  I am still feeling the labor pains of trying to get through this undergrad degree.  But all that being said, I truly do enjoy writing and find that it’s an outlet for the things the Spirit speaks to me.  I want to be more intentional about writing thoughts, reflections, and lessons that the Lord has been teaching me.  And so here we go.  I’m back on the blog.

This past summer has felt like the quickest passing 3 months of my life. Truly.  It’s crazy to compare the 3 months spent at my internship in Denver and the same amount of time here in my new home in St. Joseph.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my time in Denver quite a bit and find myself missing it a lot.

It’s good to reflect on certain seasons of life; not to dwell on the past but to remember what God taught us in that time and how we can take what we learned and keep moving forward.  So, as I’ve been missing Denver, I’ve been asking myself why I miss that season so much?  Moving to Denver, not knowing anybody, and working in an area that was way outside of my comfort zone has been one of the hardest things I have done.  Keeping it real – I cried almost every day for the first month I lived out there.  So, why do I miss that time so much?

I’ve taken this to God and he spoke, like he always does.  My time in Denver was a time when I recognized my need for complete dependence on the Lord.  I am coming to recognize just how easily the enemy works to bring distraction in our lives to take our eyes off Jesus.  Even under the disguise of good and necessary things, the devil is working hard to get us to believe we can depend on ourselves, or others, or possessions, or abilities, or resources, for fulfillment and purpose.

My time in Denver was one of minimal distractions from which I could seek fulfillment.  I wasn’t working for the sake of making money.  I didn’t have friends that I could hang out with, or seek approval from, or find comfort in during times of loneliness.  Just being super honest, I was also in a place physically that was really uncomfortable.  Living in an urban transitional home with some of the toughest survivors I’ve met was an adjustment and push out of my comfort zone like never before.

It was in this season of having the distractions and the façade of comfort stripped away – facing days where I had no work, no plans, and no friends – that Jesus became my best friend.  He always met me with comfort, love, joy, and peace.  Whether it was going on a hike in the Rocky Mountains, or baking something for the women in my home, or walking through the downtown Denver neighborhoods, or sitting in a coffee shop, or attending church after church looking for one to call home, Jesus reminded me in the most tender ways that He was with me.

Recently, I’ve been in a weird place.  I can feel myself reaching the brink of burnout and I know that this is not God’s will for me because I know his Spirit led me here.  I have an incredible community here in St. Joe – some of the most unconditional, genuine, welcoming friends I have ever known.  Yet, I have felt an ache in my soul for my time in Denver.  Ironic because Denver was the time when I had an ache in my soul for community.  Is it possible to have both community and at the same time a deep intimacy and complete dependence upon Jesus?  I believe the answer is yes. It is possible to have both.  But there are things I need to change and prioritize in my life in order to combat the enemy’s distractions and attempts to take my eyes off my first and deepest love.

God is growing me in my willingness to be vulnerable and sharing this is a step in that growth for me.  The past three months I have not been the best at rest.  I understand that we will go through seasons of busyness and hard work, but in this God still commands us to take a Sabbath to set aside holy time for Him.  God himself set us the ultimate example of rest, yet for some reason I convinced myself that I don’t need it.  Well, in the midst of working four part-time jobs, taking a full load of online college courses, attending every social event possible to get to know my new community, and serving at church, I have failed to make time for rest with Jesus these past three months.  Not because he wasn’t as present with me in this season, but because I didn’t prioritize him as my best friend and dearest love.  Busyness is often my drug of choice so that I don’t have to slow down and process the tough stuff.  However, ultimately, this always leads to burnout, weariness, and a loss of my true purpose and identity.

And so I think that is why my spirit has been aching over memories of Denver.  I was constantly talking with, spending time with, and being filled by Jesus because I recognized my need and simply did not have as many distractions.  In the last three months of being under a self-sufficient illusion, I have found comfort in a packed schedule and hard work.  Not that I haven’t had sweet times with God the past three months, but there has been that undeniable longing in my heart for the depth and fullness that we receive when we take time to rest.

Yesterday I started my internship at Road to Life Church here in St. Joe, and I felt the Lord bring a new sense of peace, clarity, and refreshment over me as he calls me to deeper friendship with him.  Entering into this next season, I want to be more intentional about seeking God in every moment and always prioritizing his presence first.  In the midst of a full schedule, close community and real life, I am growing from what I learned from my time in Denver about friendship with Jesus and fulfillment from him alone.  I am stepping forward into rest.

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taking the next step

Hello friends!

It’s been a little while since I’ve last reached out so I wanted to give an update on what’s happening in my life now.  Since moving back to Grand Rapids in December, I have been living at home and continuing with my online classes with Lee University.  I went back to work as a barista at the same café I have worked at on and off for the past three years, they have been so gracious to welcome me back after taking time off for missions!

Life has been pretty routine, and I have been learning to seek God even in the times that may seem mundane and ordinary.  To be honest, things have felt lonely at times when I feel the lack of community that I have gotten used to living in the last few years.  But, I still fully believe that God called me back to Grand Rapids after my internship in Denver and he continues to provide purpose and motivation to finish my Bachelors Degree in Ministry Leadership.

Above all, I simply desire to be where the Lord wants me to be, and he has continued to be faithful in guiding my steps.  God has opened yet another door for me to move and become part of a wonderful community and ministry lifestyle.  Next month I will be moving to St. Joseph, Michigan, where I will be interning with the youth ministry of Road to Life Church beginning in the fall.

I first connected with Road to Life just over a year ago while touring with the YWAM Circuit Riders.  We were doing high school ministry in the St. Joseph area and the Road to Life community provided us housing.  During this time, I met Annamaria, who is also a YWAM Circuit Rider and from St. Joseph.  We became good friends and teammates as we served in ministry together during that season, and now God has called us back together for a new season in ministry!

Road to Life Church owns a house that they have dedicated as a home for college-aged women of their church.  They also host weekly college ministry gatherings at the house.  Annamaria and I will be living in the house and will be the oldest amongst approximately five college freshmen girls who will move in this fall.  We have the opportunity to structure the leading of the house for the coming year and we are committing this summer to praying about how God wants to shape our lives and leadership for ministry in this home.

I have so much peace and excitement for this next move.  When I met with some of the leaders from the church I knew the prompting of the Holy Spirit was telling me this is where I am supposed to be.  The timing of the Lord is evident in so many aspects of this move as I commit to a year in this community.  This year will lead me through the end of my college degree and push me to dig deeper into the giftings God has put inside of me and the work I was created for.  From my time in Denver, I realized more of my passion for hospitality – creating a place where people feel at home, and sharing the everyday, high and low moments of life with one another.  There is a lot of unknown with moving next month, but I have great expectation and peace knowing that this is the step God is establishing for me (Proverbs 16:9).

I can’t thank you all enough for your prayers and support!

<3, Cassie

 

 

Goodbye (for now), Denver

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is only a week away!  What’s even harder for me to believe is that my time in Denver has come to an end (for now).  After a three-month internship at Open Door Ministries, I feel that the Lord is calling me to move back to Grand Rapids.  The best way I can think to describe this next transition is bittersweet.  I am sad to leave the amazing friends and community God has provided me out here, the women from Still Waters Housing, and the city of Denver.  I keep rediscovering the truth that goodbyes suck.  However, the sweet side of this goodbye is that I have a lot of peace that moving back to Grand Rapids is where God is leading me.  Other than continuing with my online schooling, I am unsure what’s next for me.  I am looking forward to a period of rest at Christmas time and praying into what is next regarding housing and a job.

These three quick months in Denver have stretched me and humbled me.  Reflecting on all that I have experienced and learned here kind of feels like drinking from a firehose.  It’s been a season of feeling all the feelings.  I am continuing to learn what it looks like to love well, even when that is not the easiest thing to do.  I have seen beautiful pieces of the Lord’s heart and am in awe at the redemption and restoration his Spirit brings.  God continues to show me greater measures of grace (for myself and others).

I have found that the greatest growth often comes in the hardest seasons.  In times of dying to self, crying out to God for his strength and wisdom, and letting go of control and letting in the Holy Spirit to move.  I am entering into this Christmas with greater awe and amazement that Jesus left his throne to dwell in a broken and chaotic world.  I also have greater hope and joy this season that the brokenness and chaos of the world has been ultimately defeated by Christ.

All I know how to do is take simple steps of obedience, one at a time.  And in this next move, that’s where my peace is.  I am resting in the One who is victorious, who covers us with grace, and who loves with a reckless love.  May your Christmas be filled with this peace and grace and rest.

Lots of love,

Cassie

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