It’s Martha Anne. It’s early in the year, but I wanted to go ahead and write down my thoughts from these first two weeks (i’m sorry what ??)! Due to the incredible frequency that I’ve recently said my name, hometown, college, job, host family, and tentative enneagram number, I will not be sharing that here. If you’re curious about me, head to the Raleigh Fellows insta or stalk me on Facebook!
On the last day of my senior year of high school, our beloved ethics and AP government teacher Mr. Peck gave us a charge that’s stuck with me through many changing seasons - lean in. Right before moving to Raleigh I spent a large part of the summer in Cape Town, South Africa; the other majority of my summer was spent with my family and closest friends. I was with people who know and love me well. So honestly - the LAST thing I wanted to do when I got to Raleigh was lean in to a new set of people and new stage of vulnerability. But those people who know and love me well built me up and pushed me on, knowing that nothing would ruin my start in Raleigh like a closed heart and mind.
And praise God I leaned in. Praise God we all leaned in.
We’ve leaned in to this beautiful new city that holds brokenness and beauty side-by-side.
We’ve leaned in to our wonderful families who feed us the best food.
We’ve leaned in to working three days a week, as well as the physical and emotional highs and lows that come with working.
We’ve leaned in to new and forced friendships that show us more of what Christ’s love looks like and, at times, our own sinfulness.
We’ve leaned in to prayer and the understanding that we cannot do this crazy, beautiful life without Jesus.
We’ve leaned in to hard questions, uneasy topics, and uncomfortable conversations to spur growth in one another.
I love them. I love them all. I feel like I’ve been a member of Apostles for months and the fellows have been my best friends for years. And I can’t help but think that if my mind, soul, heart and body hadn’t been in a position of willingness to lean in (thank you Holy Spirit) I wouldn’t be in this place of sheer joy with these people.
Now that doesn’t mean things aren’t hard. It’s hard to lean in to the truth that I miss my college besties who are hours away. It’s hard to find the “unforced rhythm of grace” Jesus describes and my soul desires. It’s hard to lean in to the full schedule. It’s hard to wake up in the 6 o’clock hour. It’s hard to balance hanging out all the time and giving myself space to breathe. It’s hard to die to yourself. This we know.
So as we continue to actively lean in, I’m praying this prayer for myself & my fellow fellows. I’d love you to pray it over us as well.
“Lord make me an instrument of your goodness
Where there is exclusion may I sew love
Where there is war, peace
Where there is confusion, empathy
Where there is sorrow, friendship
Where there is pain, prayer
And where there is brokenness, belonging
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be comforted as to comfort
to be seen as to see
To be known as to know
For it is humanness, we know holiness
it is in suffering, we know sovereignty
And it's in pride’s funeral where hope is conceived
-Brooke Elaine (from https://www.brookelaine.work/home)