Tonight was my first Wednesday night away from my home in San Clemente and the family of youth I've been committed to leading and loving for the past few years.. When I realized this tonight it hit me that although I miss so many of those faces so deeply, I have absolutely nothing to worry about as my heart celebrates the unshakeable peace I have knowing they are left in good hands.
My beloved friend Michelle Mckinley walked into my life over 3 years ago as a fiery, passionate vanguard graduate eager to love and lead young people into deeper relationships with God. She was a mystery to me at first.. Slightly intimidating with a hint of I'm-just-gonna-love-the-crap-outta-you that bubbled out of her heart. I could tell she was a lover of God from my first encounters with her.. And I knew she was driven and motivated to live out the fullness of God's call on her life, whatever the cost, and I soon found out if cost her a lot. She came down to San Clemente with everything she owned packed into her tiny car, and no place to call home.. Her journey to San Clemente was one giant leap of faith that has unraveled into such an incredible testimony of the fruit that comes out of a life fully surrendered to God.
Michelle and I were placed on an internship team together and worked together on many projects to grow our youth ministry and intentionally love our little herd of munchkins we were assigned to love. Because Michelle and I grew up in different worlds and some from such different walks of life, we rarely saw eye-to-eye..on anything haha. But what the enemy intended to place a division and wedge between us, God so beautifully used to reshape our perspectives, open our eyes to others' world views and brought us together as a powerful, balanced and complete force to be reckoned with. We looked past our maannny differences to see that many areas we lacked, the other was strong and vice-versa. The friendship cultivated and grown the past few years is powerful and life-giving. The incredible love, respect and admiration I have for Michelle can not be described into words.
I wanted to take this moment to intentionally celebrate all Michelle has sacrificed to be living the life of service and surrender she is as the new middle school youth pastor at Heritage Christian Fellowship. Such an amazing middle school mama. My decision to pack up my life and move to Redding was difficult for so many reasons, leaving these students being one of the most difficult.. But there isn't another person on the face of the earth I would trust more to love and lead the lives of these young people I have come to love so deeply. Michelle Mckinely; what an honor it is to know you and call you one of my most treasured friendships. I am cheering you on and interceding hard for you as the Lord finnnnnaaaaally releases you into the beauty of your calling. I adore you, my friend. ❤️