Like many of you, as the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded ServeHere has been challenged to adapt how we walk out our mission. Mobilizing a generation of faith to be on mission where they'll work and live continues to be what God is calling us to do. But our approach to pursuing this mission has to change, and it's no surprise because this season has demanded necessary pivots from all of us.
We want our college students to look back at this time and remember that when their life changed during COVID, their priorities, and the priorities of Jesus, were sweetly aligned. We deeply desire that ServeHere can help catalyze and connect our students to this reality. For ServeHere, this has meant an even greater focus on equipping college students to show up in these challenging times in ways that glorify God.
We reached out to Allie Yoder, a ServeHere alumna and college Senior, to share her experience during COVID. Allie interned through SerevHere last Summer and spent 10 weeks with us learning what it means to love God, love people, and discern God's voice in all circumstances. With a foundation of the power of God, and an upcoming cancelled college graduation, we were curious how she was navigating the uncertainty. We asked her: What are you learning through Covid that you wouldn’t have been able to learn without it?
Here's what she had to say:
There’s no perfect way to sum up what I’ve been learning during this season. It’s felt odd, relaxing, and all over the place, all at once. For lack of a better comparison, I feel like 22-year-old Taylor Swift, “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time...miserable and magical, oh yeah.”
God has really given me a lot in this season: a loving family, a safe home, the ability to preserve community through technology.
At the same time, as a Senior in college, there are lasts I won’t get to experience, people that I miss, and people I might never see again. I’m bummed. But, I don’t feel that I’m being shorted or wish I could turn back time. The Lord has given me such peace about how this semester played out and what’s happening now.
At the same time, I feel an underlying, unsettled yearning. I have more time on my hands, and I’m getting to rest more than I have all year. Part of me loves it, but part of me is longing for my routine. For a return to normalcy.
The other day, my mom mentioned that when we’re thrown back into a regular pace of life, we’ll miss this. I could see some validity to what she was saying. But ultimately, I thought about how I feel like I’m in a state of limbo. Everything is slowed down, and everything feels messy, and I’m just waiting for what’s next, waiting for this to pass.
I'm not sure that I will miss this.
Something the Lord has been teaching me throughout the year is that He is always moving, always working. Right now, in the present, He is up to something! He is not a wasteful, unaware God. No, He is always doing a work, in my life and in the lives of others and in the whole world. Even when I can’t see the full picture and don’t understand the details, He is bringing to completion what He started (Philippians 1:6). He is always in the process of working all things together for my good and for His glory (Romans 8:28, Colossians 1:16).
How quickly the strangeness of this situation caused me to forget this truth. I thought that the abnormality of everything was a reason to overlook, to disengage. But who God is and what He does is not limited by the realities of our finite, physical world. He is eternal, outside of space and time, and He wants us to share with Him in something bigger than we can see. He wants us to fix our minds on things of God, not on things of man. (Matthew 16:23). Even in our lamenting, our mourning, our recognizing that things are not how they ought to be, He wants us to look to Him.
Being reminded that God was surely up to something, I thought about what that something in my life could possibly be. I examined my contradictory emotions and thoughts and questions. And as I prayed, I began to understand that God could meet each of my concerns with truth from His Word.
As I have walked with and grown with Jesus, He’s shown me how faithful He is to meet me where I am. He met me in high school. He was with me and upheld me last summer. He’s been by my side this entire school year, yet my heart so quickly forgets that He is with me right now. Ready to meet me in the midst of abnormality and questions and weariness and thankfulness. He is here to receive it all and to give true rest to my soul.
In my longing, He tells me
“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:23
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
In my gratefulness, He tells me
“Rejoice in the Lord always; Again I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
In my impatience, He gives me
The Lord meets me in more ways than I could ever type into words. And even if I were to reflect on my whole life, there would be a million ways He met me that I would pass over or forgotten.
For those reading these words I want to remind you that God is in your midst. He is right here, ready to meet you where you are, teach you where you are, and take you on a forever journey with Him as your father, friend, and shepherd.
After taking stock of all that God has poured into me in this time, I suppose my mom was right.
I will truly miss the gift of extra time to press into Him and notice what He’s doing. Maybe you haven’t been afforded extra time in this season, but I assure you that God is doing a mighty work in you, too. Come to Him with what you’ve got, questions and apathy and emotions and all, and He’ll take you in and teach you. Even in our moments, our seasons, of feeling "happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time", we can trust that He is always at work.