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Prior to July 2017, our newsletter was named Your NFC. All the archived issues remain available, as you can see down the right-hand column!
On March 8, I was able to attend the women’s retreat on the beautiful Oregon coast at Twin Rocks camp. As I sit and reflect on those three days, I remember many fond memories, including watching a group of beautiful and diverse women learning to dance, with another group sitting around a table knitting wonderful and creative things, while the rest formed clusters of joyful conversation. They’re all beautiful, and I was blessed to be able to spend the weekend with them. Although I was the youngest at the retreat, my heart was so warmed by the vast array of stories that were present and the hearts that were shared.
Over the course of the three days, I spent many hours walking beach after beach, seeking God’s beauty with my eye and camera lens. And beauty I found. A bald eagle soared overhead. Pink and purple shells shimmered in the sandy sunlight. Dogs, with bigger smiles on their faces even than mine, ran into the water, splashing and playing. Seagulls bathed in the waters, content for a moment to silence their harassing of picnickers. Driftwood piled high in stunning architectures created by wind and water. A wily wind playfully entwined with my hair and skirt, turning my head to notice more, more. Beauty. It is all around us. Reflecting God’s face, God’s love. And in the midst of all the beauty I realized a very important thing. I am a part of that beauty, as is every woman at the retreat, as are we all. In all of our faults and failures and struggles and burdens and hurts and
regrets, we are beautiful—even if we often allow the world to tell us otherwise. But as I walked along the beach, the only human in sight, as I twirled with the wind, allowing it to lead me in a dance, I felt beautiful. There was no one there to confirm that fact, but
more importantly there was no one there to deny it. It was just me, dancing to the rhythm of my God’s creation. My brokenness didn’t matter. He was piecing me back together; he is constantly piecing us all back together with his faithful, endless, and binding love.
Download the rest of the March 22nd Your NFC by clicking here.
All In a Day’s Life
By Ben Kulpa, NFC Family Member
I love my job. If you don’t know what I do, let me explain. I basically get paid to have good conversations with bright college students. Life is good. College students are a great source of encouragement and hope. I live and share life with college students because I believe in their great potential toward changing the world. My job really revolves around helping college students combine what they learn in the classroom with what they believe. Making these connections was one of the most formative things that ever happened to me, and it was largely due to the people who were part of my life while I was in college.
How does what we believe shape what we do? Most college students (and I suspect most of us) find it difficult to identify what they believe and not just how they spend their time. Here are some examples. I ask an elementary education major what it looks like to be a Christian teacher. The typical response: they are extra nice to the children or they don’t participate in the gossip around the water cooler. I ask a business major what it looks like to be a Christian professional. The typical response: “Well, it probably means I shouldn’t rip anyone off.” These things are important, yes, but they do not by themselves tell the whole story.
Lately, I have started asking the question, “How does who you are matter to the kingdom?” The question I used to ask focused more on what we do, which is the easy part. My revised question goes more to who we are. Again they are both important questions, but we rarely, if ever, get asked the second. So why does this question matter? By answering it we understand God and ourselves better. I believe we are all created as image bearers. God made us and made us in his image. There is nothing we can do to fully rid ourselves of God’s imprint on our lives. Therefore, understanding who we are allows us to see what part of God we reflect, and that is beautiful.
So I would pose this question to you as well. Let’s assume we have all been made in the image of God and that because of this we are drawn toward certain callings in life: stay-at-home parent, accountant, teacher, pastor…. How does how we are made/who we are matter to the kingdom? What role does your being a nurse/lawyer/administrator play in ushering in the kingdom? How does your story help others understand their own role in the world? Regardless of our station in life, what does it mean to see others and ourselves through the eyes of the creator? We matter. Others matter.
These are the conversations I get to have every day of my life—and I love it. This is why who I am matters to the kingdom. I am a question asker and a story teller/collector. I tell and I listen. I am curious about who people are and who they are yet to become, regardless of age. I am a teacher/guide. Who are you?
Download the rest of the March 15th Your NFC by clicking here.