For my KUE Girls…


4 Years Ago…

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Dear Sarah, Eun Ae, Anna, Yoyo, Kirsten, Segyo, Bree, Kirsten, Kassie, Jacquie, Esther, Sigrid, Ha Eun, Amy, Julia, Emily, and Rebecca:

It’s hard to believe that 4 years have past since you all were in 9th grade, and I was your rookie Dorm Mom — “Miss Emily” — at RVA.  Now, you are all on the brink of finishing high-school this month, and preparing to disperse into your next adventures, travels, and challenges around the world.  Where will you go?!  What will you be?!  When will you start college?!  I truly wish I could be there to see you graduate this summer…

In following your lives over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messages, and e-mail the last four years, I am so proud of who you have each become and the ways I have seen you grow from afar.  Who you were in 9th grade is probably very different from who you are today, and I know God has been faithful to help you grow, blossom and mature in beautiful ways.   Thank you for letting me play a small role in that process four years ago…I feel so blessed to have met each one of you, and to have lived daily life together. I know it wasn’t always easy letting a 23 year old “rookie” staffer play the role of ‘surrogate mom’ in your lives — and I was by no means perfect — but, I do believe we can look back with great fondness for the memories made in the halls of the Kedong Upper East dorm that year…if anything, I think we’ll always remember the night we successfully pranked the Bongo dorm boys 🙂

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Do you girls remember those crazy Tie-Die shirts we made…?  I don’t have mine anymore, but when I was looking back at this picture, it made me realize that Tie-Die shirts are a great metaphor for your individuality and God’s unique “design” OF you, and FOR your lives.  OK, perhaps the mental picture is a bit silly — but, think about it.  You had a vision of what you wanted your shirt to look like, you picked your dye colors, and tied the knots on the shirts with rubber bands, and let it soak in…and, then you waited.

None of us really knew how our shirts were going to look — and, then we oooo-hh and aaaa-hhhhh at each other’s creative ideas that were different than our own.  But, despite our attempts to control the lines and splashes and twists of color, none of us could really predict how our shirt would turn out, could we?  We did our best to precisely paint our “ideas” on the shirts, but they all came out slightly different than expected.

I think you know where I’m going with this.  Your life, like the shirt, is unique.  God’s plans for your next steps of life, like the shirt, are different than anyone else’s.  God has a plan to prosper YOU personally — not to harm you — a plan to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah).  No one’s shirt (ie unique path) is better than the rest — it will just be….different.  And, that’s a good thing, because you know that God personally loves you, and will complete what’s best for you in the days to come.  You will, of course, play a role in “painting” the picture.  He will put tools in your hands (the dye, rubber bands, shirt) and say GO.  Just remember, it probably won’t all turn out the way you might expect, but it will always be for His glory and your best good.

Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time for everything.  A season for all areas of life.  And, that God — being the great Painter — will make everything beautiful in its time.  This is my prayer for each of you — that you will joyfully embrace the good things God has in store, and wait for them watchfully, prayerfully, and with patience.  Give yourself, your time, your possessions, your heart — fully to where God plants you and asks you to sow.  And, trust that He will be the same, Yesterday, Today and Forever.  I continue to learn this myself — that our lives go in seasons, and that we simply need to be good Stewards of the particular things God calls us to focus on within each season of life.  It’s not always easy, when we have so many goals, ideas, hopes, and dreams — and not enough time to focus on all of them at once 🙂  But, like Jim Elliott once said, “Wherever you are, be ALL there; live to the hilt of every situation which you find to be the will of God.”

Perhaps that’s why we put the word “THRIVE” on the back walls of our KUE dorm that first night of dorm devo’s.  We knew we wanted to do more than survive the mundane tasks and responsibilities of each school day — we wanted to fully live the life God had  for us that year, and grow in the process without always agonizing over the end result.  May the Lord give you joy and faith to do just that in your next steps: Thrive.

I love you all.  Wish I could be there to give you a great, big congratulatory hug as you graduate next week — but, know that I am thinking of you from afar, whether you are at RVA or back in your home countries.

Much Love, ‘Miss Emily’

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