The past five months have been such an incredible time of growth in relation to my faith. I used to believe my faith was a part of me, that I could pick up and use when it was convenient to me. Now, I know without my faith I cannot be the person that I was meant to be. That without my foundation being built on Jesus, everything else will just crumble. I am thankful for the joy that flowed back into my life. To learn to love God and people more deeply and intentionally. My heart has been renewed, I feel that the broken parts have all been healed. I want to share with you some of the incredible blessings I was able to encounter in my time away.
In my last blog I wrote about my struggles with prayer, as I reflected I realised the people who had came alongside me to support my prayer life. I was incredibly blessed by having a wonderful prayer “buddy” very early on in my time in Amsterdam. I appreciated how we did life together, for example eating Ramen or going shopping. There was a deep need in both of us to grow spiritually deeper, the way that we did it came naturally. Anything that we needed to pray about simply started as a conversation; we would talk about it and look at how we wanted to progress through it. We would offer it to the Lord, asking him how we can use it to grow and to come closer to him. My prayer “buddy”, she is so powerful in prayer and she encourages me a lot in my faith to step out and to trust God more. Even when I drifted a little bit with my faith, she bought me straight back to staying in the arms of Jesus. Romans 12v12 ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.’. I have so much love and respect for her. She is going to do awesome acts for the kingdom.
The prayer mentor I was paired with, encouraged me to come to know God in a way that I had never know him. As a God that I could come before, with everything and anything. His love was not dependent on me ticking all the right boxes, for God loved me before I knew what love was. Conversation, was the main instrument in which our prayer flowed through. Being able to share what was concerning me and the atmosphere feeling so calm and relaxed, helped me to be more open. There was always laughter and that helped me to know that the joy of the Lord can flow through all situations. I learned to come to prayer just as I am. To talk to the Lord like I would anyone else, knowing that when I leave it in his hands that is the best place for it. I needed a prayer mentor who would push me to be my best, to make the most of all opportunities. She did not let me give up on myself and would check that I was meeting the targets I had set. I will miss having those conversations with her.
I have come to realise how vital prayer is. Being back at home, I prioritise prayer as being the open communication between Jesus and I. I love it.
The ministry work that I did in Amsterdam, allowed me to see how we can honour Jesus through the smallest and simplest acts. A life of living out my faith. That is not an easy act to do. I am pretty sure every time I prayed, “Help me Lord to serve people well today, in your name”. There would always be one guest, which would really test my patience. It is about learning to take all the highs and lows, to get it wrong sometimes. To apologise when you get it wrong and to know that Jesus is not going to leave because you messed up again. One of the most beautiful interactions was getting to know people. Finding out where they were from and what they had been doing on their travels. It was great to see peoples excitement as they shared. At moments there were times to come along guests who had similar struggles that I was going through; using that opportunity to share how I had found my hope in that situation. I believe in a Jesus who cares about what we have to say but who wants to give us a greater hope than we have ever known. For some of our guests that was hard to take, for others they received it with joy.
I have talked about being CS in some of my previous blogs but it is the role that helped me to fall in love with reading my bible again. I became passionate about reading it for what it was and not with all these ideas about how it should be and what I should gain from it. Reading it with the cleaners, they would ask questions that I had never thought of. It made me realise that I still have so much more to learn. That made me so excited. I was reading the Old Testament and was amazed at how it shows the character of God, There was one week we did a whistle stop tour of the book of Joshua, it was cool to see how they were interested in the battle of Jericho and in all the little details. “Why did they have to kills the donkeys?”. I became passionate about sharing it because it was sparking an interest. Especially in the New Testament, trying to figure out what it all meant. There was always something to learn. This is my encouragement to you reading this, continue sharing God’s word. It is not dead, it is very much alive. Isaiah 55v11 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”.
My relationship with people began to change a lot when I was in Amsterdam. In learning where my identity was from and who I was becoming. Allowed me to become more comfortable with people.The friendships that have developed helped to bring a lot of healing and closure to past wounds. The past no longer has any authority, it cannot steal my joy. I love how each person within the community had their own personality and was willing to serve in a beautiful way. There was no competitiveness and everyone learned from each other. There was such a passion for each other to grow in their faith and a genuine sense of friendship and love for each other. It was truly beautiful to be a part of that. Hebrews 10v24-25 ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.’. The community life showed how beautiful life can be when the hand of God is upon it. In all the highs and lows, God’s faithfulness would always meet us there.
Overall my faith has changed for the better. I am no longer worried or ashamed about how people will perceive me with my faith. It truly does not matter. I want to keep serving and loving people well. I want to travel more and have more opportunities to minister to people. I am excited for what God has in store for me next. I want to keep being challenged and growing. Most importantly I want to walk in a closer relationship with my Saviour. I am truly thankful I got to be planted somewhere else for a while, there I truly bloomed.
“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)
May you all have such a blessed week. Take the opportunities that are presented to you. Love and serve each other well. God bless, Victoria. xx