December 2017 / January 2018 - Vol. 95
heartin hands
Finding my Joy in the One Who Satisfies

by Maeve Buganski

I heard about the Kairos GAP program in the summer after my freshman year of high school, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.  After I graduated, I was going to defer college to do a mission year with the Kairos. I knew the tug at my heart to move away and serve was from God, so I put all my hope in following the Lord and trusted that His plan would bring me joy.

Fast forward to the summer after I graduated high school. I had been accepted to serve with the Kairos GAP program and was moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan for the upcoming year. I was so excited! All I had to do was get through the summer. I had a nanny job for a family with one child, an 8-year-old boy. As much as I loved my job, it was my first time working 40 hours a week and that was difficult for me. But, everyday that I worked was one day closer to leaving for my GAP year. That was a challenging summer for me because I was itching to leave home and start my new adventure with the Lord.

My GAP year started in mid-August and ended in April of the following year. It was definitely one of the best years of my life. My relationship with the Lord flourished, and my daily time in prayer with Him brought about great healing and freedom. I built life giving relationships with everyone I met that year. I lived in household, a living environment where men or women live together, intentionally sharing life through having common meals, praying together, and supporting each other in our Christian faith. I lived with three other women my age that were also doing the GAP program, and two women that were a little older than us and led the household.

These five women became like sisters to me. They were a constant source of encouragement and love that led me closer to the Lord.  There were also five men doing the GAP program who also lived in a household led by the leader of our program. They were all men of strong, Christian character. They encouraged and respected us and became like brothers to all of us women. There were countless other people I met on my GAP year that played an irreplaceable role in my life. Whether it was the elderly we served once a week in the nursing home, our peers who participated in University Christian Outreach (UCO) with us, or the young children we served in afterschool programs, I felt Jesus’ love through each person.

My year was an adventure with Christ. He showed me the beauty of service, and that by serving those most in need, I was serving Him. He showed me the goodness of meaningful relationships and investing in them, no matter if those relationships come easy or not. These relationships differed from other relationships, because they showed me they really cared about me on a deep level. They cared about how I was doing in my faith journey, how my family was, and what was important to me. I was able to delve into meaningful conversations, as well as share my struggles with them. They would encourage me and pray for me. The Lord gifted me with these relationships. He had lessons to teach me at every corner I turned, and brought me deeper into his vast love.

My year was so good that I never wanted it to end. If the Lord told me to stay in Grand Rapids forever, I would have- which is saying a lot because I’m a bit of a homebody and missed my family and friends back home very much.  Yet somehow, I was abundantly joyful and peaceful in Grand Rapids, and had found a second home there. Most importantly, I had a new and improved relationship with God. Deep down inside, I was afraid that leaving GR and moving back home would affect my new-found strength in God.

In the final month of my GAP year, I served on a high school retreat called The YES Retreat, which had about 300 youth. Though the retreat wasn’t necessarily for me, as I was a staff member, it was there that the Lord taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my year. The theme of the retreat was Joy. I couldn’t tell you who was speaking or their exact words, but  a summary of what I learned is that we so often we put our joy in certain situations or people and are left disappointed. This is because we seek fulfillment in those situations or people, but they are not the source of our joy, the Lord is. We must put our hope in him, and then we will be truly joyful and satisfied.

Ultimately, I realized that no matter what I put my hope and joy in, no matter how good it is, it will never truly satisfy me. Only the Lord will truly satisfy me and fill me with Joy.

I have heard this message countless times in my life. But, this was the first time it really clicked for me. I finally understood why I was just dying to go on my GAP year, and why I dreaded the fact that it was all ending so fast. It was because I was placing my hope and joy in my GAP year. I had poured all my dreams and ambitions into this year and imagined everything that I hoped it to be. I kept seeking fulfillment in the newest exciting event in my life.

Ultimately, I realized that no matter what I put my hope and joy in, no matter how good it is, it will never truly satisfy me. Only the Lord will truly satisfy me and fill me with Joy.

Coming home with this new way of thinking, I’ve found myself more content and less disappointed. I continue to experience the joy of giving God everything- my hopes and dreams as well as my hardships and failures. Praying daily at home, the Lord continues to work and speak to me as He did on my GAP year. I would even say my daily prayer has flourished more since coming home and “reemerging” into the world. My GAP year “bubble” popped, and I am now in classes with people who have opposing views to my own Christian beliefs. Though this has been a challenge for me, it has helped me appreciate the time I spend daily with God in prayer, and my friends and family who encourage me in my faith. After my gap year, I nannied for the same family again. Yet this time, I was able to go to work with a joyful heart because I wasn’t placing my hope in what this job was or was not offering me. The Lord is teaching me that He is the one who satisfies my longing heart and is the Bringer of my Joy..

MaeveMy name is Maeve Buganski and I was born and raised in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, located about half hour west on New York City. I’m the second youngest of 7 siblings and grew up in the People of Hope, Sword of the Spirit Community. After my GAP year, I moved back home to Jersey, and am now studying Event Planning at my local Community College. I also work as a nanny and serve in with a high school youth group and apart of Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO- a college ministry). My favorite things are playing with my 8 nieces and nephews, singing and playing guitar with my family, spending time with friends, and watching the sunset. 

This article first appeared in The Lovely Commission, a publishing venture and brand of Kairos North America. Used with permission.

The Lovely Commission is
is run by Molly Kilpatrick and Mary Rose Jordan and a team of contributors from various Christian communities in North America and beyond. Together they are working to build a culture of radical love, femininity, modesty of heart, mind, and body amongst young women.

Their aim is to inspire and equip young women to embrace and promote a culture of Godly femininity in which we live out our rich identity as daughters of God and disciples of Jesus Christ.

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