one month and one day ago, i was laid off from my job at ys along with 13 others. yesterday was officially my last day as a ys employee. it is the ending of a dream job that lasted nearly 9 years.
my time at ys has been amazing and such a gift in so many ways. i've met, worked with and become friends with a wonderful and slightly wacky group of people and have ended up with friendships that will continue long into the future. i've had the privilege of serving youth workers from all kinds and sizes of churches and have learned from and been blessed by the stories of so many. i've been able to work with youth ministry professors and students through the ys academic support network and had more fun and learned more from them than i would have ever imagined! i spent time with denominational youth ministry leaders and loved connecting with them just because of how much they wanted to encourage and equip youth workers. and then there are the dozens of youth workers who've volunteered at the conventions who've become friends and with whom so many memories have been created. (for some reason, the one that popped into my head was my fake birthday courtesy of scott riley & friends!)
of course there are all the ways i've grown professionally. for example, i can pack, label and shrink wrap a pallet. not a skill i had before going to ys. seriously tho, i can't begin to list or describe all i learned at ys. it's rather diverse. for example, in addition to the pallet packing, i leave with skills ranging from basic html programming and database management skills to the ability to create direct marketing strategies and direct art for ads and campaigns.
finally, i leave ys more confident, more comfortable in my own skin. and with a richer faith that is simultaneously more simple and more complex.
the ending of my season of life at ys is truly bittersweet. there is a part of me that is heartbroken. i have truly loved being able to serve with youth workers alongside an amazing team of people. i will deeply miss working with this team and serving youth workers on a daily basis. somehow though, alongside the sad, is the hope and excitement of what is about to begin. i'm starting to see some clues in some opportunities to do some freelance work by which i'm both excited and challenged and in an least one opportunity to do some speaking. all of the opportunities that have turned up so far were completely unexpected and totally show God's hand.
i used to tell people who would ask me about working ys that for most of us who worked there, it was a crazy God thing that we ended up there--something that was especially true for me. and so in this ending, i can't help but believe that God is in this too, just waiting to show me what else in my life is ready to begin.