Emanate graduation is almost here: Friday, December 13th! Departing from training here will be a big time of change for our graduates, bringing with it many reflections and heartfelt emotions. Here is the perspective of one of the graduating students, Rachel Copelin.
With graduation coming up very quickly, it makes me reflect on the last year and a half and how much has changed in that amount of time. I have developed deep friendships as we have gone through this training together. I have learned so much, and I have changed as a person. It has also made me think about the future, as my husband and I make decisions that will affect the rest of our lives.
In both reflecting about the past and thinking of the future, a line from an old song keeps running through my mind: “The world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back”. There is pain in looking at the past. I know that these changes in myself make it harder to go home because I am not the same person that I was when I was left – and it changes many old friendships and can make it hard to interact the way we used to. And with only a week to go, I know very soon I will be saying goodbye to people that have become some of my dear friends, many of whom I may never see again this side of heaven. Goodbyes are something that have become far too familiar, but no less painful, and this will only increase as we continue moving forward. Then there is the fear at looking at the future. My husband and I are looking at moving overseas, to an unfamiliar place with an unknown language and leaving everything we know behind us. We are looking at moving regularly for the next few years and ending up in a place where we don’t fit in. We know that it will be difficult to have the sense of belonging that we naturally crave as humans. None of this is easy, much of it is painful, and all of it can be a stressor if I allow it to be. We as a group of graduates aren’t walking forward expecting this to be easy or simple or to make us happy. We are doing it because God has said to go, and we listened. At so many points we really do have to be intentional in our thinking to put the world behind us and fix our eyes on the cross.
But is it all worth it? Is it worth it to deal with the constant goodbyes, the lack of a constant home, the difficulties (and potential dangers) of living overseas in a new culture? I know it will be. Following God where He leads is hard, but to walk with Him and be involved in what He is doing in the world is so worth it. We know we will suffer doing this, but no matter what path we walk as humanity, there will be suffering. It’s unavoidable, so isn’t it worth suffering for a purpose? We get the chance to be involved in making sure people get the chance to know Jesus, no matter what part we play. This world is only a blip in light of eternity, and the struggles we face here will be worth it when we think of having other believers with us because we decided to keep walking forward.
It doesn’t change the fact that the reality is hard. It doesn’t make this life any easier and the challenges any less difficult. But it does give us a focus, a reason to walk forward, and a place to fix our eyes. As graduation keeps moving closer and closer and we get nearer to moving once again, we recognize that we are privileged to know God and to be able to walk with Him. We know that we are blessed to have so many translations of God’s word in our language. Ultimately the motivation for being at Emanate, the reason we deal with goodbyes, pain and the unknown, and the reason we will be graduating next week is so that all may have the chance to have the same opportunity to know God that we do. We want everyone to have the chance to hear about what Jesus has done and to have the Bible in their language, and that makes everything we may face worth it when we stand with all believers in front of our Savior.
Rachel is right – Jesus is indeed worth it. And we rejoice with our students as they follow Him and don’t look back.
Want to come to graduation? Click here to find out more!
Also, Emanate wants to thank Rachel Copelin for her help with the blog and our social media accounts this past year. She has contributed much of the content of our blog this fall, as well as written many of the Instagram and Facebook posts. Thanks, Rachel!
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