This year has been an amazing journey of God moments that I want to share. Things happen in his time because it’s perfect 🙂
The first significant thing that happened was that I became part of a connect group at church. I’d never done this before and it was a bit scary because I didn’t really know anyone very well. But I guess faith is turning up every week and seeing what God has planned for that night, and in doing so becoming planted and flourishing together as part of a family. That was the most amazing thing- being part of a family. And life is so much better when you’re in a family ! You know that amazing people have your back and want the best for you and walk with you when life is tougher. It’s amazing that these people want to help you grow in God and love and life.. but also that you get to share in their journey too. I’m really thankful for the wider church family God gave me as an answer to prayer in 2011, but even more for the closer church family he gave me this year.
The next significant thing happened at Shout Conference at Easter. I wasn’t so keen on going for a few reasons: it was in Auckland, which is a foreign land; it was going to be 3 intense days of hanging out with a massive group of people and I didn’t have a buddy to keep me ‘safe’; also it would be a financial stretch. But anyway I went. The first couple of days were cool, and I really liked the creative workshops I went to, but overall I wasn’t super excited about it and maybe I was being a little dramatic. But on the last night God showed up and it was just what I needed. He gave me 3 miracles in as many hours. They were all AMAZING. The first was an amazing feeling of fire climbing out of my stomach and all over me. It wasn’t scary but it got my heart racing. It was the first time I can recall hearing (it was more like knowing, because there wasn’t a voice) from God. He told me to put the money I had saved for the trip to the airport the next morning in the offering. I knew something incredible would happen if I did, but it was still a bit scary stepping out and doing it. And so exciting at the same time- I was on a God high the rest of the night ! I sowed $20 that night- the next day I reaped $20 in three different occasions ! And one was debt I’d written off ! Also that night I received healing- TWICE ! The first was from a phobia I’d developed and carried over the last 5 or 6 years. When we got out of the meeting that night I just wanted to hug people ! It was pretty awesome. I still have to work through it now, but I’m a lot more comfortable which physical touch than I used to be. And something doesn’t have to be completely healed to be a miracle- healing is a journey too ! The other healing happened later on when I was getting ready for bed. I suddenly felt really nauseous and without even thinking I said ‘Jesus, I feel sick. Heal me’. And it was instantaneous ! All these things made the trip to Auckland so worthwhile, and even the feeling of being out of place I’d had initially was totally redeemed.
The next thing I can think of that has been significant this year was studying a book through church called The Blessed Life. This tackled the topics of tithing and giving, which weren’t foreign to me but I was keen to learn some more. The first issue that was brought up was the motivation behind giving, and it made me take a step back and look at myself. I’ve never had issues with giving.. well so I thought. Actually my motivation was to make ME feel like I had value and worth. But really giving is all about extending the Kingdom of God. And it’s so much better having God on board with your giving, because then it really makes an impact and takes the focus off you and onto others. As the series developed my faith was tested. One night Lucy said she had a few unexpected bills, one for $73. O Dear, I thought. That’s exactly the money I counted last night that I’ve saved for my trip to Wellington ! But really that money wasn’t saved for me- it was for God to bless someone else through me ! And my reward ? I was given $100 the night before I left for Wellington. Another time, on the last night my wee group was having a conversation about what had happened during the week and such. My connect group leader was there and he said something like ‘I really need a car that works’. To which I replied without thinking ‘I have a car that works’ but I don’t think he heard me. Immediately I had this thought.. I should give him my car. I brushed it off but it kept nagging me the rest of the evening, to the point where I was so distracted and just wanted to tell Jo that I NEEDED to give him my car. I caught up with him afterwards and said ‘Jo, I really feel I should give you guys my car’. He was so overwhelmed that someone would do that for him and Michelle, and so so stoked, it was totally worth giving away my car for that reaction. Him and Michelle talked about it that night and decided to accept it, but said they felt it wasn’t for them to keep; they had to give it away. So they gave it to me ! They felt it was a test of faith for me to go through with it, but also a significant moment for them in their faith journey. This is the blessed life !
Another God moment was my decision to get baptised. Today is my 4 month anniversary of baptism ! But the journey: I did the DNA course run by my church and that night I couldn’t sleep- I was so overcome by the feeling I needed to get baptised. But I’d already been baptised and didn’t know what the protocol was.. isn’t once enough ? So I sought advice about it and decided Yes, I need to do it again. The first time was a decision made with wrong motivation even though I knew what I was doing; this time was going to be for me, because I love Jesus 🙂 The next baptism service at church I was going to miss, because I planned on being down south then. But the week before I got sick and didn’t end up going. Once I’d made the decision to stay I started recovering, and by Sunday I was feeling heaps better. So I got baptised- OYEA ! And.. on Monday I was sick again. The following two weeks I had to fully rely on God. I had uni assignments that were scary and also the planning for the father’s day service at church to do ! But God is faithful; as you pour your life out for his cause he will refresh you and renew you. By the time I got back to uni I was back to myself and feeling like a conqueror. I definitely feel that getting baptised when I did was key for getting through the next weeks.
A big big God moment this year was another decision. This one to move down south when I finish uni in the middle of the year. This is quite a life changing decision, and all year I’d felt torn about what I should do- stay or go. But when I made the decision it was easy, and there was peace with it. And once I made the decision I got a dream. The dream was to start an outreach in an old people’s home. This had to be from God, because with all my qualifications and experience there was no way I was interested in working with the elderly. But I figure if it’s from God, he’ll give me the joy and the passion for it and enable me to do it, and not just well, but with excellence and favour. So stepping out in faith I decided to look for a job in a rest home for the summer, and for whilst I’m finishing up study next year. So I started applying for jobs over the next month, but without much luck, although it didn’t stress me. Two days before my last exam I get a call with a job offer, from an interview I’d written off. And I accepted and started that week ! And even on the first day I had the joy and the passion and I still carry that.
Another significant moment was experiencing God’s favour in a tangible way, and in two instances. The first was in my studies. I’ve never been a good student and exams stress me often. In the past I’ve gotten frustrated that I never saw God’s favour in my studies, especially when I’d done my best and prayed a lot and all that. But I guess I still relied on my own strength and what I could do by myself. But this year I gave it all to God, for real. And he honoured that. He knew I didn’t know anywhere near enough to pass the exams on my own, so he arranged for class mates to text me and offer to help me study. WIN ! I had God appointments before every exam, and when the results came back I was so stoked I cried. One exam that I’d failed last year had been totally redeemed- an A+ in the exam to get A- overall. And with the circumstances.. God is the only way to explain that ! The second experience of God’s favour is in my job. I gave my entire first paycheck to God, which was difficult because it meant I’d have to go into overdraft for the next month or so to pay my rent etc, but I really wanted to honour God for giving me the job. So I did it. I didn’t see any results in the next few weeks, like black figures on my bank statement, but now I am beginning to see favour in my workplace. Every night as I go to work I pray for peace and favour specifically, and every time I’ve worked it’s been peaceful (not necessarily uneventful), and I’ve been able to pick up extra shifts that I’m really not qualified for, but I’ve been so surrounded by God that it hasn’t been stressful for me or my workmates that have had to keep an eye on me. God is so good- he honours you when you put him first !
And the final thing. Last week I found a prophecy that had been spoken over me at the end of last year. It said ‘You are the first drop of rain in the storm of creativity that is going to hit Equippers’. WOA. Looking back at the last year.. that has definitely come to pass ! Not that I did anything amazing, just that I was willing to give something a go and share some ideas on how to make things better or different or unique, and get in behind projects to help make them happen. And not everything worked out like I thought it would, but that doesn’t matter because it got the ball rolling and now the creative storm is raging in Equippers ! Another prophecy I got this year was ‘You drop into situations and change things, then drop out again’. I thought it was a bit average for a prophecy but thinking about it later I realised, actually that’s what I’ve done most of my life ! For a season God places someone or something in my life because he wants me to help take it to the next level or give it the momentum to get there, but not just stop there, so it can continue climbing and growing and excelling, even after I drop out. This is what the creative is in Equippers. I can feel my season is about to change and the creative is gaining momentum and it will keep growing and expanding long after I’ve moved on to my next mission. God has bigger plans than my imagination 🙂
So far this is my journey in 2012. There’s still two weeks left ! I’m so thankful for the year that’s passed and for the people on the journey with me. I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for me 🙂