Got back from Brazil this week. Our church does a short term mission trip there every year. It was my first year to go and it was incredible. I’m still trying to process everything.
It was so cool to see how God answered prayers while we were there. We even got to see some of the fruits of our work while we were there. There were some rough times for me personally but overall it was just wonderful and I can’t wait to go back next year.
I might write something more detailed about the trip at some point in the future. I’ll have to plan it out.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Eph 3:14–19.
Second day of the intensive kick-off weekend of Redemption Groups. We gathered together to sing and praise. And went straight into the teaching. I took lots of notes. One of the deacons of our church shared some things about his story and how we put our identities into things other than God. He spoke about how we idolize in some way and let addictions, abuse, troubles define who we are. He went through and showed us how Jesus asks us to set aside those idols and look to Him to realize our identity. Later in the day another deacon talked about worship. He challenged us by saying that what we worship is what we become, so what are you worshipping over God?
In between all of us we went to lunch in smaller groups and came together back in the office. During this intro weekend we opened up to our group to share our life story. We encouraged and lifted up each other through it. It was a really intense ordeal. But it was so good. I felt so wonderful for the people in my group. I felt like everyone is going to feel some sort of freedom by going through is. Jesus is going to do the work in them and transform their hearts. It may be a slow and gradual change, but a change nonetheless.
Sharing my story took a lot out of me. By the end I was shaking. The entire time I was engulfed in tears. No one else cried through their entire story. Why did I cry through mine? I talked about my depression, bipolar, anxiety, and psychosis having always been present since high school. I talked about how it got worse through college. I brought it all the way up to today when it’s still actually pretty bad taking over my life. After I shared, everyone said such wonderful things. They said that they’re encouraged by me. They’ve felt every bit of God shining through my words. In effect, they looked up to me. They’d never guess that I was hurting so much. But everything I said, I consulted the Holy Spirit to guide my words to teach his word. They also said that I ought to have grace for myself.
I am a slave to my illness. I want to be freed from this slavery. I want to taste freedom. I don’t want to be defined by this. This illness is not who I am. This illness and everything that goes along with it is something that I refuse to let reign over my life. I am much more than it. But I can’t do it in my own strength. I have an army. I call on Christ. He is my strength. He is the general of my army. He is my knight in shining armor, come to save the day. And He is my papa. And I am His precious little daughter. Papa has come to save me and free me from my illness. I have to humbly come to him and ask for his help. He will lead me through the steps I have to take to follow him to freedom. He promises it.