This blog post is going to be a bit different from what I normally post. When I created this blog to begin with, I knew that it would be the place where I documented everything that happened during this stint abroad—the highs, the lows and everything in between. Many, if not all, of the stories of my highs and lows, can be brought back to Christ. I don’t mask the fact that I am a Christian on this blog. In fact, if you’ve read some of my previous posts, I think I make it pretty clear that He is a big part of my life and the whole reason I am on this journey in the first place.
My family and friends know that I am a reserved person. Often, I don’t share more than I need to and unless you’re my college roommates or my best friend, I don’t willingly open up and share what God is doing in my life. In that regard, in any other circumstance, I wouldn’t be one to share this “God story” with the internet. In fact, if I weren’t abroad in the first place, I wouldn’t have an audience to share it with or a platform on which to share it. However, this story is such a big part of my trip to Amsterdam, that I can’t leave it undocumented or for my eyes only. I get the feeling that I’d be doing Him a disservice by keeping what He has done in my life to myself.
I don’t write this story in vanity or with a, “look how great of a Christian I am for sharing His word” mentality. I am so far from perfect—I’ve messed up big time in the past and I have doubted Him more than I should. My only hope for this post is that it reaches the people it needs to reach and through it all, His name is glorified.
Dimanche, 29 octobre 2017
This Sunday was what I can only describe as a God moment of epic proportions.
On Sunday morning, I had one goal: to visit Hillsong Amsterdam. After listening to the audiobook Live Love Lead: The Best is Yet to Come! by Brian Houston, the founder of Hillsong Church in Australia, earlier this year, I made it one of the points on my bucket list to visit the Hillsong France locations.
When Alli and I were planning this trip, I was thinking about what we could do on Sunday before we left for Rotterdam. We were unable to get tickets to the Anne Frank House and weren’t really interested in paying 18 euros to get into one of the art museums, so I was considering and exploring other options. It was then that I just happened to think about Hillsong. I decided to check if there were any of the branches in Amsterdam and I discovered they do in fact have an Amsterdam church. There was something so big pulling me toward that service, I knew it was something I had to do. God thing, part one.
After a lot of back and forth about what time we were going to leave Amsterdam for Rotterdam on Sunday (I wanted to leave earlier because I didn’t want to have to buy an extra metro pass), Alli convinced me that we should take the later bus so we would have more time to explore on Sunday afternoon. Even though I was trying to ignore that feeling of being pulled toward the service, He was making sure I was going to go. God thing, part two.
So, on Sunday morning, we made our way to church. Alli and I were a few minutes late to the service but still managed to snag a few seats next to a very nice, young woman (who just happened to by French!). Now usually, I am not one to cry during worship and I don’t often feel so joyfully-overwhelmed by Jesus that I would cry, but something was so utterly different about this day that I found myself half-crying, half-singing the worship songs (the title of this blog post is named after the first song we sang–I HIGHLY recommend you give it a listen). I enjoy going to my church in Clamecy, but I didn’t even know how much my soul was desperately seeking to glorify His name (in English) with a group of young believers like myself. God thing, part three.
If I didn’t know God was about to reveal Himself to me before this service, I knew it so clearly in my soul at the start of the sermon. You see, the night before I left for this vacation, I very clearly heard Him tell me, “Keep your eyes on mine” while my mind was racing through the ‘what-ifs’ and daydreaming about the future. I very rarely hear Him so clear and upfront, but I instantly realized I had to make a change that I had been clearly avoiding for the past month and a half, even though I didn’t understand why. After mulling over it for nearly a week, I built up the courage to do what I had been told on Saturday and waited with an open heart, soul, and mind to find out the “what now”. God thing, part four.
As I sat there on Sunday morning, anxiously anticipating the sermon to come, I knew God was going to speak to me through it, I just didn’t know when. So, I sat and I listened and I absorbed. Of course, just when I thought I had been hugely mistaken, the speaker (Mal Fletcher) started talking about how we can use education, language, and innovation to spread the Word and glorify Him in all we do. In talking about education, he said that we have been taught to, “listen, learn, and act” but when you hear the Word of Jesus, you need to, “Listen and act, and the learning might be immediate, it might be next week, or it might be ten years down the road. But you need to act to learn.” [paraphrased].
And that was exactly what I had been lead there to hear.
I don’t know why God does the things He does. He can be as mysterious as He is powerful as He is loving. But, I know that He is so utterly good that I can no longer go on living with the mentality of listening when I want to and obeying when it’s convenient for me. How is that a way to live the life He has planned so perfectly for me? How am I living up to my fullest potential if I’m not always listening, talking, and acting in a way that brings the fullest and most complete glory to God?
It is so hard to put into the words exactly what changed in the depths of my soul over the course of this past week and specifically, at that service, but thankfully it’s not my job to perfectly articulate His plan for me. That’s His job—I just need to listen and act and pray I am glorifying to Him in all that I say, think, and do.
It blows my mind the way He meticulously crafted this path of mine so that I would hear Him so abundantly clear, of all places in the world, on a random Sunday in Amsterdam. If I hadn’t listened to that audiobook way back at the beginning of the year, going to Hillsong Church in Amsterdam wouldn’t have even crossed my mind as a thing to do. Even more so, Amsterdam wasn’t even on my radar of places to visit until a dear friend of mine told me it was somewhere he’d always wanted to visit. If Alli hadn’t been there with me, I don’t know if I would have stayed late enough into the day to go to the service itself, despite the clear messages I had been receiving about absolutely needing to be at that service.
After growing up in the church, spending the last four years at TCU surrounded by a community of Jesus-loving people, and finding my home at a church in Fort Worth, it took me moving 3,000 miles across the globe, being separated from my family and friends, and desperately searching for answers in all the wrong places for my heart, mind, and soul to be ready to listen and act without asking, “Why?” but instead saying, “Okay”.
This road toward greater trust in Him is not going to be easy. I know I will still have doubts in His vision and plans for my future. I am so far from perfect and I’m certain I’ve still got my fair share of messing-up to do ahead of me. However, I remain hopeful that this is the beginning of a new chapter in my relationship with Jesus, one where I listen, act, and learn with the knowledge that everything I do for Him and with Him will ultimately glorify His name.
Praise God for this crazy, beautiful journey.
Until next time,
(P.S. For anyone interested in listening to that sermon, you might be able to find it here)