The beginning of a new year brings a lot of people to look forward to what’s ahead for the year. The fellows were no exception. January started off with an opportunity for us to reflect on the things that we have enjoyed doing, the gifts we’ve been given, and the opportunities that we’ve encountered to give us insight into what could be next for us at our Career and Vocation Retreat. Along with this came thinking about jobs and career paths and things that could be in store for the year and beyond. January has been full of exciting conversations, dreaming about the future, spontaneous drives around Raleigh, and wayyyyy too much time spent on Zillow.

But the beginning of a new year also inevitably leads to reflecting on the previous one. The theme that kept coming up as I reflected on my previous 5 months being in Raleigh was thankfulness. That thankfulness was what spurred me to write a letter to the people at Church of the Apostles who make the Raleigh Fellows Program possible. ...Ok, so it wasn’t really my idea, Ashley asked us to, but I do think it’s the truest picture of why I’m thankful for my past five months as a fellow. So here it is:

I can’t tell you how thankful I am for Fellows. I came into this year being unsure of who I was, unsure of where I was headed, unsure of who the Lord was making me into, and even unsure of what I believed to be true about the Lord. In the Raleigh Fellows Program, I found a space to wrestle through these questions alongside 8 others who were struggling through some of the same things. I am particularly thankful for the community that Fellows has surrounded me with this year. Being a very late addition to the group, I joke that I got the “left-overs” of people who didn’t want to commit to a Fellow this year but Ashley convinced them into it for my sake ;). I can joke about this because of how untrue it really is. I know that the Lord had prepared the way for me to be a fellow in Raleigh because of how perfectly placed I was in each area of fellows. My host family has loved me in a way I didn’t even know existed and have provided me a safe place to rest and be comforted this year. My mentor is an incredibly wise woman who has walked through similar life experiences as I have and we get to wrestle through our current issues together. Ashley and Sam have been incredible friends, encouragers, and leaders and have given me a beautiful picture of what a healthy, God-centered, partnership marriage can be. The other fellows have walked through one of the hardest seasons of life alongside me, whether it’s by offering words of encouragement and love, or quietly bearing my burdens with me and for me. They have been patient and kind and I couldn’t be more thankful for their friendship. Thank you for all that you do to make this program happen. I am forever changed because of it.

So here’s to a new year full of appreciating the past, living in the present, and being excited about the future.