This is the first summer in three years that I have not been at STP. Somehow this is a huge relief and slightly heartbreaking at the same time. My summers with the Navigators have shaped me, refined me, given me such joy and many obstacles to overcome, and the Lord has been faithful through it all. Through my time working at Dollywood, I learned that even if a job is boring, monotonous, hot, sweaty, and overall not fun, the Lord can use it, and He can also use me in it. I found that the people I worked with had their own lives and problems, and God provided opportunities for me to step into their lives for a season and form actual, lasting relationships. Relationships that involved prayer, encouragement, hugs, and love. That is something I had never experienced in the five years I worked at a restaurant before going to a summer training program. I've said that STPs have changed my life, and a mission I have been given is to serve and honor God in every position I'm put in, especially wherever I end up working. Then the actual job came.
As I started work as a server at a restaurant here in Knoxville a few weeks ago, I found myself slipping into my "server Kathryn" persona, the girl who had never gone to a summer training program, never engaged in deep, spiritual relationships with co-workers, and never really worked to glorify God and not herself. My conversations with people at work mostly involved listening to their complaints about tables, other servers, managers, and not much else. I found that I wasn't seeking to get to know these people, or even go to the effort to learn their names. Around this time, the summer training program was beginning in the Forge and I was finding myself feeling weird and sad that I wasn't there, that I didn't have something filling up my time all day every day, that I wasn't going to spend the summer making new friends and studying the Word with them, and that I wasn't going to be working at Dollywood. During a quiet time before work one day, I realized that this summer really is going to be different, and that's the way God intended it to be. BUT it doesn't have to be any less rewarding, refining, and intentional than any other summer I've had in the Forge.
I've resolved to make a change. To be myself while I'm working (a follower of Christ, a weird, quirky person, a joyful woman of God, etc.), to study the Bible, to spend time in prayer, to make this summer count for something. for the Lord. for eternity! FOR FREEDOM!!!!
and so... yeah.
Ask me about it sometime.