Growth

It’s been a long and stressful week. One of those weeks where you get to the end and breathe a sigh of relief. I had my job interview for CAP on Thursday, and preparing for it got me thinking about the last nine months. Reflecting on just how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown.

Change in people is a gradual process, so much so that often we miss it altogether. Sometimes it takes someone looking in from the outside to point it out. I was a very different person when I first came to CAP. I arrived with grief still very fresh in my mind, lacking confidence and belief in myself. I remember coming away from my first few weeks, doubting my ability to fit in, wondering if I was in the right place.  I was the girl dreading the prospect of talking to creditors on the phone, and intimidated by the thought of raising three thousand pounds. I thought if I could keep my head down I could get through it, but I didn’t really see how I was going to grow.

Now nine months later I can see that God has been growing me in ways I would not have predicted. I have a greater understanding of myself and am much more confident and secure. Now challenging calls don’t phase me and I am confident at my job. This year has helped me to rediscover my love of writing, and given me the opportunity to lead worship at church. I have seen God provide above and beyond what I could have imagined with my fundraising (I’m now on over £5600). I’ve had the joy of meeting and working with some amazing people, and to feel like an integral part of a wonderful team. Strangely, for all the growth and change, I feel like I’ve become more and more myself.

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However, growth is painful and this year has been far from easy. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but when you find yourself in the middle of a growth period, it can be difficult to see what is happening. There have been many challenging and confusing weeks, where I have questioned my choices and analysed my decision to come to CAP. Weeks where the changes seemed painfully slow and I wondered if I was growing at all. As I reflected on this I was reminded of something I wrote in this post back in October:

“As I learnt in the heart of Norway, sometimes his purpose doesn’t make sense to our human eyes. We are refined in the heat of the fire, not in the summer sunshine. Fire hurts, God’s plans are not for the faint hearted. To trust God, is to see past the tangled mess of our emotions and circumstances, and fix our eyes on who He is and what we know about His character. The truths that don’t change with our circumstances, the reality of the Almighty God who loved us enough to send His son to die for us.”

This internship has been part of a refining process, a process which I know is far from over. God has got His hand on me, moulding and shaping me into who He created me to be. It hurts to be in the heat of the fire, but it is worth it when you can look back and see what He has created.

Sometimes as Christians we get so fired up with a desire to change part of the world, that we loose sight of the fact that the change must start with us. If we want to be the solution to the problems we see, we have to be prepared to grow. We can’t change the world without being changed ourselves.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” 2 Corinthians 3:18

This is a lifelong process, and today I’m excited to know I’m only at the start of it. These next few weeks are likely to be especially challenging as the recruitment process at CAP comes to its conclusion. None of us know yet what jobs are available or where we may end up. It’s a time of prayer and trust, resting in the assurance that my future is ultimately in God’s hands. His plans can’t be thwarted by the decisions of man. I know wherever I end up, God will continue to grow and shape me.

So for those of you facing challenges right now, be encouraged that God can and will use these situations for growth. Know that whilst you may not see it now, one day you will look back and see just how much you’ve grown, how you’ve been shaped. Growth is worth the hard work.

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