July 31, 2017
Triple Bypass Complications
Less than 36 hours before the official Triple Bypass ride was scheduled to kick off, we received the sad news that the ride had been cancelled for the first time in 29 years due to wildfires further west.
My immediate response? I did not train for this for six months to not do it. Unforeseen circumstances that alter everything can and do pop up in the lives of those seeking to escape poverty, too. Classic analogy. They are why we were riding in the first place!
So, 21 of us, the majority of the CrossPurpose cycling team, said “we are not giving up!” and we chose to push forward and take on a different actually MORE DIFFICULT route. Yes, you see that correctly. 121 miles and roughly 12,000 feet of elevation gain over three mountain passes!! (View a stellar video animation of this ride here!)
I spent nearly 10.5 hours in the saddle riding in the dark then under the beating sun, as well as in moments of hail and sleet and under two solid hours of miserable, bone chilling rain. When the going got tough it occurred to me that I may be moving very slow… but I am still moving forward. And that is all it takes to make it to the end. One moment at a time. That is really all we can do in any given circumstance.
I am so proud to know the outstanding individuals on our team and am thankful for their perseverance and for the $93,500 we raised to support families currently conquering barriers to escape poverty with CrossPurpose. Getting to take on this “impossible” challenge taught me self-discipline like nothing else has before. I am a different person today because of this. Further, it has been a great joy to serve as an executive assistant and manage this team for the last six months. To utilize my organizing and coordinating skills, directly support and develop relationships with the riders on our team and, ultimately, cultivate the financial resources needed to empower my neighbors as they overcome impossible odds in their own lives has been nothing less than extraordinary. There just might be a future for me somewhere in this mix of fundraising and endurance sport.
Coordinating Summer Internship
Another highlight from the past few months has been serving as the internship coordinator for our summer intern, Rova. As a Fellow I have been poured into during monthly professional coaching sessions and personal/identity development sessions as well. I loved getting to multiply this investment others have made in me by leading these same coaching sessions with Rova weekly throughout the summer. It was a gift to get to know Rova, have her on our team, and gain a new sister in my friendship with her.
Who Am I?
Speaking of identity development: at the conclusion of our two years in the Fellowship program, each of us meet with our “life coaches”, Ray & Pattie Brim, and a leadership director or two in order to come up with an “identity statement.” This statement is an attempt to put into words who God has created us to be and why. Here is mine:
Kristi Graydon exists to free people from their boxes of limitations and to cultivate courage in them by believing in the unique individuals God created them to be, supporting and energizing their efforts to overcome challenges, and consistently nudging them to explore new bounds of life in creation and in the redemptive mission of Jesus.
Just this past weekend, on July 29th, all eight of us in the Delta Cohort spoke of and celebrated what God has done and how we have changed during the past two years that led us to this graduation day.
I remembered how, about 26 months ago, I moved to Denver yearning to be part of a community of Jesus followers who embraced the gospel that says God is on a mission to redeem all of creation and not just our souls. How I have wanted to grow in my understanding of how to really love my neighbors, to learn pieces of their stories, and to see how the hope Jesus offers meets those in places far from where I had spent most of my life. This doesn’t feel like it was all that long ago. Yet, at the same time, May of 2015 feels like a complete lifetime ago. So much has happened. So much joy and laughter, grief and loss, setbacks and accomplishments, processing and changing.
Today, I know I have not totally arrived. I don’t hold all the answers now either. I know my growth and need to learn things and unlearn many more will be a lifelong process. My life today, however, is marked by a new depth of hard-fought for faith; a faith that is richer and stronger because of how much it has been shaken. I now walk in a degree of calm strength and courage I had not known before.
Surely I would not be the woman I am today without the supportive belief our leadership, my cohort, and you, my supporters, have had in me all along. And, of course, because of the many opportunities I’ve had to “figure it out” and rise to challenges. Whether that was learning how to teach a cover letter class, writing meaningful & engaging support letters, hosting neighborhood film events, handling conflict with a healthier model of communication, leading coaching and identity development sessions with interns, or responding to the logistical nightmare of the Triple Bypass ride cancellation.
I am realizing more and more how thoroughly prepared and confident I am now to excel in a position of leadership and influence wherever I may land. Since Denver is now thoroughly my home, I am thrilled to remain part of this community and am actively searching for where I may utilize the skills and growth attained during my time in the Fellowship. And, as mentioned above, I will be exploring the possibility of continuing to lead fundraising campaigns for CrossPurpose and other local non-profits through endurance sporting events. Exciting possibilities!
You Made This Possible
As I face the uncertainties of my future, I remember how I have been cared for in the past. I stand amazed at how our Father has cared for me through your faithfulness and generosity these last two years. Words cannot thank you enough for your kind support and investment in me. You have bolstered my faith and taught me so much about how to live generously. I am eager to follow after your examples and support others as you have supported me.
If you had signed up for the automatic monthly draw (Electronic Funds Transfer) through the CrossPurpose website, your donations stopped automatically at the end of July. If anyone still mails a check or submits a one-time only online donation, I will receive that money through the end of August.
Question: I officially completed my full-time position with CrossPurpose at the end of July and am still seeking employment. Would you consider continuing your financial support of me until the end of August as I seek where God would have me serve next?
You can do it as a one-time gift online here. Please be sure to write “to the ministry of Kristi Graydon” in the donation note box.
Please remember me in prayer as I try to figure out my next steps in life here.
Thank you for making these last two life-changing years possible. I could not have done this without you.
Know I thank God for each of you by name. My prayer is that he will continue to teach us how to trust and know him more so that we have the courage to step up and lead wherever he has called us to do so.