Ashley's Acceptance Speech
Anyone that knows me well, knows that everything for me stems from my faith. And my theme is no different. Just a little background...the word wonder came to be about 3 years ago. It was almost as if the word haunted me. I saw it and heard it everywhere, when I read my bible or any other book, in songs or on tv. It was as if the word all of a sudden was very popular. This started to happen leading up to my first mission trip to Honduras. Also, around the same time the song Wonder by Hillsong came out and slowly the meaning in my heart started to take form. I finally looked up the word one day thinking, maybe I’m missing something. The dictionary defines wonder like this: (n) a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. (v) desire to be curious to know something.
Wonder is to be in awe, to be curious, look at something with admiration, something beautiful, unexpected or unfamiliar. Unexpected and unfamiliar. THAT, is what I experienced in Honduras. That is what my heart was being prepared for. But the unknown, unfamiliar was so so beautiful. I was inspired on that trip by the people in the villages, the team I was with, and so much more. I could go on and on about my trip there, but that’s where the meaning of wonder really took root for me. It was on that trip that God started to speak to my heart about something specific. He wanted me to see the wonder in things unknown, different, unique, unlike me. To see as He sees. I know this sounds crazy but I promise it makes sense.
This word, this phrase stuck with me. See the Wonder. I actually have it tattooed on my arm as a reminder. A reminder to see the wonder in everything around me. To seek the wonder in life’s everyday moments and in God’s big world. I believe that when we start to seek wonder and go after things unfamiliar amazing things happen.
I want to point how God sees things. I personally think this is crucial for taking hold of this concept as this is the core purpose of seeking and seeing wonder.
God always sees beauty beyond the surface.
God sees the importance of people. All people.
God sees the power within us to do good.
God sees everyone’s full potential.
God sees the importance in even the smallest acts. Their value is not underestimated.
God sees us in the way he created us in His image.
God sees that we are all worthy of kindness, love, and joy.
God does not see us through the lens of comparison.
God sees beyond our past and does not hold that over us.
God does not see with impatient, discouraged, or anxious eyes.
The way that God views us and the world...it’s easy to see the wonder. But we usually see inside a box that society has created for us. A box where everything is limited, out of reach, judged, not good enough, not worth it. This box or mindset that society deems as the norm and acceptable doesn’t produce much genuine fruit, positivity, or joyful living. We often see things as how we think they should be and not for the true chaotic beauty that they are. For us as people, individuals, chapters, and as an organization we have to see beyond ourselves and the box that was built by someone else. We have to change our perspective. Discover new things. Take the road less traveled. See the wonder in those around us. See the wonder in ourselves. See the wonder in our world. I believe that as we start to open our eyes and hearts to a new perspective a chain effect will happen. We will start to see potential in others, beauty beyond the surface, power in ourselves, worthiness in all mankind, limitless possibilities without fear, and the awestruck wonder of God’s big world. Over time, I believe our membership will grow, friendships will deepen, and members will be more confident to take the next step.
So, this coming year as we see the wonder. I want us to go, think, and love beyond ourselves. Take risks, adventure into the unfamiliar, and do it all with curiosity and an open mind. I want us to discover the wonder in ourselves, others, and the world.