How Kairos Changed My Life

How Kairos Changed My Life

An once in a lifetime experience that will forever change you.
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For any who do not know, Karios is a retreat through a catholic church for high schoolers. It takes place at a remote location over the course of 3 days and two nights. No phones are allowed on the retreat, and everyone is put into small groups, purposely with people they do not know. Over the course of the retreat you grow closer to God through talking to people who are able to lead you in the right direction.

Anyone who has been on Kairos can confidently say that it changed their life, I went as a junior in high school and can confidently say the same. At the time I signed up, I did not have much knowledge about Karios but I knew I wanted try it out. My whole life, I have been raised Catholic but I never really thought of the religion as my own, it was more of what I was told I was by all my family members. Kairos took the religion and made me want to be a Catholic for all the right reasons.

There are no words to describe the impact the retreat has on every single human that is lucky enough to go on it, but I will try my best. Since it was a church retreat, it was centered around God. However, never in the way any other retreat or church camp has been. Kairos is not a retreat where you learn the rules of the religion and are lectured about what is right and how to exactly follow the Bible. The adults and leaders of the small group allow the kids on the retreat to hear a passage and interrupt it the way they feel it should be. The messages are usually very clear, but little details and opinions vary from person to person. Through doing this, Kairos allows you to take your religion and make it your own, to embrace every passage and every guideline there is to offer. After Kairos, I started going to church every Sunday because I wanted to, it was no longer an hour I dreaded, but an hour I never wanted to end. After allowing myself to fully indulge into something that I had never experienced before, I loved going to church and learning more about lessons God wants all his followers to know.

Separate from the religion aspect of it, Kairos bonded me with people I would have never met. The three days of being so far removed from reality is eye opening. Throughout high school, people tend to only hang out with people in their friend group, and very rarely interact with others besides class or sports teams. My Kairos small group was with six other retreaters I did not know, two teenage leaders and two adult leaders. I am amazed how close and comfortable I got with every person in my group by the end of the weekend. We were no longer strangers, we knew each other's fears, dreams and secrets. I was able to be my complete self with a group of people that were strangers to me just a few days before. I have always been a pretty confidential person and kept my problems to myself, and Kairos was the first time I felt comfortable enough to open to people about things I had never talked about, even if they seemed insignificant. It is amazing that in such short amount of time, I found the comfort to talk about myself in ways I had not with my friends I had known my whole life. It sounds strange, but there really is something special about being removed from reality for a couple of days and focus on yourself and others. There was not a single second I was worried about missing out on anything with my friends back home or craving to check social media to catch up on everyone's daily tasks.

Life when I got home, was just happier. I felt happier inside and better about myself. There is an ongoing joke that the kids are on a "Kai High" when they return home because everyone is fulfilled from the amazing past few days. Many of the experiences on Kairos that truly changed me have to be kept a secret for anyone that has not been on it yet. Kairos is not a retreat that will make you change into someone that obsesses over the Bible or only hangs out with people from church, but it changes your outlook at life. It opens doors to new friendships while still upholding old ones, making it the best of both worlds. I am forever grateful I decided to go and throw myself into every activity in order to get the full benefits from the retreat.

I urge everyone that has the chance to go, TAKE IT! You will never regret it, nothing but good comes from it.

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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finding healing in the ultimate healer

Leaning on God and not myself.

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I started pulling out of my driveway on Monday. It seemed like a normal Monday and I was rushing to work (as usual). I then found out about a close family friend's death as I tried to get out of my driveway blocked by police cars. I got past them and finally reached the end of the driveway.

Then it struck me.

I stopped breathing. I became light-headed. I felt as if I could not go on. Why would all this hurt happen to me?

I had lost four people in five weeks and I was hurting more than ever before.

Why God? I shouted this question in my car on the way to and from work. I cried and cried and cried.

God does not always give us a why. But He does give us a promise. A promise to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

I began searching for solutions to my hurt... guys, friends, sports, busyness. I could not escape this hurt because I was missing out on the One who is the Ultimate Healer and the Ultimate Void Filler.

I decided to open my heart to those in my Christian community and I found these amazing lyrics from the son, "Though You Slay Me," by Shane & Shane:

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still, I will worship
Sing a song to the one
who's all I need

Our hurt is never an excuse to ignore God. It is an opportunity to pursue God.

I do not need other things in this world to fill voids, I need God. I need Him every single second of the day. He is teaching me a lot during this season of hurt in my life: I should be thanking Him for the growth that I am experiencing in my life and thanking Him for the opportunity to love others hurting well.

If you are feeling the way I have been lately, I urge you to rest in the truth that you are by no means alone in your struggles. You must reach out to people in the church and ask for prayer and help. You must focus on what God is doing in your life as a result of the hurt you are feeling. I believe that God uses the people who feel most unusable to transform lives. God uses our hurt for His glory because He is a God who deserves all glory. How can you bring God glory in your life?

I wanted to conclude with this challenge: let your "whys" turn into your "thank yous" and your emptiness turn into the fullness that can only be found in God.

Cover Image Credit:

Anna Schoeck

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