joy soaked words

finding my way

Month: March, 2017

Mountains, Jesus and a whole lot of laughter

My title sums up my past week basically. We packed up our bags (I over packed by far) hopped on a bus and headed to the mountains of Durango, Mexico to spend the week camping as a DTS. Coming from a warm beachy place, the pine trees and cold air was a nice welcome. Cold. And I mean cold. We spent the week with a fantastic teacher on fear of the Lord. Super convicting topic. God really began to work on the deepest parts of my heart, the most hidden parts. We serve a very gentle God, one who doesn’t push but instead loves to just love.

Monday was my 19th Birthday. Back home, I would have gone out for drinks with friends, hung out, typical 19th Birthday. Here, I climbed (and slipped a lot) up a mountain, where I spent the next two hours soaking in Jesus’s love and presence. I spent the day growing in my relationship with God. I spent my day with some of my best friends. People who are very dear to my heart. My most favorite birthday of all. If you really know me, you know that I love my birthday. (Little secret about me if ya didn’t know)

I am so thankful. For a lot of stuff that God is doing in my life. He is giving me a lot of joy. More joy then I know what to do with most of the time. I am thankful for my Chile outreach team (If you guys are reading this, shout out to you guys. Love you all, can’t wait to spend the next 5 weeks together) I am incredibly thankful for the staff team that is leading my DTS, you guys rock. I am so thankful for deep friendships and mocha cake. I am thankful for the love and faithfulness of Jesus. I am thankful for this life that I get to live. I am thankful for crazy taxi rides (ask me about this one) and wild adventures.

A lot of the time I can’t believe that in two very short weeks, I will be saying goodbye to a lot of my close friends here, jumping on a plane with 15 other crazy awesome people and flying into Chile. A lot of the time, I have to pinch myself to remind myself that I am even here in Mexico. It all seems like a dream, God is so good. I love to watch him provide. His timing is always perfect. Always beautiful. People are receiving donations, money is coming in. We still need your financial help, but most of all we need your prayer support.

*** I will be using this blog to keep you updated though my time in Chile (Wifi willing).

Extra tight hugs + lotsa blessings,

Nat

Wondrous? You could say that.

If somebody was to ask me how life is, I would say splendid (I just really like that word), but in the same breath I would say messy. God is doing so much in my life, and in a way I don’t know how to react to everything that he is doing. YWAM is beautiful, in such a soul changing way. God gets down to the core of your heart, where mine was most guarded and is beginning to change me from the inside out.

Life here is wondrous (Definition: To be marveled at). I know that I talk about how good everything here every blog post, but the joy of being here is just bubbling out of my heart and I have to write it down somewhere.

I never knew that goodbyes would be so hard. Back home, I cried only in the airport saying goodbye to my family. Here, when somebody leaves, a piece of my tender heart goes with them. Knowing I might not see them for 5, 10 years, or never again hurts like nothing has ever hurt before. It has to be the worst feeling in the world, to wake up and not say good morning to them. To not see their smiling faces and joy every time you step into the same room as them. Kenz, you know I am talking about you gal. I really miss you.

Monday, we are heading out for a 4 hour drive to Durango Mexico, where we will be camping as a DTS. Monday is also my birthday, so how cool is it that I get to spend my 19th birthday in the mountains of Mexico? Never thought I would ever be doing that. This camping trip is coming at the perfect timing, the base was filled filled with 70 high schoolers on a service trip, talk about a lot of people. On the topic of high schoolers, I got asked to share my testimony and a bit about why i came to YWAM to these high schoolers. I got up there, and started to pour my heart out to them, told them about my past and how good God is. How life changing this experience is for me. How worth it a gap year is. How awesome YWAM is. Then we all headed down to the beach to have a time of worship. Let me tell you that God started stirring in the hearts of those young people. There was people giving their hearts over to God and people were getting baptized. There was healing. There was so much joy in that place. In in the beginning of them being here, I really didn’t want them to be here, loud rowdy teenagers who just care about snuggling with their girlfriends all the freaking time. After a conversation with one of them, it became very evident that they were here for a specific reason. That God had brought them here. She told me that she knew who God was, but had never felt him before. She didn’t understand his love. She told me how since getting here, God was beginning to feel real to her. This hit me like a brick. Those kids were only here for one week, but that didn’t mean that we couldn’t reach out to them. Tell them about Jesus. Love on them like we are called to do. My perspective on them really changed after my conversation with that girl.

Outreach plans are beginning to come together, we have had two team meetings now. I am super excited about how God is going to use our team, its been awesome getting to know them more. I will let you know more details as I know them, it’s all pretty up in the air right now.

Just a bit into what’s going on here, I could write for days about what God is doing in my heart, but I won’t bore you with the details.

Blessings +  hugs,

Nat

INTIMACY

This week has completely wrecked me. In such a good way. Does that make sense to you guys? I couldn’t be happier, because Jesus has become real to me. He has become so real to me. So real. Like holy crap nug we serve a God who loves to be personal. He desires to be so personal with us.

This past week was on intimacy with God. Going into this week, I was feeling good about it all. I wasn’t worried, I thought that I knew what it meant to be in relationship. To serve God. Boy, was I in for a surprise. God has completely changed my views. He has proven to me that he wants to actually talk with me. He cares about how my day is, what is going on in my life. He actually cares. Can you believe this? He actually wants to know!

Our teacher is a police officer from New Zealand, he has some incredible stories about God’s faithfulness. At the beginning of this week, I was feeling pretty stubborn about my relationship with God. I thought that I was in a good place with my relationship with him. I am just being straight up honest with you guys, I thought I was doing okay. That’s when Jesus steps in and says “Natalie, you do not know what it means to be in true relationship with me. You do not know intimacy with me. Let me show you. I desire to show you. I love you more then you will ever know Natalie.” As the week progressed, my walls were torn down. I was beginning to see a side of Jesus that I didn’t know existed. A side that showed more love then I knew what to do with. A playful side. A side that actually wanted to know how I was doing. Mind = Blown.

Thursday, he was teaching on how you can ask God a question and he will respond. I asked God the question, What are you trying to show me God? I asked him this question 20 minutes into class. (Class is 2 hours) I put my pen to paper and God took over. I wrote for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Non stop. My hand was aching, but God had more to say. More then my hand could actually handle, I stopped because my hand was aching so much. I have a blister to prove it. 8 pages front and back. I start reading, letting his words wash over me. Words that spoke directly to my thirsty soul. That were straight from God’s heart to mine. Beautiful words that spoke of his love for me. We serve such a personal loving God.

As lecture phase begins to wrap up, and outreach meetings and fundraising begins to happen, I am reflecting back on these past 8 weeks. Life changing. Growing. Crying. A whole lot of crying. “Heart Surgery.” Friendships. Cake. More time was spent eating cake then crying I think actually. There was a whole lot of Nutella consumed. There was laughter. There was joy. There was Jesus, in the midst of it all. Gently reminding us of his love. Providing his peace at all times.

This has been one wild, life changing week. A week that is just another  piece of my journey with Jesus. I can’t wait for more. I am so thankful for absolutely every little thing that he has done in my life. Keep it up Jesus, we want more of you.

Hugs + Blessings,

Nat

Blown away by HIM.

Good does not even begin to describe God. We can sing over and over that he is a good good father, but that does not even begin to describe how good God is. How faithful he is. How loving he is. How beautiful he is. We as human beings can not even begin to understand how good he is. We do not have words to describe how beyond awesome he is. To me, that is simply beautiful, that we can not put God in a box of words that describe him, because he is so much more then that.

It has been a crazy two weeks. Insane two weeks. Jesus filled two weeks. Praise filled two weeks. Prayer filled two weeks. People filled two weeks.

The past two weeks (in case you are wondering) were Carnaval, the 3rd biggest Mardi Gras party in the world. There was a lot of people. (I am not kidding about the amount of people) As a YWAM base, we split into groups, Women’s ministry, Inside and outside Evangelism, Cafe, Art and Children’s to name a few. I joined woman’s ministry, and I am so glad that I did. We had meetings and prayed about what we were meant to do. The first night, we fueled up on caffeine and Jesus and headed out. Our leader had asked us to stay outside the gates, but she also told us that if God was telling us to do something, it was okay to break the rules for God. So in the case, we headed in. We poured out God’s love on people who had never felt it before, we prayed for people. We shared our stories and heard theirs. We didn’t get to bed till 2 am, and I had so much energy. A week ago, you couldn’t have asked me to evangelize, I always froze because of fear. God is faithful right? He set me free. The second night, we brought mirrors and posters that read (In spanish) want to see something incredible? We covered up the mirrors with the posters, and when people said yes, we uncovered the mirrors and they realized that they were staring at themselves. We then began to ask them about Jesus, and tell them that he died on the cross for them. That he thinks of them as simply incredible. The next night, we all went back in. The worship team had a chance to play on one of the biggest stages inside Carnaval. What a crazy experience. We created a tunnel, and as people ran though we prayed for them. We reached out to people. There was an alter call and people accepted Christ. People were drawn to the area because of the music, and we were able to pray for them. The next night, we felt as a team that we were meant to give roses to women, prostitutes especially. We headed to a place where we had heard that there was prostitutes. Guess what? No prostitutes. In YWAM, we are flexible right? We prayed and decided to head to Plaza Machado, an square with a stage and lots of restaurants. I grabbed a translator and headed into the mass of people. I gave roses to people and told them how beautiful they were. How beautiful God thought they were, because he created them in his image. The last day there is a parade. We created signs that said “ask me what I am free from.” We walked down the street and asked people if we could pray for them. There was a young mom who we stopped to talk to, and there was two other young couples who leaned in to listen to what we had to say. One of the girls on my team shared her testimony of being set free from depression. She began to talk to the young mom, and the other girls and I began to talk to the other couples. We asked them if they wanted to accept Christ, to have eternal life. To have freedom. The boy from the first couple said yes, and the other couple said yes. PRAISE GOD. We prayed with them, and lead them to accept Christ. We walked away from Carnaval with fire in our hearts and praise on our lips. It was simply incredible. We start classes again on Monday, and we have had these past couple days off. I have spent them drinking lattes and eating cake. It has been so good, but I am ready to get back to routine. These two weeks have given me a little taste of what outreach will be like, and I can hardly wait. Bring it on Jesus.

Blessings + Hugs,

Nat