This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to my last flood leadership. I can't believe it is my fifth and final year. So, I thought it was about time to sit down and write out fully what my flood story is. It really isn't my story; it's God's story and HE just allowed me to be apart of it. Let me just try to begin to explain the way God used someone like me (broken and messed up) to impact the community for HIM.
Coming back from a mission trip from Merida, Mexico the summer before 8th grade year, I wanted to continue this passion I found of serving others. That's all I wanted to do..... SERVE. I kept praying and praying that there would be an opportunity for me to continue to serve our incredible Heavenly Father. So, one day I was just hanging out outside on the computer. I randomly came across this website called Flood Student Missions. Looking back, that was not a random mistake; that was a God thing. Well I looked into it more and kept falling in love with the mission. To SERVE God and His people. Eventually, I emailed Mrs. Scales and asked if I could "start" a middle school chapter. She was like "hold on a second. I am not sure about that, but I am sure we can work something out that you can get the 8th graders involved and you can be our '8th grade representative'." I was all in. That year, Taylor Road (our middle school) really dived into all that Flood could offer. I attended every leadership meeting at the Chattahoochee, got a few friends to attend the chapter meetings with me, gathered friends to come serve out in the community, hosted a sock drive and collected over 400 pairs of socks, and so much more. God had His heart set on Taylor Road. Even though that year was tough, love and service was so present at Taylor Road.
Moving into high school was tough. Personally, I am not the best with change. I constantly am asking God to guide me in that challenge. My friends and I started going down separate paths, and high school just got really hard. I felt as if I had to be perfect. Freshman year for flood, I was on leadership for the second year as community outreach which was my passion. I LOVED to lead others at the service projects. Seeing the joy come out of someone's heart was incredible. Jesus just blessed me with the gift of serving. Our chapter struggled a lot that year. All chapters go through phases of hardships. But going back to the struggles of trying to be perfect, serving with flood allowed me to take time away from myself and serve someone else. No matter who you are or where you come from, everyone can serve and love others.
Something I learned really quick in high school was that life is HARD. And sophomore year did not make life any easier. At this point, I didn't feel like I had anyone in such a huge high school. Mrs. Scales says this all the time but it is so true: high school is such a dark place. My faith started to weary. Thoughts start to consume your life. But this is where my flood story gets a bit interesting. The summer before sophomore year (maybe like 2/3 weeks before the flood leadership retreat) I get this phone call from the person who was suppose to be the chief organizer that year. She was stepping down and asked if I was willing to step up to be chief organizer. If you are unfamiliar with what chief organizer is, it is the person that leads the group by organizing/leading meetings and notes and much more. Well, I was the youngest one on our team. To be honest, I was a little shocked when I got the call. I took about a week or so to pray over it and ask my closest group of friends their thoughts. God placed this heavy weight on my heart to accept the position and give it to Him. That's what I did. We went to the leadership as a team and at that retreat we shared our testimonies. That has been one of the most incredible memories that I have. Our team that year bonded and started to come together to build up Hooch Flood. We gave our chapter to God, focused on Him and we started growing. Life outside of flood got difficult, but realizing what God was doing with flood reflected over into my own life. Serving allowed me to stop focusing on myself and focus on what God has planned.
Oh junior year, stressful but incredible. Something with junior year changes people. My personal experience with junior was amazing. My best year in high school so far. Right before I started my junior year, we had our Flood leadership retreat. Hooch Flood had 100% attendance! That right there sets the year off right! We bonded, became super close and excited for the upcoming year. Boy was that year amazing. We started a freshman breakfast so that freshman could feel so beyond loved. Our chapter meetings were rockin'. We had like 60 people show up at almost every chapter meeting. We started host team. The sports teams were serving out in the community. Class council partnered with us for an in-school project. People were loving flood. But NONE that would had been possible without the help of God. God was the center of everything we did. He was our focus. God did some incredible things in our chapter. Meetings became more personal, more engaging, and more exciting. People were pumped to be at flood. A light began to shine at Chattahoochee. Even in such a dark place. At the end of year celebration, Hooch Flood ended up receiving an innovation award. We didn't do it alone; God was always before us. Most of our team was seniors, so they graduated. Their legacy of trust in God to help bring up Hooch flood will always be remembered.
Going into senior year, there are many anxieties of college apps and school, but with the help of Flood I learned that trusting God will produce an outcome more incredible than you, yourself could ever imagine. This is going to be my 3rd year of having the opportunity to be chief organizer, and my 5th year of flood leadership. My hope for this year flood is that our leadership can bond and lead by example. Lead by loving others, serving within our school and out in the community, building a personal connection with people, and trusting that God has a bigger and better plan than we do. Quality is always better than quantity.
God has taught me so much with this opportunity. I have learned to be a leader: to delegate, to love, to give grace, to trust God, to serve with a better purpose, to be real, to be honest, to communicate, to be flexible, to support people, to have joy, to be kind when it's hard, to have patience and so much more. Stepping into this when I was an 8th grader, I had no idea how much I would learn. I have given Jesus my life for Him to use me for His greater purpose. BUT I am no where near perfect. I still struggle as a leader and a follower. It's not easy. It takes work and time and energy. But I wouldn't trade it for a thing. Thank you Mrs. Scales for allowing me to step into these different roles, thank you Mrs. Kris for loving me and supporting me, thank you Mrs. C for being there for all of us and teaching me each and everyday, thank you to our leadership teams (past and present) for having patience with me and loving me even when I would make a mistake, and thank you God for choosing me to step into these roles and learning how to serve you. I encourage you to be a light in your school. Look at your school as an opportunity to serve others and change someone's day by just smiling. Learn someone's name. Take your headphones out and talk to people. Build a personal relationship with someone you don't know. Make the most of your time. And finally, trust Jesus with your life. Following Him is the best decision you can make.
That is my Flood Story. To be continued :)
Jesus, use me this year to serve you. We give you Hooch Flood. Please protect us this year from evil. Open our hearts and our minds to everything you have in store. Use us to be your light.