Amsterdam Ministry. (The beginning)

This is a new series that I will be doing, while I am in Amsterdam. It will be full of scriptural encouragement, lessons I am learning and life in general. I hope you will enjoy it!

I want to begin with a Psalm that I was given the night before I jouryned to Amsterdam.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains-Where does my help come from?My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Writing it out in its fullness, has made me realise how much this Psalm was needed for this next step in my life. From the first day I got here there has been a lot going on and a lot to learn. It can be so easy to be overwhelmed but how gracious God has been. In all I have been learning, I have had a incredible sense of peace and have enjoyed the many aspects I have already encountered. To be able to talk freely about Jesus and faith with so many different people has already began to further my faith perspective. Everything we do in the ministry at the shelter is supported by prayer and Scripture. That has enabled me to see how much it is needed. For it is by the strength of God, that such work and care can be accomplished. Although the past few days has been a transition period there is so much truth and love that I have already encountered.

I have been challenged this week by what I was allowing to dominate my mind. If you know Amsterdam, then you know it is famous for many things, especially cycling. Cycling is not something I have done in years so I was overwhelmed when I was required to do it. Let’s just say my first time cycling led to many lampposts and even a door being hit into. At that moment, I decided to allow fear to control me. I was trusting in my own strength and ability and it was not working. My mind quickly became swamped with fear and anxiety over the next time I would have to cycle. Even in my quiet time and prayer life my mind was focused on the insecurity of not being able to cycle well. In a night of worship, when my mind was reeling I heard words that convicted me. ‘You are allowing your fears to become your gods.’ It was true, I was allowing all my thoughts and words to become about this fear. I was losing sight of what was around me because I was letting fear control me. The next day I prayed with someone over it. From that I ended up taking my bike out on my own and cycling from A to B. Was it a perfect ride, nope. Did I find freedom from that fear, yes. There are many valuable lessons I am learning from this lesson. Firstly, sometimes the best action after prayer is to put it into action. Don’t keep dwelling on it but actively trust God and go out and do it. Secondly, keep trying. There is so much more to be gained when we fail and then pick ourselves up and try again. For it is not by our strength but by God’s. Thirdly, have a faithful heart. Don’t allow your focus to come off of God and all that he promises and continues to do. ‘The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.’ Nothing that we do on earth is greater or mightier than who God is. Sometimes, we can not always be good at everything. That does not determine our worth in the eyes of God. Trust in who God says you are, not in what man calls you.

I pray for any of you that are going into new jobs, university or any new places in life. That you would trust in the words of Psalm 121. Allow them to become your prayer as you step into this next area of your life. Wherever we go in life, we are promised that God will never leave us or forsake us. Even in the struggle of the day, may we learn to praise God for that.

May you all have a wonderful week. I pray that you will know that you are loved and cherished. God bless, Victoria. Xx

Lessons I am learning from: God’s grace, healing and restoration.

I write this letter to my 21 year old self as a reminder of all that God has done in my life. My life looked a mess two years ago, I was absolutely broken inside. Slowly and beautifully God removed the broken parts and restored all that I needed to be. I struggled with trusting but God never stopped moving. I thank God for all I am today, for making me in his image and restoring all that was broken. I thank God for restoring my worth and for walking through life with me.

Proverbs 16v9 ‘The heart of man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps.’

To 21 year old Tori,

You have finished university and your internship has fallen to pieces. You mind is still trying to catch up with the past three years. I know you are continuously questioning yourself and doubting that you have made the right decisions in life. These next two years will feel really useless to you. However, they are the making of you. You will have massive slumps, will make bad decisions and generally struggle. Looking back on these two years, you will see how much of it was about stripping off the old to be made new. Through it all, Jesus is holding you and walking with you. You will find that it is in your faith, that you will be transformed and renewed. That those relationships that look broken, will be restored. Your body changes but you learn to put your value in something greater than your weight. You learn to thrive, to stand up for yourself, to love deeper and to let go of hurt.

Don’t disregard the next two years, they may look dull in perspective to the lives around you. Reagradless, every step forward is progress. Unfortunately, you will allow your emotions to guide you. They will tear you apart because they are not truth. Your spirit will feel crushed, due to what you dreamed of crashing down in less than a month. I can assure you, if you had gone into any sort of ministry your heart nor your mind would have been ready. Be thankful, that in the next two years you will devour God’s word. You will read many books on how to live out God’s word and how to serve. You will have many opportunities to learn and grow in ministry. At the moment, you are not ready . You have a lot of healing to go through. Even at 23, you still have a lot to learn but you are in a far better place than you are right now. Lean in and trust God, his way is not easy but it is far better than trying to do it on your own. Do not be discouraged, even when you mess up do not believe God has turned his back on you. Turn your face back to him and recieve the grace that he gives. It is overflowing. Jesus’ blood covers you, none of your mistakes are beyond God’s redemption. Don’t let the past hold you and destroy all that is good in front of you.

As you heal and grow, your life will be used to minister to those around you. In greater ways than you could ever know. Even in retail work, by being yourself, you love and serve people well. Never feel like an opportunity is wasted, place it into God’s hands and he can turn it round for his good.

You will struggle with doing retail but it will only make you stronger. It is being used as preparation for your next step in life. You learn to serve people with all different manners; you will find that the ‘rude’ customers are some of the nicest people you will ever know. You will be glad to get out of retail but your time there was worthwhile, keep working hard. You will meet amazing people along the way. Choose to see the situation in a better light, it will help you on some of your hardest days.

Coming back home does not mean you have failed. Your parents will love and support you as you get back on your feet. They will help you not to make decisions based on your emotions. You make amazing memories with your youngest sister. Going to some incredible concerts and amusements. You look after each other and laugh too much even on the hardest days. You make stronger relationships with all your siblings. With age comes wisdom and healing. You see friends you have not seen in years, you help and support each other. Even though you do not love your town, you allow yourself to favour coffee shops and food places. A little warning, you spend too much time and money in Waterstones. You grow and you thrive. Your church family care and support you through these years. They speak truth over you to allow you to grow in areas of ministry. God uses these wonderful people to speak truth over your life.

Throughout the two years you will apply for various other jobs, none of them will be successful. I would admit starting an email to a candle shop stating ‘I love candles’ is neither professional or smart. (Thankfully your sister read through that email.) Honestly, you will be just about to give up when God opens the next door for you. Restoring your dream of going into ministry work, to care for and love people. God’s timing is perfect. You are thankful none of those other job opportunities were successful, for you would not be able to do what you are doing now. Even though this move is to a new country, you know that the Good Shepherd is guiding you all the way through.

From your 23 year old self, I cannot assure you anymore by saying. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.’ (Proverbs 3v5-6).

I pray that this reflection over my life will reassure, encourage and help you. There will be many people who want to guide us; I found my life when I trusted God with it.

You are loved and cherished. Have a blessed week. God bless, Victoria.

Lessons I’m learning from: Next steps and God’s provision.

There is a Bible verse that I keep in my phone case. It has became a promise that I have received not once but twice this year. It is a verse that I have seen come into fruition this past month and a truth that God speaks over all our live.

‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.’ Psalm 55v22

I have been offered this amazing opportunity to go and serve and do ministry work abroad. While it comes with a lot of excitment and new opportunities. There was also a lot of planning, preparation and costs that needed to be met. I also needed to wrap up the job I was currently working. My mind instantly started trying to work out if I could afford to go and also to meet all the requirements. That was unnecessary for me to do, I have learned through this whole process at how much God had already gone before me and has provided everything that was required. All of the costs have been met through the kind and generous donations of loved ones and my church family. It has been incredible to have their continuous support as I begin to make moves into this new area of ministry. Although I know God has gone before me, to know I have many people praying and supporting me while I am out there. Enables me to bring them along as part of the ministry I am doing there. In none of this process have I felt alone or out of my depth. Even my doubts have been quickly met with peace.

When you feel you are being called to do something. Do not do doubt and fret about whether you are capable or whether you have the money. Take the leap of faith and trust and obey that what you are being called to is meant to be. My mum has this saying; what is for you, will not pass you by. Don’t allow fear to stop you from pursuing your calling for your life. Have faith and move forwards.

There are a lot of emotions that come with a new transition in life. For me, it’s closing the chapter on the job I have had for the past year and a half. It was not a job that I loved nor was I often very passionate about. However, as I close this chapter I do it with a grateful heart. There has been an incredible amount of growth through that job, not only for me as a person but also in my faith. I have seen countless times how God has enabled me to speak to people and even use my faith to bless them. Also, how he has used people to encourage me and to enable me to grow within my faith. It has been a time in my life, that has given me spare time to start my blog and grow deeper in my faith outside of work. I feel blessed that God could use that job to enable me to make new friends but, also, to draw me closer to him. God has provided for me countlessly throughout this job. Enabling me to enjoy precious time with family and friends. No opportunity is ever wasted when God is invited in. I have seen that truth prominently over the past two years.

A further note on emotions. Do not allow them to dictate your beliefs over the situation. I can tell you in all my excitement, I have also shed tears. Going into the unknown is scary and it is not always in our control. Tears are not a bad but don’t allow them to cloud your view of what you are stepping into. Share how you are feeling with others and allow them to support you through it all.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29v11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3v5-6

Trusting in the Lord means that he will call you to things that you may have never dreamed of. The opportunity I am going into. I had never heard of before but as soon as I began to apply, I felt this sense that this was what I was meant to be doing. I felt like life was moving forward and I needed to pursue this opportunity . The application process was rigorous and at times it hit snags. I persevered, even in my doubts God never stopped speaking his truth and favour over it. May it be an encouragement for any of you, sometimes that leap of faith is not always straight forward. God will make a way, when there seems to be no way. Keep the faith and keep preserving.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11v1

I will continue to update on this journey I am on. I hope you trust, that God never stops moving. A truth that I learned I church this week is, ‘God believes in us, more than we believe in ourselves’. God has a purpose for each of our lives, far beyond what we could imagine. Nothing is impossible with God.

May you have a blessed week. Love Victoria. Xx