Tuesday, August 03, 2010

“How was your summer?”

This is probably one of the most dreaded questions someone could anticipate when coming back from a summer experience like CSM.  Challenging.  Wonderful.  Sad.  Frustrating.  Bittersweet.  Heartbreaking.  Life-changing.  How could I possibly put two and a half months of numerous emotions and lessons into even a five-minute conversation?  God has taught me so much about myself, people, ministry, and the city of Chicago, and I feel like it will take me a while to figure out what all of this looks like once I get back into my “normal life”. 
It still amazes me that God has placed me at CSM Chicago this particular summer.  This was His plan for me all along.  Coming off of a great year full of healing and growth in a Christian college environment did not even begin to prepare me for the things I have experienced in my time in such a diverse city as Chicago.  My heart has been broken for the people I met in the soup kitchens.  My compassion and sense of loving discipline has expanded because of the kids at CCO.  My hope in the body of Christ has been renewed due to the pastors I have interacted with from various denominations and ministries I have partnered with throughout the city.  I prayed against complacency throughout the summer, but God definitely renewed my passion to serve Him in Chicago daily.  Now I must pray against complacency when I return home and begin my routine again.  CSM Chicago has been my life this summer…it must not become just a dream that I remember when I look at pictures. 
Here are some of my final reflections:

With every conversation
    A face to a statistic
With every ministry site
    An example of the church to this broken world
With every weakness
    A strength discovered
With every moment of exhaustion
    A passion renewed
With every joy
    A glimpse of Kingdom work
With every failure
    A piece of God’s grace
With every story shared
    A renewed sense of hope
With every city light
    A reminder of God’s promises
With every group serving
    An excitement for the future generations
With every unknown
    A reassurance of God’s faithfulness

So how was my summer?  I don’t think I could have grown in the ways I have this summer if I hadn’t had an experience like CSM.  I have seen God and his work in the lives of His people in a completely different life.  I pray I will continue to see the world from His eyes.

-Sarah, CSM Chicago Summer 2010 City Host

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