It has been over 7 months since I last posted in this blog, so I don’t even know where to begin!
For starters, I moved to Mazatlan Mexico in April of this year, to serve as a missionary through Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Mazatlan. Coming here was a huge step of faith, because I didn’t know anyone here, had never even been to Mazatlan before, and on top of that, I was underfunded. By that I mean I hadn’t met the minimum amount of missions support normally required for missionaries to serve here. But I was close enough to that amount that I was allowed to begin serving as a full-time staffer. I serve in the media department, which to me is a privilege and blessing, because I love using digital media as a way of reaching people for Jesus. I’m very thankful that God brought me here, and for all the people here who made me feel like part of a family, right away.
Being back on the mission field has been awesome, but I’ve also had some big challenges in the last several months, and it hasn’t been easy. The good side of that is, I’ve realized that this new season for me is all about growth and change… which is fantastic! God has been at work in me, and growing me so I can be much more effective as a missionary and growing God’s kingdom.
God has been working on my character, especially in the area of self-discipline, diligence and responsibility. And I sense that God has been pushing me to become more of a leader, and by that I mean to develop leadership traits and attitudes. I’ve realized that passivity has been a stronghold for me, and that I’ve been content to stay in my shell, so to speak, where I’m comfortable. The problem with that, of course, is that it hinders growth, and it can even cause Christians to go backward, instead of forward. Last night I read an awesome book called the ‘Freedom Manual’ and I went through the steps to shatter the stronghold of passivity (as well as fear).
The bottom line is, I want to grow and change and move forward, which is also what God wants for me. So I am in agreement with the work God is doing in me, even though the process involves “growing pains” and it isn’t always easy.
As some people who are close to me (or who read my blog closely!) know, I have felt sort of “stuck” financially for the last few years. This stuck season came after about 5 years of amazing blessing from God in the area of financial provision. Over the last 8 years, I was able to take 5 YWAM schools – 4 of them at YWAM’s University of the Nations in Hawaii, and one in Switzerland. Each one of those schools cost thousands of dollars, and that’s not including the airfare or personal expenses. So I learned first-hand that God provides for those He calls to do something, but we have to be faithful in what He calls us to do. The reason I’m bringing this up is to say that a few years ago things changed, and I went into a dry season, and for a few years felt very stuck. And now I think I finally realized why I wasn’t able to move forward.
I had prayed about this many times before, but I still wasn’t sure what God was trying to teach me. Recently, a new friend suggested that I try fasting along with praying. I fasted for 2 days (just drank liquids) and I came to God with a humble heart and attitude. I truly wanted to understand what God was up to in my life. When I did that, God opened my eyes and showed me that He wants to change my character. He wants me to change long-held mindsets and attitudes that NEED to change in order for me to grow and mature and move forward. The Holy Spirit brought specific things to my mind, things that I had done (or failed to do) in the last several years that highlight those old mindsets. I felt convicted, and I repented for all of those things. But it wasn’t about condemnation, it was about my eyes being opened to the things in my character that God wants to change, to make me more like Jesus.
So even though I’ve been going through some growing pains, I feel blessed and honored. Why, because I know that God disciplines those He loves. (Proverbs 3:11-12) And gently pushes us to get out of our comfort zones, and to be more than we thought we could be. So for that, I am very thankful!
I happened to come across a quote today, by C.S Lewis, on the topic of God growing us, and how that can hurt sometimes. So I’ll close here with this quote:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?
The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity