Have you ever waited for something? Like, really waited, with deep anticipation and a sense of despair hanging on every moment. I certainly feel that I have. I’d like to trace this longing back to early spring of 2013.
In Bloomington, Illinois just before the dawn of her graduation, Courtney Kotowski faced the daunting question “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?”. Not long ago, she decided that her teenage dream of lawyer-hood would no longer suit her. The ever-expanding landscape of careers lay in front of her and she waffled. The summer was taken care of, she procured a 3 month procrastination period in the form of a traveling internship. But what would she do next? Everyone and anyone asked her, “what’s next?” There’s so much she considered; Politics, Non-profits, marketing, entrepreneurship and the very scary choice, Ministry.
With those she is closest to Courtney admits that she wants to do ministry more than any other profession. To her, it’s an opportunity to share the love that changed her life for the better. There are so many people who walk into ministry unprepared and so many who negatively impact others, how much scarier could it be? With the good and the bad in mind she timidly decides to pursue this very scary monster. Close by, is a university with a reputable Master’s of Spiritual Formation program. The man who runs it, is genius in her mind and worth learning whatever he is teaching. After a terrifically profound conversation, he reminds her that she really just doesn’t want to be in Bloomington, Illinois any longer. She agrees wholeheartedly and that is the end of the idea. God whispers to her, “There is something better. Just wait.”
Until the end of 2013. The same bug bites her, she is desperate to work for the Kingdom of God. Another university is near by, now in Greenville, South Carolina. She meets with the Dean and discusses her desire to work with women. Specifically, she wants to remind women how to encounter one another with love and how to encounter themselves with even more love. This time, she is accepted. She starts to believe that ministry is really in her future. But there’s something uneasy about this program, she can’t seem to swallow the theology of the school. Ultimately, she defers her acceptance indefinitely. “There is something better. Just wait.”
Her jobs never seem to satisfy or fill her with a sense of purpose. Fall of 2014, she decides enough is enough and lays this beautiful idea in front of God. “Lord, I have to believe there is a program that will provide me with the spiritual growth I am so deeply needing and allow me to work with women who need to be loved. Show it to me.” Courtney offers this prayer to God and goes searching. One day, while meandering online in her coffee shop of employment, she finds a hidden treasure: the Episcopal Service Corps. This is what struck her most deeply, “encountering the other to engage all; prayer and listening for a lifetime of practice in action; risk taking to lead to a lifetime of courage; simple living for a lifetime experience of navigating complexity; nourishing individuals and communities through conflict and failure for a lifetime of shared leadership”.
Something about the description of the Colorado Episcopal Service Corps hit a very tender and unattended nerve within me. God continued to sharpen my ear to Him, so that the words written above would strike as strongly as they did. Amazingly so, God provided something more perfect that I imagined. School wouldn’t have been enough because it’s an occupation you can do relatively alone. You can’t go through this program alone and God has a really “interesting” plan for my social refinement. How exciting and terrifying that God can put us exactly where we need to be.