“Lily, how did you get involved in Interyear Fellowship?” (Insert nervous laughter and anxious sweating here.)
I get this question a lot. Usually my answer is awkward, lengthy, and incredibly confusing to follow, because the truth is, my journey here was dramatic, messy, and full of uncertainty.
It all started when I was sobbing on the floor of my parents’ house, rambling incoherently about feeling desperately lost, two weeks before my college graduation. (Y’all, I warned you.)
For three-and-a-half years, I focused intently on my schooling. I poured my soul into my classes, extracurriculars, and jobs. So much so that when it was ending, I struggled to know who I would be outside of those roles. My heart was focused on my education, and my faith was so tightly bound to college ministry that I didn’t know how to serve Jesus outside of it.
I found solace in the story of Habakkuk, as I praised God without understanding his plans. And I found relief in the words of James, saying to be miserable and weep and allow the Lord to lift me up. Because, y’all, that’s all I could do.
The next morning after my on-the-floor breakdown, my mom took me to her church. She had some sweet friends pray over me, and one of them told me about this new program called Interyear Fellowship. I called the program director, Tim, to learn more. It sounded like exactly what I needed, but I wasn’t sold on staying in Johnson City.
In the following months, I continued to feel lost as I pursued every option that would move me anywhere else in the country. But I was constantly brought back to Interyear – by my mom, by church members, and even by one random stranger who, after ten minutes of hearing my post-college confusion, told me about a fellowship called Interyear and said it would be perfect for me. (Insert amazement at God’s grace and faithfulness here.)
Finally, I applied for the fellowship, and it quickly became one of the best decisions I have ever made.
These five months as an Interyear fellow have been filled with self-discovery, endless grace, and abundant learning. Through topics such as the Enneagram, hospitality, and peacemaking, I have learned how I best love and serve Jesus, and it has allowed me to grow and develop deeper and more meaningful relationships everywhere. I now seek out community with strangers, and if you sit next to me in a coffee shop there’s a good chance I’ll ask your life story and try to help you learn your Enneagram type too.
Through trial and error and a whole lot of guidance and prayer, I have discovered career passions and begun seeking the life I long for. I have taken steps forward, and discovered strength to rather than move away, move on.
Most importantly, I have learned that my questions and doubts are nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. Interyear Fellowship has helped close the gap between my fear and my faith. Though I may still feel dramatic, messy, and uncertain at times, I know more about who God is and who he says I am, and that promise alone is enough to keep me found.