But in all seriousness, when I opened the email from the director of finances at Christ Church with a list of my donors so far, I was both pleasantly surprised and touched not so much by the total amount of donations, but by the long list of individual names of those who had contributed. The majority of the people who have given are members of Christ Church, and while I don't want to underrate the importance of donors who are not Christ Church members (thank you, thank you!) I was struck by the incredible, God-given support that my church community has given me since the announcement of my mission year. I am so lucky to have people--not all of whom even know me personally, but know other members of my family or simply believe in supporting a fellow parishioner--that jump at the chance to help make my dreams come true.
This love that I've felt radiating over me lately isn't just from the numerous people who have donated; it's also from the love of the clergy and staff of Christ Church who have helped me with planning the fundraising process, publicized my mission to the congregation, and supported me in my discernment of YASC. I could not have done any of this without them, and you can be sure that I wouldn't be as close to my financial goal if it wasn't for their desire to assist me in such a daunting task.
All of these things--financial giving, supporting me in my mission and goals and helping to make it all come together--made me realize just how loved I really am by the people who surround me every Sunday. It took a little time for me to stop and think about this to realize that the love of the people of Christ Church is God's love incarnate. It seems to be one of the more close-to-perfect examples of God's love being an active force in my life. It's not always easy to see how God's love is shaping and changing you and your future, but this has been one of those times when it's been clear as day. I am thankful for times like these when I feel the powerful love and support of others, because it makes God seem a little more real to me. It reinforces my belief, my connection and my relationship with Him. It helps sustain me in times when I'm not sure if He's there and in times when I am desperately praying for His guidance and protection.
So thank you, Christ Church. Thank you for blessing me with the desire to serve, with a love of community and with a support system that will never fail me.