A New Season
To try and capture, to its fullest extent, my gratitude for my time with Jesus Said Love would be completely impossible. Brett and Emily Mills took a risk and invited me to lead Jesus Said Love College Station as a wide-eyed 21 year old. Since then, I have had a front row seat to watching the beauty and redemption of God time and time again. This work, while it began as a desire to serve women impacted by the commercial sex industry, really ended up being the specific avenue God used to bring me to my own surrender and healing. I have grown personally, professionally, and spiritually in exponential ways during the last eight years I have worked at Jesus Said Love and it is with a heavy heart that I have made a decision to leave a team, a family, and a position that I love so dearly. As I have already mentioned, there isn’t enough room for all of the public “thank-you’s” I would like to offer, but there are a few that I would like to mention at this time.
First, Brett and Emily, thank you for providing a space for me in the JSL family and for continuing to love and support me throughout the past eight years. I have learned much about the love, the belonging, the hope of Christ through you two. Your continued belief and trust in me as a person as well as my dreams and ideas is not lost on me. Jersey and Katie, working alongside of you both has been the richest gift. You both exude light and hope and plowing alongside of you two has brought much joy and gratitude into my life! To every volunteer and partner in the multiple communities I have worked in, thank you for your many labors of love and for both the seen and unseen investment you have made in JSL. Working alongside of so many compassionate, kind, and powerful men and women has strengthened me over and over again.
To each of the women I have had the pleasure to call friend throughout the state of Texas, your love and presence in my life has forever marked and changed me. You have taught me about forgiveness of others and self, compassion, resiliency, strength, courage, and generosity more than any other person or textbook ever has. Each of you continues to rise despite every obstacle, disappointment, and heartache that comes your way and through watching you all rise, I have been given hope. I carry each of you with me and am forever grateful that you opened up a seat in the dressing room and around the table for me.
Through my time with JSL, I have learned in a deep way about the connection of humanity. From the beginning, Brett and Emily have made it clear that ministry was never meant to be “us” and “them” but simply “us”. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to this concept when he says, “All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be”. There are many lessons that I have gained through my work with JSL, but one of the most valuable has been experiencing this Kingdom reality of mutuality. In a culture that focuses most of its attention and celebration on autonomy and individualism, my time with JSL has taught me that we are all connected and we need one another. When we seek to not only find the humanity in each other, but also choose to believe that everything which affects the person across the table, also inextricably affects me as an individual, we are able to come together to heal, find solutions, and transform our communities.
Derek and I will continue to be in Waco and are looking forward to extending our family through fostering and adopting this upcoming year. I will also be completing my masters in social work and will be graduating in August of 2020. There is so much hope in looking forward and so much gratitude in looking behind. My heart will forever be amongst this important and crucial work and Derek and I are so very thankful for the warriors at Jesus Said Love.