Butterflies are extraordinary creatures. They start off as little caterpillars and transform through metamorphosis into the most beautiful things. Butterflies are unapologetically themselves and they wear their colors proudly. I have some sincere trouble doing just that. I can’t seem to be unapologetically myself. I stumble over apologies and my own tongue as I shove my foot in my mouth. I try to be myself and it doesn’t always work out. It’s hard for me to show my true feelings. I’ve always tried to be the happy one, the one to hash things out, the one to solve the problem. I don’t know how to be anything but that. I’ve been on fall break from the school this past week. On Wednesday, after a little emotional breakdown on Tuesday night, I spent the afternoon with my site coordinator, her husband, my housemate and her supervisor ( a YAV alum). The YAVA, my site coordinator, and her husband with the help of my housemate are starting a new Thousand and One worshipping community called Okra Abbey. It was amazing to view the teamwork and the belief they have in each other and in God. They know that they can speak their truths. On Friday and Saturday, we spent our time at the Feliciana Retreat Center. This beautiful place is two hours north of New Orleans in Norwood, LA. There is a ginormous lake called Dunn Lake with the ability to go canoeing as well as a rock wall, zip lines, and archery. Every year, they hold a week long camp for the youth, grades 1st-12th, called Camp Agape. We were the for the 134th stated meeting for the Presbytery of South Louisiana. While there, members of the Presbytery discussed the 2017 budget and Okra Abbey amongst other things. It as amazing to watch Pastors, elders from various sessions, and retired members from all over Louisiana come together for fellowship, worship, and decision-making. At worship on Friday, we gathered around a campfire. We did a YAV inspired worship service. With songs that we learned at orientation and use throughout our YAV careers such as Ewe Thina and Canticle of the Turning, and prayers read as a whole, we read the Scripture. We read it in 7 parts, one for each YAV. My part, pick randomly by my site coordinator, seemed to be a perfect fit for me. We read Isaiah 58. This is the Word. “The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail” Isaiah 58:11. It was God’s perfect answer to a rough week. In order for me to become this new butterfly from a little caterpillar that’s scared to show her true self, I need a watered garden. I literally need Jesus. Not in that way you joke with your friends about. I mean in every possible way. I will turn to him and myself to learn how to show my beautiful colors unapologetically. It’ll take some time, but I’m sure with the help of my site coordinator, my housemates, and God, I can become a new, beautiful me.

Love and Blessings,

Cherokee

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