The Council

Author - Keyshawn Parkman

We're coming close to almost two months in the discipleship house, and as a group, we've already shared a great amount of time with each other. Day after day, we've shared similar routines; we've eaten meals together, watched shows with one another, listened to music together, and much more. We've settled into somewhat of a routine in the same environment. Several benefits and challenges present themselves.

As for myself, coming from a background where I was raised as an only child, the aspect of sharing a space for an extended amount of time has been somewhat different. Luckily, I feel as though God has taken me through different seasons to prepare me for a time like this. After high school, my best friend and I ended up at the same college, and by chance, we wound up as roommates. For me, this was the first time I had lived with someone for an extended period of time outside of my family. God used this season to expose a lot about my friend and I. During this time, I learned the value of effective communication, the ability to compromise, and, most importantly, grace, patience, and forgiveness.

As the weeks have passed by for us in the house, I've felt these areas have grown significantly, which has been a blessing. The life-on-life process has taught me how to communicate effectively and play on my strengths and weaknesses. One thing I admire about this space is that I've recognized weaknesses in my life. Someone has always been able to cover that with their strength. Lately, I've seen the power and effectiveness of our being able to work together. Although it's been challenging, I've become more comfortable asking for help. Being able to ask others for help falls into the category of something that's been an extreme blessing, but it's also been the most challenging. Not just necessarily asking but being able to communicate effectively how I'm feeling. As I'm observing how we're interacting with each other, I believe we work best when we create a space where we can communicate effectively with each other to best aid us in our strengths and weaknesses, and that's somewhat of a humbling process—at least for me. Luckily, we've seen each other in several different environments as a team. This has helped me gain an understanding of how to communicate differently with different people.

Through the benefits of this process or the challenges, I'm learning that God is using each and every one of these moments as an opportunity to prune me. I'm honestly a hot mess without God, and through His correction, I can walk out of this process of becoming more like Him. I've learned that the moments that seem the most challenging TO me end up being the biggest blessing FOR me. I'm realizing that this growth process isn't the the sweetest thing.

Amid the frustrations and miscommunication, God is speaking to me about my character and who I am as a person. I'm learning that the challenges and the struggles ARE the benefits. I'm blessed to be chosen by God to be in a community such as this. God has been growing me through this community in an abundance of ways. He's been growing my ability to communicate, teaching me how to work with others, highlighting my weaknesses, and showing me how others can
come alongside me and pick up where I lack. I've seen God teach me how to sacrifice in this season and grow into a heart posture of selflessness.

This hasn't been a smooth process; as I've said, it's the struggles and challenges that produce what I've seen as growth within myself from this community, But so far, it's been rewarding. We're about six weeks in, and I'm still at a loss for words about where God has brought me and how he's used everything around me to glorify Himself. I truly am thankful for Him.

I'm not perfect, and I came into this program with my own baggage. But God, in His grace, has prepared a place for me to grow and mold me to become more like Him. And, of course, this program isn't about me. My teammates have their own perspectives. He's been growing each and every one of us in our own ways. But God has shown Himself to me in beautiful ways while I've been out here. He hasn't appeared to me in a bright light or a loud voice, which is how I typically wish he would. He's shown himself to me through the difficult times I've had, the frustration, the challenges I've faced while trying to love my team the best I can. In the midst of these moments, I see Him growing me, I see His love for me, and I can't help but be grateful.
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