Well, it has been almost 3 months since I moved out to the mile-high city, and wow, all I can say is that God is SO FAITHFUL!! A major reason why I decided to not go into ministry like I wrote about in my last post, was because I needed to form a strong community. I have been praying for almost 4 years since I became a Christian to have that. The journey has been really difficult and lonely.
But like I said God is so faithful! Though it came later than I hoped, I can see my prayers coming to fruition. It’s wild because I feel better connected in Denver in only a few months than I did after living in Columbus for at least if not more than a year.
Within the first couple of weeks, I was on the light rail going into the city for work and prayed for at least one friend that I would connect with. Well, through various random connections I met an awesome girl named Gwen (pictured above) who was on staff with intervarsity, a Christian ministry for college students. We met up and it was great. She loves Jesus a lot and has a pretty cool story, and we have been developing a friendship ever since. We had a shared passion for college students and I offered to volunteer with intervarsity at the University of Denver. What’s cool is that just before we met, she had been prayer walking around campus and asked God for someone to join her team. Man, God is so good!
I have also found an awesome church that is so gospel focussed and spiritually active within the first few weeks of arriving. Every time I connect deeply with the sermon and experience so much of God’s spirit. I can sense that I will grow tremendously in my walk with the Lord in this church. There are so many wise people here of all different ages, and it’s been cool to be around so many people who are older than me.
The community at church has also been everything I could have ever asked for. The day before I went to the first service, I prayed that I would meet at least one person that I would connect with and get coffee with that next week. Well, that next morning I sat next to a friendly man and chatted a little with him before service and told him I was new. Then immediately after service his wife came up and introduced herself. She was one of the women’s ministry leaders and we got coffee that next week! I felt so loved by God in how he answered such a specific prayer. I knew I was in the right place. As the weeks went by, I got invited to different groups and coffee dates. I am in awe of the hospitality here and how welcoming people have been to me. I first walked into the church without knowing a soul and didn’t feel lonely or really out of place.
What’s cool about Denver and maybe part of the reason for the welcoming atmosphere, is the unique makeup of the city. Most people are not from Colorado and a lot have experienced the transition of moving here without knowing many people. People crave community and know that the people around them do too. I get the sense that people can be more inclined to welcome people into their social circles because they know what it’s like to be an outsider. While it can certainly be a very lonely place, because of these shared experiences, there are also opportunities for unique and rich communities. While I have taken the initiative, many people I have met have reached out first to meet with me or help me connect to others. As well, I have not felt out of place when joining life groups. While some have known each other for several years and are good friends, I have felt welcomed and haven’t experienced much awkwardness or anxiety in the midst of a room full of strangers.
This has been one of the easiest and fastest transitions I have experienced in all my adventures. A big reason is my developing community and my church, but my living situation as well. I have been so graciously welcomed by my very hospitable family I am living with who have been so supportive and loving. I have had the opportunity to be mentored by my Aunt who is a Christian and receive her wisdom and watch her walk with the Lord, which has been very cool. From car troubles to physical ailments my Uncle is always there and is so willing to help. I also live with my autistic cousin who is around my age, and is a joy to be around and provides lots of laughs. It’s his mission and duty to bless people any time they sneeze, to the point where he will climb 2 flights of stairs and diligently hunt me down if he hears me sneeze so he can bless me. One of my favorite moments with him was when we were playing scrabble and my word was gift. He then told me that he was a gift from God. I was overcome with joy and nearly teared up. I am not sure how much of the gospel he’s able to comprehend, but he knows he is loved by God and that is so so cool, and a wonderful reminder of God’s pursuit of all of us.
One more reason I think this transition has been pretty smooth is because of my strong identity in Jesus in this season of life. This was brought to life last weekend at a retreat in the mountains for Intervarsity. Throughout the weekend we were studying the book of Ruth. In one of the first sessions, the speaker explained that in light of the story, “Transitions show us where our foundations are.” In the past, oftentimes when my circumstances changed, my identity was wrapped around the people around me, the place I was at or the job/activities I was involved with. When those things changed or unraveled, I felt lost and/or empty. Oftentimes I was anxious and/or depressed and acted out of fear or mistrust of God. But when I moved to Colorado, I felt secure. My relationship with Jesus was pretty strong and didn’t have much nervousness about moving. I felt this was where God wanted me and I was excited for the adventure. While my life in Columbus wasn’t ideal, I didn’t come to escape my problems and I didn’t have the vision that my life would be perfect here. I knew I would still have struggles, which I have had. The job hunt has been wearisome and some opportunities I thought would pan out haven’t. I have been working at a restaurant since I moved out here, and while it has been alright, I am ready to use my degree and do more fulfilling work. While God has blessed me so far with community, I am still getting to know people and my relationships aren’t super deep yet. Though I have enjoyed it, it can be very exhausting making new friends. At times I experience some loneliness and wish I could grab coffee with a friend who knows me really well.
But through everything, I feel I am on solid ground. I haven’t been overly discouraged by setbacks. God has gifted me with so much patience and I have been growing a ton. From a distance, I can see God painting a wonderful masterpiece over my life and am excited to see what results. God has been so faithful, and I know that he will continue to bring even more blessings.