Lindsey Grathwol

Lindsey Grathwol, oh where to begin? Let me see, she’s loud, crazy, and such as spaz, but above all else she’s amazing! If there is one thing I learned about this summer it was to absolutely under no circumstance do you judge a book by its cover. Lindsey was my book that I judged. I did not think we would get a long. I really believed that she was going to try and run the show because she was the oldest, but she did everything but that. Lindsey was such a blessing to have on our team, and all in all she truly impacted my life.

Lindsey, or as I like to call her, Yin Gee, is so spunky, and super fun. We have very similar personalities in the fact that we’re both really loud, obnoxious, and we just really love having fun! Yin Gee has a heart that is captivated  by the Lord, and it’s so obvious that the Lord is working in and through her. From our many conversations that was so evident. Yin gee is one of those amazing women who can just see redemption written all over her. After an extremely heavy past she is not ashamed, but instead she owns her story, and knows that the Lord gave her that story, because he knew she would prevail and come out victorious with Christ!

The first real conversation that I had with Linds was about 2 or 3 weeks into project. It was late one night, and I wanted to really get to know her, so I asked if we could go on a walk, so we broke the rules and went (believe me our punishment came later). But we decided to head down 5th street, and talk about our lives, our struggles, and our redemption. In the process of the getting into the deep stuff Lindsey and I found that we had similar past, and it really helped us connect and not feel alone. I knew in that moment that I truly had a friend in this amazing woman! It was then I started calling her mom, and I know deep down she loved it 🙂 She was that woman that could lead me, and help me process through things, especially the hard stuff.

In the midst of this incredible heart to heart, a bike cop pulls up behind us, and asked us to come off the rocks. She proceeded to tell us that it was illegal for us to be on the rocks, and that she could actually arrest us for being on them. It turns out a woman in one of the condos above where we were sitting loves to see people get in trouble for doing stupid stuff on bayside, but this cop gave us grace, and allowed us to go if we left right then. So Lindsey and I headed out, and continued our talk. In this time it became more about laughter, and having fun. It was a new side of Lindsey, one that I really loved.

Lindsey was one of the women on project that I knew I could run to at any moment, and just be extremely open with, and be honest, and I knew in return she would help me, and lead me on an amazing path. I knew that God put her in my life for a reason, and I know that she will do amazing things in this world, and I am praying for her to find that path with God in mind.

It is always known that someone goes on project, and gets a tattoo, well this year that person was Lindsey. She got a beautiful tattoo on her foot that says, “I am Second.” It is so beautiful, and I totally see where God was working in her life for her to see that she is not number one in life. That she must submit, and surrender to God to find true, and real satisfaction. I am so thankful that this summer I got to see her grow, and walk away a completely changed woman. She has truly become a Proverbs 31 woman, and is a woman who is meant to be respected, and served. I pray for her often, and can not wait to stand beside her through life!

Another huge blessing that I actually got to experience with Lindsey was being baptized. It was a moment in life that I will never forget. For us to all make a very public proclamation of our faith and do this was so beautiful. Seven of us were baptized in the Atlantic Ocean, and it was a moment that will forever unite all of us as a family. Seeing Lindsey be dunked in the water was so beautiful, and it was such a picture of God’s love for us. Each person that was baptized that day each had completely different walks with the Lord, and we came together in that moment to glorify God with that choice of baptism. I am so thankful that I got to be there with Lindsey, and everyone else, and just truly experience the joy of His presence, and most importantly His redemtion.

Heavenly Father, I praise you for the precious gift of my Yin Gee! She has truly impacted my life, and I praise you for allowing our paths to cross, and in many ways unite. She has a story that will transform lives, and lead them on a path closer to you. She has such a passion for people, and serving them that it’s a portrait of you and your unchanging love for us. You constantly reach after us, and want us to want you, and I thank you the Lindsey has made the decision to want you, and love you. Father it was such a blessing to see her get baptized, and to see her life radically change throughout the course of summer project! It was such an awesome experience and one that I will forever praise you for. Lord you are so gracious, and loving, and I know that you are going to work miracles through Lindsey’s life, and her walk. I pray that you continue to guide her, and that she continually follow. Lord your plans for her are greater than anyone that she could plan for herself, and I thank you for that. You’re so amazing, and I truly praise you for giving me an amazing sister like Lindsey to love, and to be loved by. I say all these things in your son’s name, Amen!

“‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up”

-I Wont Give Up, Jason Mraz

Samantha Willing

Samantha Willing is a most precious gift from God above. I met this amazing woman on the Ocean City, Maryland Summer Project, and from the first second I saw her I knew she would be my best friend! It’s funny because that’s actually something that we both say about each other.

 

She is also amazing for the simple fact that she allows me to photograph her, and use her as an amazing model! She’s gorgeous isn’t she, yea, God did a great job :). One thing I learned from Sam this summer is that you have to be willing to cut loose, and have fun. We both love to be loud, and laugh until we almost pee ourselves (although it usually ended in me actually peeing myself). Sam was my accountability partner from the beginning, even after we got official ones, Sam was still the one that I went to when I needed prayer, and accountability.

Sam and I were known as a notorious pair on project, people knew we were close, and that it would take more than a stick of dynamite to break us up. We were blessed from the beginning because we knew the Lord fully wanted us to be together. We were placed in the same life group (ATL METH… GET HIGH ON JESUS!), and in every activity we were put in the same group. It was so obvious, and beautiful. If we were around there was never a dull moment.

One major lesson that I learned from Sam was that I should never be ashamed to be myself. She showed me that within all my craziness, and weird antics that people would love me through it all. She constantly affirmed me, and I hope I did the same for her. I learned that I need to constantly listen for the Lord, and his plan, and in that I will surely be lead on the path of righteousness,and true freedom. That was another thing, Freedom, Sam would constantly be there, and listen, and not get annoyed when I would go on about freedom! In fact, she encouraged it! We would see something or hear something that reminded us of freedom, and both freak out in excitement. Of course my excitement was a little bit louder, but never the less Sam encouraged it.

We are also equally crazy! Sam and I would laugh until we cried almost everyday. One memory I will never forget was on our way to life group dinner one night. Our amazing life group decided that they wanted to go to Chipotle, so we packed up our cars and went. Sam and I of course chose to ride together. On our ride we talked, and at one point Sam asked me if I was excited to get my new car, and as she asked me that the fan on the air-vent fell into Sam’s hand. Sam looked at me in shock and we both just started laughing, and this literally went on for the rest of our ride, granted the whole ride is a max of 10 minutes, but never the less we died. Upon getting out of the car we told others, and none of them had the same reaction as us. It was partially then that we realized that the Lord really did plan out our friendship. People don’t, or won’t always understand us. We are literally a bunch of psychos, but I wouldn’t have that amazing girl any other way.

Sam is a serious blessing in my life, and I can’t thank God enough for her. She taught me so much this summer, and I hope I impacted her at least half as much as she impacted me. I can not wait till we are reunited, and I get to hug her, and sit with her, and laugh, cry, and even potentially pee ourselves.But never the less I love this girl, more then I could ever explain to you in a blog post.

Heavenly Father, I praise you for the amazing gift of Sam. Lord she is such a blessing in my life, and Lord I pray that she will fully see that gem that she is. You crafted her and made her amazing before the world even knew she was coming. I praise you for who she is, and for the woman that she is growing into daily. Lord I pray that she never stray from you, and that she always seek you first, and never walk away. Father she has a story that will impact millions I just pray that you give her the strength to share it relentlessly, and fearlessly. I pray that she impact the kingdom for you, and your good. Lord she is such a gift in my life, and I thank you for her. I can not wait till the day we are reunited and get to glorify you with our friendship. Lord I praise you because you   are so awesome, and the added bonus is you give me people like Sam to walk through life with. Lord I pray our friendship prevails the test of time, and that one day we will stand next to each other as we pass into new stages of our lives. But through it all Lord I simply thank you. Because you gave me Sam to love! 🙂 I say all these things in your son’s precious, and amazing name, Amen!

 

Heaven knows I’d walk through Hell with you.

Hi friends, I’m sorry it’s been a little while, but a lot has happened. I got home from summer project, had to immediately pack and head back to school. Since being at school I’v had non-stop training since I will be an R.A this coming semester. Finally I have a moment to sit down and reflect today. Let me tell you it’s been extremely hard. I’ve found myself just so emotional, and slightly overwhelmed. I have of course not been spending adequate time in the word. You would think that I would learn by now that when I neglect to do this I get extremely overwhelmed, and just stressed beyond all belief. I really want to be intentional about spending time with the Lord, so please if you read this regularly, and see me hold em accountable to do so.

Now one of my main sources of stress has been a person. When I was in 6th grade I met an amazing guy, he quickly became my best friend. I mean seriously, we would talk every night for hours. I saw this guy as way more than a best friend, he was my brother. We continued our friendship through the years, and did nothing but grow closer. Now there was one major divide in our relationship, he doesn’t love Jesus, or want anything to do with faith. That caused a lot of problems. When I decided to really take ownership of my faith I lost a piece of that friendship, and I knew it. I would push away in certain aspects because I knew I couldn’t  handle it, and I didn’t want something to end in an argument.

Well right before I went on project, after years of knowing that the Lord didn’t want us to be close anymore, and fighting it anyways, I ended our friendship. I told him that I knew that this is what had to happen, I didn’t want it to, but I knew I needed to. Halfway through summer project I felt the Lord calling me to write him a letter, so, I did. I told him of my bad doings when it came to our friendship. I apologized for everything I did wrong. This was far from something that I wanted to do, but once again I knew I had to. I felt that Lord had his plan in that, and to this day I don’t know how he felt about the letter, or if he ever read it. I never got any type of acknowledgment of it, I don’t even know if he got it. But nevertheless I knew I had to send it.

Well today I got a phone call from my grandmother, and she told me that she ran into him outside of the local grocery store back home. She said they talked like normal, and she fought with all she could to not bring up certain things that I’ve asked her before not to do. But he continually brought me up. Now it’s not this is completely abnormal, but like I said before he became a part of ym family, and in this my grandma literally considered him one of her own. So for them to talk about me as much as they did is slightly abnormal. But I can honestly say I don’t know if this shows me anything. I don’t know if he;s realized that our friendship was unhealthy, or what, but I haven’t ever stopped praying for him. I want him to know Jesus, and see Him the way I do. I wont give up on him, but in no way will I be pursuing him.

I know I’ve walked through Hell with this kid, and I know even to this day I would defend him! I still love him very much, and I know that in ending our friendship that didn’t mean ending the Love. It meant that I needed to at the time separate myself from a relationship that I know for sure I put above my relationship with God, and that is never ok. I put him on a pedestal, and believed that he would take my problems away, and that he would satisfy my every need, but he can’t. Only God could do that, and once I realized that, that is the way I thought I knew I had to make things right. So since that time I have been in the word, and really studying what God wants me to do. I have fully learned that I have to fully surrender to Him, and in that I can, and will have freedom!

I know that the Lord has great plans for my life, and in that I want to do nothing but fully pursue them. I want to fight for God, and in that it means sacrifice, so what did I do? I sacrificed something that was holding me back, and now I realize that it was the right decision. I don’t for a second believe that this friend is fully out of my life, I know the Lord has His ways, and I will never put them in a box. He is unboundless, and righteous, and he is my Father! I know he knows what is best for me, and my friend. I trust in Him to reunite us if he so chooses. I have really learned to follow, and wait on God. His timing is so perfect, and from everything I’ve experienced I don’t think I’ll be fighting Him anymore.

“Better days are coming soon
Just hold on I promise you
You won’t ever be alone
Through thick and thins
I don’t know why
I hope by now you realize
I’d stand and face the flame
And I know you’d do the same”- “Heaven Knows” Caroline County

Welcome to planet normal, where it’s everything but.

Oh my goodness where to begin. It really doesn’t matter what I say because you’ll really never understand how my life has changed this summer. The Lord has shown me so much, and I am ready to take this new life to my campus, and make amazing new changes. I have seen these changes as nothing but good, and am so excited to show the world what God has done in my life. He has worked out these amazing changes and they have brought a new light into my life. i’m excited to share these with you, but like I said you might not completely understand them, but it’s ok 🙂

This summer I learned so much about myself, and how I fail everyday, but God loves me anyways. I learned how to be served my men who genuinely care, and want me to feel respected, as a woman, and sister to them in Christ. The Lord showed me how important it is to say what needs to be said, and not allow things to fester, and only get bigger. I learned that I’m amazing just the way I am, and other people love that I don’t take life too seriously. I learned that I am free to be me, and live in the skin that God gave me, and that because of this freedom I can spread it like wildfire so others can live in it as well. I learned so much that I could literally write this whole entry starting sentences with, “I learned”, but I wont do that.

But the main point is I learned, now what do I do with all of that. I don’t want these amazing lessons to go in vain, I want the whole world to hear about the amazing summer that I’ve had. The Lord calls us to Go, and I have found that this is not just a saying, but instead it is the smallest, but at the same time largest, and most important commandment he gives us. He tells us to Go out, and change this world for his glory! That is exactly what i intend on doing.

This was not my first mission, but I can 100% say that the changes I made this summer, are vastly different than anyone I’ve made before. I can say this honestly because I had an opportunity to show these changes within 15 minutes of me walking into my home. I have a family member who i have butted heads with my entire life. She has constantly been that black hole in my life that I have constantly distanced myself from. I have found that her relations in my life are extremely toxic. But this time coming home, I knew I needed to change that. While I was away I got to experience the extreme blessing of receiving a new car. This vehicle is a major upgrade from the car I previously owned. Now my cousin has the misfortune of always ruining her cars. She has blown the transmission on 5 vehicles in the last 3 years. Some of these vehicles did not even technically belong to her, so it’s been quite the struggle. Now upon arriving home I was asked by my grandmother if I would be willing to give my old vehicle to this cousin. I didn’t hesitate by any means. I went to my room, grabbed my keys and took my cousin outside. I started off by telling her that I was sorry that I didn’t love her like I should have, and that I was not doing her right by always ignoring her, and doing other things within our relationship. I then told her that I wanted to give her this car so that she could get up, and out, and make a life for her and her family. We then hugged it out and cried for a minute (as if I hadn’t cried enough that day).

It was in that moment that I got to see that I really have grown, and the the Lord is changing me and making me new everyday. I am preparing to head back to school in less than 48 hours, and I don’t know how I feel about this yet, but ready or not I must go. I will be an R.A this year, and it seriously is a prime time for me to show the world what I’ve learned. I hope to impact my residents, and really help to impact, and change their lives for the better. I can’ say that I’ve fully processed leaving summer project yet, but I pray that the Lord will grant m with patience, and clarity as to how my life will be going in the coming semester. I want to be diligent in these changes that I’ve experienced and I want nothing to go in vain. Matthew 28:18-20 is not just a verse, but instead a life style. So for that I fully intend to GO!

I am Washed by the Water

The Lord has revealed so much to me this summer. I don’t even know where to begin, but I know he has. I have found myself in situations that the old me would have never made it through. Now I am honestly in this funk that I really don’t wanna be in. I am catching an attitude so quickly, and I’m just sad. I don’t want to leave these amazing people that I’ve met here, I don’t want to lose these memories. I’m just so scared.

The last time I wrote I mentioned a possible relationship that could have possibly developed, but I’m sad to say that I don’t think that is happening. My heart is just being pulled in so many different directions, and I really don’t know what he wants. I need a man who is going to step up, and lead me, and at this point it seems like this guys is being 10 years old, and simply playing games with my heart, and that is not something I need. So for that I will be treading extremely lightly, and not focusing on this anymore. I want to make it very clear that I still care about this awesome brother of mine. He is really seeking after the Lord, and I believe that is just not in God’s plans for him right now. So for that I will continue to pray for him just as I have been doing. I trust in the Lord’s plan, and know only he know’s what is best.

I want to end this project on a great note, and I want to be able to leave here and know that I kept the Lord as my true focus. He is so amazing , and wants what is best for me and my heart. I know he has a man waiting for me. I just need to seriously focus on him, and stay in his word, and I know he will lead me on the amazing path of righteousness that I deserve, and that I am so undeserving of. But God loves me so much, and I know He knows what is best for my heart.