A 67!! My heart sank as my stomach rose into my throat and they crashed into each other, making me want to hurl as I ran out of the student center. A 67 on my Family, Church and Society mid term?! How could this be? I was a 4.0 student back home! I knew Focus Leadership Institute was going to be more difficult academically, but this was ridiculous. I was beyond mortified!
To read the rest of the story please visit me over at YLCF, as I share one of the many life changing experiences I had at FLI.
One of the greatest lessons I learned at Focus Leadership Institute was how to learn. How to learn, and what to learn. FLI is a semester “abroad” type of program. It’s a fully accredited school that takes students for one semester. It combines the beauty of community, the academic level of a university, the hands on application (internship) of a vocational school, and the Christ centered leadership development classes of a Bible school. It’s the best of all worlds.
I grew up in a very strong Christian home, but my time at Focus was the broader foundation I needed. Marriage and family, worldview, and identity and leadership classes gave me a foundation that I have grown and built on every day since. To say it was a life changing semester for me doesn’t do it justice. I learned how to identify my passions, and live them out. FLI is a lot about self discovery. Not in a weird “it’s all about me” way, but it’s about learning who you are, so the Lord can use you most effectively in the Kingdom. The Marriage and Family class will revolutionize every relationship that you have for the better. Communication and conflict resolution styles – the list goes on! The Lord also uses the classes, professors and community to bring about a tremendous amount of healing in the students (or at least the from my class!).
Listen as we share what the semester meant to us:
The Truth is – if I could send every one of “my kids” and the young adults I work with to FLI, I would. The impact it has on your life is beyond words. If you know of someone who has strong leadership potential or abilities,want’s to change their world or they don’t know what direction to go with their life – have them check out Focus Leadership Institute. There is a scholarship opportunity happening right now for the Spring 2013 semester. Check it out by clicking here.
To see some of the highlights from my semester and get a feel for what the school is like:
Today’s Tidbit of Truth: 2 Years later these video’s still bring me to tears at the site of all of my classmates precious faces. In a world that is so wrong, an election and a country we are all worried about – today i am thankful for every one of my fellow Alumni and the difference they are making in this world. I’m thankful for men and women living a biblical worldview and impacting their communities and spere’s of influence. I’m thankful for the marriages that have been saved, for the marriages and families started right, for the singles living fully to the glory of God, for the men in my class who truly taught me the meaning of biblical manhood. For the ladies who loved me unconditionally and become closer than sisters. I’m thankful for professors who model godly leadership, and do this because they believe in changing us, changing a generation, certainty not because they get paid well for it. And I’m thankful to the Lord who blessed and equipped me for more things that I could have ever imagines. FLI is only a beginning. And it’s a beginning worth having!
Below is a letter I wrote to my family and friends when I came home from my semester. (I know this is not a typical blog for me, but I really feel compelled to share my experience. Who knows, maybe you, the person reading this needs an experience like mine too)
I’m back in New York and currently sitting in my office. As you know, I spent this past fall on sabbatical at Focus on the Family’s Leadership Institute in Colorado. It was life changing and I can’t thank you enough for the love and support it took to get me there. The Lord did so much in my life, I could probably write a book! Before leaving Colorado I wrote a blog that hopefully encapsulates a tiny portion of what I learned over the past few months.
“How in the world do I describe this semester? Words escape me. How to explain the deep workings of the Lord within my heart – the refreshing, the healing, the freedom? Or the community and friendships developed that will transcend time into eternity? How do I describe my deepening worldview and the desire to challenge and engage the culture around me winsomely with truth? Is it possible to capture and embody what it looks like to learn and live out your identity in Christ? I hope so.
For the past four months, I have been drinking from a fire hydrant of information. It will probably take me a lifetime to live out and unpack what I have learned at Focus. … In one word, I found freedom. Freedom gained from learning about my identity in Christ. I feel empowered by the strengths God gave me, as “Katie”; and who He created me to be as a woman. The Lord helped me to understand that my deepest hurts and brokenness are really wellsprings of transformation fueling the passion to live out the Lord’s call on my life.
My prayer going to Focus Leadership Institute was that it would be a time of refreshing, challenge, and a season that would change me, and reveal a vision for the future. The Lord answered those prayers in deep ways, though not always in the way I was expecting. I learned how to let go and have fun again, yet I grew up in many ways too. Balance and intentionality took on new meanings.
I was asked to complete the sentence ‘I am…’ at the beginning of the semester. I wrote – I am waiting for the dawn. I had sensed the Lord moving in my life in so many ways this past year, but couldn’t grasp or define it. It was a cold place of frustration. At the end of the semester, I would still write that ‘I am waiting for the dawn’; but it is a different place of waiting. This is a dawn of hope and bright promise. My slate was wiped clean during my time at FLI. I can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to write on it, in the light of the coming days.
Before a butterfly can fly, they go through metamorphosis (transformation). They break free from their cocoons. At FLI “I learned how to fly.”
I’ve always loved the beauty and grace that butterfly’s posses and now they hold an even deeper meaning for me.
One of the highlights and most life changing moments of the semester occurred while eating dinner with Ken Bevell (Fireproof actor and lead role in the upcoming movie Courageous, – The department I worked within at Focus helped bring them in for a pre-showing of Courageous). During the dinner, Ken turned to ask me how I was going to change the nations for the Lord. More specifically, “Katie, the Lord has given you a blank slate. What are you going to do for Him?” That question has been burning in my heart ever since. (Learn what the Lord did with that question by clicking here)
That day, I began to recognize the passionate desire in my heart to help empower people to understand and live out their identity in Christ. How that is going play out, I don’t know yet. But pursuing the Lord to figure it out is the exciting part!
As many of you know, I severely burned my hand just before Thanksgiving. My pointer, ring and middle fingers of my left hand have second and third degree burns from an oil cooking fire. The Lord really protected me and it could have been much worse – like my face instead of my hand. The kitchen only sustained minor permanent damages, and the hand specialist was very surprised at how quickly my hand was healing. Thank you so much for your prayers! Two months after the fire I’m still wearing bandages during the day, however, I’m thankful that the burn did not require skin grafts. Praise the Lord I gained back most of my mobility! He is good to me!
Thank you so much for partnering with me! You helped make my experience at Focus Leadership Institute possible. I will steward the knowledge to the best of my ability for the use of His kingdom