Agents of God’s Love (A 2019 Extravaganza post)

“As we learn what it is to be a subject of God’s love, we also live as agents of God’s love in the world.” Dr. Terri Martinson Elton

The ELCA Youth Ministry Network is a vessel of this very love. A simple bouquet of flowers sat on the table. A plain white piece of paper with their names typed out sat next to that bouquet. A reminder that many within our community were taken from us way too soon.

This community has become such an incredible blessing and gift in my life. There is something that this community gives each one of us; a space to be our vulnerable authentic selves. I think of how dear Prairie Rose Seminole was her authentic self with us. That was a gift.

The music that Sparkle Motion shared with us. Each time, space for each artist to step forward and share their gifts with one another. Yet another gift. For it was our love that allowed Garrison to share powerful words with us.

“You can’t really know what it means to be invited to your table and to be accepted for who I am!”–Garrison Starr

Ever since, I have found myself belting out the words to the song “This is Me” from the movie the Greatest Showman.

This community of people who work, volunteer, etc with children, youth and families is a gem in our church. This time to be reminded that we are not alone. A time to come together feeling refreshed and renewed. It doesn’t always look the ways we expect either. But it is always there. I find myself once again coming away with a sense of peace and hope and my cup is overflowing with this amazing community that has been an agent of God’s love to me in incredible ways.

This year, I had the opportunity to lead a workshop. I sometimes find myself thinking I share my story too often. But what I am realizing is that God has called me to share my story; to help break the stigma around mental health awareness. This is me…the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness.

The people that attended my workshop were such a gift to me. I was blessed by their presence. There is something so incredibly holy about sharing in our stories. In telling our stories, we are able to come to the table; broken and beautiful.

This community is a holy place that isn’t afraid to share in all the disruptions of life; the hard and not so hard, the joy filled and the sad ones, and so much more. (I mean they did bring us dessert FIRST at the banquet. I digress….)

Thank You to the E leadership team for always offering a stellar event that is more than just a time of learning. It is a time of so much more! Thank You for the ways that we are agents of God’s love together! I am so incredible thankful for that love in the midst of the broken and messiness of life!

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