Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SEASONS - endings lead to new beginnings

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tell us, "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven:...

Summer of 2003 while on mission trip to Mexico I was handing out tickets in Elsol, Mexico and God opened my eyes to a simple life style and called me to follow Him.

After much prayer and final confirmation from my sister, who i might add left me hanging after several conservations, I decided to end my 9 year teaching career and leave family & friends to follow Christ.

Fall of 2004 I found myself New Haven, CT attending a YWAM School of Christ DTS.
YWAM calls a DTS disciple training school. It did not take me long to figure out it was actually a Dying To Self school!!

During that school I encountered Christ in a way I had never encountered Him. I began to want to know His ways and not just His acts. There is a big difference. Think about it.

The first week I had to be transparent about my life and stuff from my past that I had not shared with many people in a room full of strangers. It was the only way for Him to heal all the "junk in my trunk" from my past. Some of those strangers in the room that day have become close friends and have journeyed with me faithfully the past three years. They know all about me, "all my deep dark secrets," and have not judged me only loved me. Thanks friends!

The first few weeks I felt as though God had literally ripped my heart out and was showing me wounds and scars. Not all the hurts had healed correctly and so He had to open up some wounds that I had closed. It was painful, but freeing. I begin to trust Him and certain people who would not let me "run away"!

I heard Him tell me one day, "It is finished." Jesus says this in John 19:30 right before He gives up His Spirit. It was a freeing day to realize all the sin, hurt, and disappointment from my past,
present, and future was finished that day on the cross. Talk about defining moment in my life.

It was a time of encountering Christ and in encountering Him seeing myself and in seeing myself
learning to die to myself and in dying to myself learning to live.

It was a time of tearing down all the walls I had built around my heart and having them torn down one by one by God and the people I was in the school with.

It was a time of letting go of unhealthy relationships and discovering healthy relationships.

It was a time that I began to "WAR" for family and friends in a little room in the back. God called me to intercession. It was there I realized my heart burned for the twenty-something generation and to see them encounter Christ.

It was also the beginning of a long awaited journey Home to a Father who has been waiting patiently for His beloved, pure, beautiful, joyful, laughing, delightful daughter Kathryn Janice Richard. I am being led Home by His Son and in being led by Him learning to accept His love.

January of 2005 found me on a plane to India, which would become my home for the next five months. It would also be an extended DTS in the mask of "outreach" and PCYM (principle of child and youth ministry). Let me remind you I taught school for nine years and worked with youth and young adults at my church. I was not there for the curriculum.

At times if felt I was in the "belly of the whale", but it was just the smells of India and some major stinky character traits God wanted to strip me of.

The first was Him showing me that for a while before my DTS I had been like "pissed off" Martha in the kitchen. I realized I had invited Him into my home (heart) only to get distracted by all the things that needed to get done on my to do list for Him and was mad and judging the ones who chosen Him and hanging out when all this "stuff" needed to get done. What a life changing revelation. I asked for His forgiveness and decided that day and every day since to be like Mary and sit at His feet, knowing those times can never be taken from me. It is written in my bible and dated.

I also learned that for most of my life i had learned to survive and not live. John 10:10 Jesus says, "...I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full." This was after having the longest conservation I had had with my sister in a few months. I was deeply convicted and ask Jesus to forgive me for not living. He had come so that i might live. He had lived so that I might live. He had suffered so I might live. He had died that I might live. I was so sorry for all the times I had dishonored Him by not living. I decided to embrace each day and live each day.

I learned the simplicity of God's call and it is not to "save" people, only He can do that. It is simply to love them. I learned this from a little boy I met in Calcutta, India. His name is Chiddee. I saw him sitting near our stuff and went and sat by him and he crawled into my lap. I reached down to touch His cheek and he slapped my hand. Then opened his mouth and showed me his rotting teeth. I thought to myself why God as I sat there and then I thought what do we do about it. He said, "You are doing it. Just hold him and love him that is all I ask you to do." That is easy I thought. My new little friend stole my heart as did a lot of the kids and people I met during my time there.

I got to attend a prayer service the Sisters of Charity attend daily at the place where Mother Teresa lived and worked. I also got to talk with one of the Sisters and it was AMAZING!! I began to wonder what a life devoted to Christ truly looked like.

June of 2005 I was back home and could breathe again Spiritually. I was also experiencing a bit of culture shock. It was during that time that I discovered what a life devoted to Christ truly looked liked. Thanks to my friend Martin who God used to help get me through PCYM in Calcutta. Martin turned me on to Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest and as soon as I got home I bought his book. It is a daily devotion. June 19 O.C. says, " many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat. The secret of a disciple's life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of the life is its unobtrusiveness. It is like a corn of wheat, which falls into the ground and dies, but presently it will spring up and alter the whole landscape. (John 12:24)"

You see a life devoted to Christ is simply that, being devoted to Christ and not a cause. When I devote my whole life to Christ and knowing Him and being know by Him, then and only then can I make Him known. That is what a life devoted to Christ looks like and then the causes just happen.

September of 2005 to June of 2007 I have worked with YWAM/Axiom New Haven. If you are wondering axiom means a self evident, indisputable truth... I have staffed two Schools of Christ DTS and two Forums. My passion has become Christ and my mission is to disciple a generation to reach the nations. I find myself truly alive while praying, while trying to just be a woman with my Lord, and while having conservations with twenty-something's about their journey with Christ. Words can not describe what goes on inside of me. It is a knowing that this is what I was created to do and when given the chance to do it I am worshiping my Father in Spirit and truth.

I have met some amazing people during that time. I realized a while back that I will be 40 in a few years and some of my closest friends will still be in their 20's. I love God's sense of humor. I must say I have learned a lot from them and been challenged!

I have also gotten to travel to Africa, where i met some more amazing people and got to "Love as Chist love His own in John 13:1-5 a dear prayer warrior name Exhilda. I also got to see Victoria Falls and bunji jump there. I went back to India. There are lots of stories I could tell and have told, but I think this blog is long enough.

I shared all of the above, because I am coming to the end of my time here in New Haven, a city I have come to love and the end of my time working with YWAM. It is a bitter sweet ending. I am most thankful for all that God has done in my life here and for all the amazing people I have gotten to meet along my journey from all over the world. Some who are still a part of my journey Home and will be for a long time.

As the journey HOME continues i will keep you posted.