Amsterdam Ministry: Fresh perspective.

Psalm 27v14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

It has been a week since my last blog, time has bought a lot of peace and change. In the past week, I have encountered healing over the past. Also, chains of fear and worry have been broken. I have had incredible opportunities to share times of fellowship with new friends made. I have been learning what it means to serve in different and wider ways. I normally go to bed with a heart full of thanksgiving and peace over the day.

As I was reflecting on my week, I was struck by how awesome God is. This is due to fulfilling one of the hopes I have. This comes from reading Acts 2v42-47. V44 ‘All the believers were together and had everything in common.‘ V46-47 ‘Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’ I love reading how the early believers lived together, worshipped together, learned together and encouraged each other. Each time I have read that passage, I have always wanted to have the opportunity to experience that. It is something I have been experiencing with my church back at home, now it is in a different country and culture. I live in a community where we all are here to serve the Lord. We all go out each day and serve in different aspects. We spend time throughout the day to eat together, to share the word and to encourage each other. We laugh a lot, we are thankful a lot and we are determined every day. That is an incredible blessing to be able to have this time, to be able to live with people from all different countries and to bring many cultures into one place. It is really beautiful and I am incredibly thankful. God has a beautiful way of showing his love and care for each of us. Whether it be through fulfilling a hope or widening our perspective on how we can love and serve him.

I titled this blog fresh perspective because of the way my eyes are being opened to see how the spirit of God is moving in every area of this ministry. Before every shift that is done, at the shelter, we surrender it and give God the glory for it. That is one of the best ways to serve. You never know what guests you will get but to be serving them by doing all things for the Lord sure makes it a little easier. It helps me not to go on auto-pilot just to get the tasks done. I want to see the people I am serving and serve them the best way I can. Whether it be through conversation or prayer. Even in the community there is this beautiful unity and peace. It is a place where no one is left out. People are loved and supported. Where friendships blossom and develop quickly. Testimonies and life are shared together constantly. It is not something we do in our own strength. We allow God to strengthen us and use us for his glory. That has been a real blessing.

Another blessing, is something I wanted to use to encourage anyone who is being taunted by their past. That in trying to move forward there is something always attempting to hold them back. It is an issue I had to deal with this week and I share some of the advice I was given. Always remember that God’s mercy is new every morning, that what happened yesterday does not have to flow into today. Make sure that you have confessed and surrendered it to God, once you have let it go. Lamentations 3v22-23 ‘Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’ God love for us, sets us free. He does not want us to be consumed by our sins and our past. God wants us to be free in his presence, to be able to have eyes that only see him and that are not clouded by anything else. If the past keeps taunting you, speak God’s truth over it until it has no power. James 4v7 ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee.’Remember that you are free from that, that God transforms and makes us new. That what has been surrendered, does not need to be picked up. Some of the mistakes we made do have consequences, that does not have to consume us either. Move forward, trusting in God’s strength and healing. Allow God to work within the situation. Healing, restoration and peace comes from the Lord.

This blog focused a bit more on what I was doing this week. I hope through reading it, you will be encouraged. Whether it be, submitting your day and work to the Lord. To see it with a fresh perspective, allowing the Lord to work through you. That God has incredible ways of working, never feel that any dream or hope is useless to God. Also, that there is always time for healing and restoration. Our God is good and gracious. Keep pursuing him, keep serving and keep loving.

Have a blessed week. Remember that you are loved and cherished. Love Victoria. Xx

P. S If you are wondering how the bike riding is going, it is definitely going well. I actually ride with speed and enjoy the bike rides. Though I did learn that rain, converses (they have no grip) and a bike. Leads to quick descent off a bike. A little bruise or two does no harm. Haha.

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.