Monday, October 24, 2016

My DTS Testimony

Priscilla Shire once said, “It is possible to be a disciple and not know God.”  This quote describes my life perfectly.  I grew up in church, was saved and baptized at a young age, but never really understood the truths I was being taught and raised on.  It wasn’t until this year where God helped me realize I have perfected the role of Martha but He wants me to learn how to be Mary.  (See the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10).

I have loved God from a very young age.  Since I was 12 years old I have been serving faithfully in my church, community, country, and the world.  This service has helped me grow in my passion for helping the weak and vulnerable. While I have served with passion I still felt so empty inside.  After some time, the good feelings I had from helping others would go away, and like a drug, I would want them back, more and more, giving every free moment, and every extra dollar I had to helping others. Believe it or not I was addicted to helping others.  You may think, “well this isn’t a bad thing,” but it really can be!

While helping others is good it shouldn’t be our priority.  I unfortunately spent many years neglecting my relationship with God.  This neglect caused me to doubt God’s love for me, leading me looking for love from the people I served, which was a HUGE mistake. 

My quiet time spot in Nepal
All God has really wanted is for me to spend time having a relationship with Him, to experience and be overwhelmed by His love for me. I was looking for love an acceptance from broken people and constantly being let down, causing the fear of rejection and abandonment to grow inside.  I knew in my head God loved me but that truth never made it to my heart. I made service to God an idol, because I put it before my relationship with Him.

Every year for the past 9 years I have prayed and asked God to give me a word for the year.  This word usually ends up being the theme of my year.  In November 2015 God gave me the word “humility” for 2016.  And in December 2015 the lessons I was to learn from that word began.  God humbled me, allowing everything He had given me to be taken from me.  This forced me to do something I should have done a very long time ago, attend a YWAM DTS (Youth With A Mission, Discipleship Training School). 

In this 6 month school I learned how to be Mary.  It forced me to be still and sit at the feet of Jesus.  Here I learned about the character and nature of God, His desire for all of creation, and His heart for Justice.  Most importantly, this school helped me move the truth that God loves me from my head, to my heart!  God used this school to complete me!  Before understanding God I never felt like I was complete, but now I feel whole, as well as emotionally and mentally healthy.

This school has helped me gain a better understanding of what justice looks like which will help me be a better advocate for social injustice and human rights.  In the past, passion is what has driven me to serve and help others when it should have been the love of God.  Because I didn’t understand the character and nature of God and I never experienced His love for myself, I wasn’t able to care for others with the authentic love that the people in this world need. 

Passion is great, but when there is no love behind passion it’s like someone playing the violin for the first time.  They may have passion to play but they don’t know what they are doing.  While their desire is to make beautiful music the screechy noise they are making instead is extremely annoying.  They need to be taught.  As they learn they will become better at playing the violin.  Because of their passion they will be successful at it, never quitting when it gets too difficult.  Most importantly, once they learn how to play that annoying noise will become a beautiful sound. 

It’s incredible the different sound you get from a beginner learning the violin to a professional violinist.  I believe this analogy also applies to me.  Now that I understand the character and nature of God, now that I believe in my heart Jesus loves me, I am able to serve others with the authentic love of God as the driving force behind my passion to see the vulnerable set free from injustice. As I look to God, the greatest teacher of love and advocate of justice in all of history, I am better equipped to help others find the wholeness and healing they are searching for.  God is pursuing each and every person.  My hope is that I can help others stop long enough to be caught by Him like I was!

My DTS at graduation

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