I lean not on my own understanding

Cowabunga! This is my first blog post as an Apprentice for FOCUS!

First, I want to say a BIG Thank You to my prayer and financial support team. I am able to pursue this coming year of mission because of your belief in college ministry. I am 76% fundraised, which is bonkers to me (in a good way). Seriously, the process of fundraising has brought an unfamiliar depth to my relationship with God. The process of fundraising is exciting, exhausting, and revealing. Fundraising has revealed different ways I struggle in trusting God, yet, He has been faithful and provided the means for me to be able to do ministry. I still have 24% ! If you know anyone who would be interested in hearing about my mission, please send me their number! I would love to talk with them. Thank y'all x1000. I wish I could hug all of you at this very moment, however, an e-hug will have to suffice *hug*.

If you haven't set up your online giving yet, now is the time to do so! Follow this Donation link!

Pictured: me, Nathan (former UTA Apprentice), Becky (supporter of FOCUS), and Krysten (former UTA Apprentice) at Matt Clark and Danielle Clark's wedding! Matt and Danielle have both served on FOCUS staff for a long time, so it was huge blessing to be a part of their special day. 

Second, I wanted to catch you all up on what my summer has been like! I have graduated from UNT, celebrated 5 weddings, said goodbye to my favorite job and favorite city, and have moved out here to Wylie to start my Apprenticeship. I won't lie. Like a lot of people, I have a hard time with transitioning into the next step of life. Denton was my home for the past 7 years, and I grew to appreciate it for so many reasons ( a few of those reasons are restaurants where you can get a good breakfast taco). However, moving out here to Wylie has surprisingly less mentally strenuous than I imagined. Do I feel vulnerable by being in a new house, city, and church? Yes. Is that a part of God growing me? I am going to guess "yes", though it's too soon to tell. I moved in with a family who attends Wylie North East (my church for the next 10 months).

Check out my super cute new room mates! (Emmy and Eli). 

I met this family once, very briefly, before moving all of  my junk into their home. They knew that I needed a place to stay via the church grapevine and opened their home to me. I can see God's character in the way they have opened their hearts, and refrigerator, to me. I am excited to be a part of their family. 

Third, this past week we had our staff retreat. We had 27 FOCUS staff drive down to Lake Travis and stay in one house together. I have never seen so many air mattresses, played so many games, or eaten so many double stuffed Oreos in my life. It might possibly be the best sleepover I have ever been to.

Pictured: Lake Travis! Not pictured: All the deer hanging out in our back yard!

During staff retreat, we read a book together called: In the Name of Jesus, we sang the song Nothing I Hold On To twice a day, and prayed for each other and others in our community. This book really brought to light the humility we sometimes forget to embrace in our pursuit of building the kingdom. We talked a lot about where we fall short as ministers, and how Jesus is ultimately the guiding force behind the success of our college ministry, not us. One of my favorite quotes from the book is in the Introduction: "Somehow I have to trust that God is at work in me and that the way I am being moved to new inner and outer spaces is part of a larger movement of which I am only a very small part". When I read that, my brain was like "Daaaaaang...that's good." Please be praying that we pursue our campuses the way God wants us to pursue them. 

Collin staff: Pedro featuring a tiny Casey Worsham head, Garrett, Hannah, me, and Ryan 

Lastly, and speaking of pursuing our campuses, my close friend and fellow Collin College Apprentice, Hannah King, and I got to have brunch with Raven, who attends Preston Ridge. The three of us will be leading a small group at Preston Ridge, and I am so excited to be a part of Raven's life, and to see whom God blesses us with this coming school year. Raven is awesome girl, with an awesome heart, and really wants us to build a presence at the Preston Ridge campus of Collin College. I feel privileged to be working with her and Hannah this coming school year. 

I made this title of this post "I lean not on my own understanding...". These powerful lyrics are found in the song we sang at staff retreat (Nothing I Hold Onto).  All the good growing stuff that is gonna happen this year will not happen because I am good, it will happen because God is good. God has been teaching me that I can't do this without Him. I encourage you to listen to it, and to share with someone what this song means to you. I would love to hear how this song speaks to you in your spiritual journey. 

I love all of you, even if I haven't met you. Let me know how I can be praying for you. 


  1. Hey Shayla!
    I am so excited for you to start the apprenticeship. I know you are going through a lot of big life changes in this season, but don't forget that you are surrounded by people who love you and want to help you succeed! God has called you to this, and He's not sending you alone.

    I would love to hear more about that sweet family you are living with. Those kids are adorable!

    I am praying for you and the rest of the Collin College apprentices as you guys get ready to kick off the school year. Love you Shayla!

    1. love you too! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Super excited for you Shayla! Thanks for sharing how God has already started to shape and grow you over the summer!


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