31. May, 2012

I am not who I used to be….

I am not who I used to be….

“What this means is that those who become  Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”- 2 Corinthians 5:17

“But forget all of that-it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!”-Isaiah 43:18-19

The purpose of this blog is different then most that I have written. So bear with me as it might get a bit long (sorry to some of you who hate reading but stick with me!) I guess this blog has kind of formed out of a really interesting week for me. This week, I had the most amazing encounter with God that I would never have expected to have in a million years. Not only that but I preached my second sermon so far and had kind of an update meeting with my wonderful teacher Chris Opie from Pathways college. This blog is coming from a heart that can not stop from giving thanks to God and not stop falling on my face before Him.

I know some of you knew back in my darker days and saw that ugly side of me, and some of you have thankfully not had to witness that, but have only begun to see the transformed me that God is continually working. But I wanted to start by saying God has not done a tweak in my life, He has completely transformed my life. Some of you here in NZ who know me now might not have noticed me if you had passed me on the shops three years ago. And as I have been thinking about it the last couple of weeks, I am so continually blown away that I keep hitting my knees in awe and thankfulness as I look around me and see the amazing works that God has done in my life. What really hit it all home was when I sat down on Saturday morning with my Mug&Muffin girls and watched one of my favorite Bible teachers Beth Moore, share about a life transformed in David. And I seriously wanted to break down and cry right then (tears of joy). I sit here at the end of a very full week and I look back, I see the faithfulness and fingerprints of God all the way through it. For me, I know I am not the same girl I used to be and I can not take any credit for that. Because I know if I did that I would need to be struck down with lighting (hahaha Peyton) or something. For me tonight this has been my wake up moment and I have realized that I know I am not where I used to be, not by a long shot. I am very thankful and humbled and happy to say that as much as the enemy tried, he did not get all that he wanted from me.

I want to share with some of you who haven’t seen me in a year or two (or who have facebook stalked me via photos and what not) what has been going down on my side of the world. At the beginning of this year, I have had the amazing privilege to be accepted into Pathways Bible College, and am working part time on a certificate in Worship Leading. Never in a million years would I have ever believed that God would do such a thing for me. Not even when I was a little girl singing worship songs with my dad on stage at summer camp would I believe that something like this would be part of my life at 18. Pathways has already begun to stretch me and change me in ways I would never have thought possible. (thanks Chris Opie and Craig Barrow) but the things I am learning, I continue to be blown away by. The people that I have been able to come into contact with because of this program blow my socks off. I am so glad I am not the only weird one out there, but there are others like me. I find myself growing in my knowledge and area of worship, in my walk with God, and in my prayer life.

The other thing that has happened is that God has continued to allow me to be apart of an amazing, growing, blossoming youth group that has God’s fingerprints all over it. Now if you had asked me three years ago if I would ever be apart of a youth group that was so on fire I would say no. This youth group has challenged me in so many areas that I can’t even begin to name them all. But the few that stick out as the most prominate is that I have had the privilege of having amazing youth pastors and leaders around me who have encouraged me to step up and use my gifts when I have wanted to shy away and just ignore the fact that I might have any to begin with. For me I am really insecure person (just being honest.) So to even think about getting up and sticking up my hand and saying “ya I will do that” scares the crap out of me! But in the last year, I have not only seen my guitar/singing abilities change and grow slowly, but I have had the opportunity of being able to preach two messages on things that God has been teaching me. I never would have even imagined doing something like that……EVER!!! But God has decided other wise. 😉 funny that ey. But I haven’t gotten up there doing it by myself, but I know that I have had not only the backing of a youth pastor who has looked over my sermon and my academic advisor (AKA my dad) but I have had the surrounding and prayer of people around the world. That in and of itself has allowed me to fall back into knowing I am not doing my life on my own and it isn’t me against the world like I used to think.

The other really neat God thing is that God has opened the door and allowed me to be able to, is as 1 Corinthians 11:1 says “Follow my example as I follow Christ’s” with some girls. I have had the the most knee knocking, scaring me half to death, but oh so rewarding opportunity to speak into the lives of some girls at my youth group as well as some that have been coming to the girls Bible study I have been holding in my house. To watch as the girls wrestle with God, and seek God and finally hit that point of surrendering to God has been amazing. And the fact that God doesn’t waste anything and has continued to use bits of my story to be a sign post to these girls has blown my mind to no end.

And as I sit here tonight I realized that all of those months of me saying “there has got to be a reason why Satan is attacking me so hard right now, there has got to be something in New Zealand that Satan isn’t happy about” is now all starting to make sense. As I was drifting off to sleep its like a light bulb went off in my head. Some of these things began to make sense, and it is like the veil of heaven got pulled back for a split second and some stuff finally started clicking. God has absolutely done a 180 with my life that I can take no credit for it, and I hope that I am becoming a woman that when people see me, they see nothing of me but every ounce of me gets to point back to God and His glory. No I am not writing this to say look at how great I am, but merely to humbly say that I am not who I used to be. I made a conscious decision to obey my God rather than my fear and insecurity and sin. Just like I chose to walk away, I also chose to walk back and say “actually God, You take back over my life because I did a messy job of it by my own hands”. So I guess what I wanted to communicate is that God was good and so faithful and so mind blowing and so merciful. God is good, when there was nothing good in me. He was hope, and He cover all of my sin. He was peace, when my fear was crippling. And I can now stand on this side of my battle and crap and look back and see how God is beginning to redeem my junk and strength gifts and talents I didn’t even know I had. 😛 I want to humbly say to you guys that I am not who I used to be, to that God gets all of the glory. I guess each time I have hit my knees that last couple of weeks, I feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness and gratitude to God.

I know that God is still working on me. I am after all, human. And I know that I still have a long way to go, but I know that greater things are still yet to come in my own life. I am now excited for whatever is next (after I get through this crazy year!) I am no longer afraid of the future, or feel a need to control certain things in my life. I am merely grabbing God’s hands and walking this path with him. Or as I preached on Friday night, I am excited, to get in the boat with God and push out into the middle of the lake. I know that I still have my moments, I know I still make mistakes, but I know that in the end God still uses it, and I am continuing to seek after Him and whatever and however that may be.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well I say it takes a global village to raise a missionary kid. So I want to stop and thank all of you who have prayed over me and for me. I want to thank those of you who have added so much laughter to my life. Thank you for making me laugh when I have wanted to punch walls in. Thank you for those of you who have believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you to those of you who have pushed me to seek God or pushed me harder so that I can become better and stronger in some areas of my life. Thank you to some of you who I have been able to lean on when things have gotten tough or I have felt weak. You are all so important to me and I know I don’t say it enough or appreciate it enough. Thank you…each and every one of you. I don’t think I have big enough or long enough or even enough words to describe my thanks.

Thank you also to those of my friends both new and old. I know some of you might not realize the impact you have had on my life or how much you might have altered it and changed it, but you have. Some of you so dramatically changed it and some of you have sprinkled it. To each I am eternally grateful.

I wanted to close with this verse cause it kind of sums this all up:

Psalms 116:1-7

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Please, Lord, save me!” How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.