By Kat Kolton
Hello Capital Fellows family! My name is Kat Kolton, and this is my first time writing for you all! Happy to be here. And sincerely happy to be a part of this program.
I want to start by saying thank you to those who take the time to read these posts, and who invest in this program with their time, energy, resources, and love. Thank you for walking alongside us as we experience community in the most beautiful, overwhelming, and grace-filled way. Thank you for believing in this program and making it what it is today.
As I reflect on the past four months, and look ahead to the next 4.5, I give thanks for the many lessons, experiences, and relationships I’ve had, even if they make it harder to pick what to write about! But in every aspect, whether it’s class, host families, or snow days, the theme of McLean Presbyterian Church has been thoroughly emphasized: grace changes everything.
Grace becomes beautifully tangible when you are snowed in at a house that is not yours, with a family that warmly offers food, shelter, and love without hesitation. And I experienced that from two different families this weekend, families that were hosting other fellows, not me. These people hardly knew me, but they welcomed me as if I was family.
The host family element of the Capital Fellows Program blows my mind. John Kyle, the Capital Fellows director, explains it as radical hospitality, and I can’t think of a better word for how a family that has never met you decides that they love you and want to share their homes and lives with you for 9 months. Wow. And nothing has made grace so real to me. But rather than live in the freedom that comes from grace-filled community and relationship, I trapped myself in lies that told me to perform perfectly for my host family. I began to recognize my own efforts to earn the love that my host family gave freely, to be more deserving of the food, space, and unrelenting generosity they showed me.
Ephesians 2: 4-10 declares, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Grace has changed the way I engage with and invest in all areas of my life: work, family, friends, community…it feels like a once hardened heart is slowly thawing out, more and more willing to accept the love that has been so faithfully demonstrated to me. I looked up this phrase, “His steadfast love endures forever,” in the Bible and it appears more than 50 times. This enduring, steadfast love is the grace that changes us. Grace enables us to walk in freedom and joy, not in fear. And it’s a gift, not something I could ever earn, and it endures even though I fall short, again and again.
Grace doesn't make sense. It's a startling concept, and radical to experience, like when my host siblings run up to greet me after a long day of work, even though I didn’t make time to play with them at all that week; when the other fellows continue to pursue relationship with me, even after they've seen me at my worst; when I am welcomed with open arms, understanding eyes, and kind smiles, even after I showed up late AGAIN; when I’m snowed in away from home and I’m given yummy food and a warm bed...it’s radical.
Growing up, snow days always meant no school, more play time, and hot cocoa. In high school, they meant sleeping in, Netflix, and hot cocoa. As a Capital Fellow, snow days look like sleepovers, hot tubs, card games, hot cocoa and grace upon grace upon grace.
Thank you to everyone who loved us during the snow days this past weekend! We deeply appreciate you all. Here are some pictures from the weekend!
Pictures from the Week