This post is written by Hannah, one of staff members.
Have you graduated from high school, or college, or even an extensive season of your life such as a job or raising your children? Do you remember that heavy cloud over your head that left you in doubt about what will come next and where you’re meant to be? I remember so vividly reaching high school graduation and not feeling any peace or confidence to rush into college. As a result, I became the rare case of that time who took the doomed “gap-year”. The world around me questioned if I would ever move beyond my gap-year and go to college.
As friends went off to college and other parts of the world, I remained home as a full-time nanny. I had been surrounded by friends and community for many years that gave me awareness of life with Jesus and what that looks like, so I had become a really talented impressionist. What I lacked was the hope, freedom, and joy of having a genuine relationship with the Father as I invested my time in the nanny life.
I remember going through each day feeling empty and without purpose, headed in no specific direction.
Meanwhile, a best friend of mine had been experiencing the living God and found herself transformed while completing DTS (discipleship training school) and staffing in YWAM Worcester, South Africa. Although she continuously suggested to come taste and see this goodness, I had always disregarded the idea, concluding it as nearly impossible. Life had become redundant and my joy meter shot down to a new low, at times causing me to question what the purpose of living happened to be. On a quiet fall afternoon, I felt spontaneous and had the sudden urge to listen to my friend. I decided to contact the YWAM Worcester base to be a volunteer and I booked my flights.
God was sovereign and was working His own plan over my own selfish and unspiritual desires to escape home and take a trip to South Africa.
I had landed in South Africa as a volunteer at the YWAM base, and everything felt wrong. I was sick to my stomach with the deepest urge to run as fast as I could. My friend had still been leading an outreach team in Swaziland, and I felt all alone and afraid while all of the DTS students who had just arrived were living the dream. I knew something wasn’t right, and four days into this big change I had laid out in the field and personally cried out to God as a Father for the first time, pleading for help.
God heard my cry, and for the first time I heard His comforting voice in response.
I ran to the DTS leader and told her what God had spoken to me: to join the school. It all seemed absurd and impossible according to common sense, but everything felt right in my heart. At that time I didn’t understand how God could speak to His people in such a way. Now I look back and see His graciousness to speak to me where I should go when I was completely lost and broken. My eyes were finally opened to His love that was drawing me near. This blubbery conversation caused the unexpected response in my school leader of laughter, followed by an explanation that her, my friend, and many others had been praying for me to be able to learn of God’s love and be transformed by Him in the six month DTS.
A leap of faith into the unknown was the best trust fall I have ever taken.
The empty and lost cause that once found no purpose in life was falling head over heels in love with the Light of the world. Week after week, speaker after speaker, I was transformed and set free from so much darkness that weighed me down. God revealed His character to me and was so gracious as I got to know who He was as a complete child. To come to know such a love, all I could do was desire so deeply to tell all the world and grow in knowing Him more. After the journey of DTS, I didn’t want the knowledge or the actions, I wanted to be all-consumed and to walk in an every day relationship with the Lord.
YWAM offers a myriad of courses and programs that help followers grow deeper in knowing the Lord, and with my desire to grow after DTS I took advantage of the many options by studying the Bible in YWAM’s School of Biblical Studies. God’s living Word poured so much truth into me and continued God’s process of growing my foundation in Him. Although it was a trying journey that required a great amount of perseverance, I came out with complete confidence that following the Lord in complete trust is always worth it all.
Looking back at the days building up to graduation and who I was, I can do nothing but rejoice and stand in amazement that God was already with me and taking me where I needed to go, even when I didn’t fully know Him. You can rest assured that no matter what season of life you are in, the Lord goes before you and is pursuing you with plans to draw you near to Him. Keep seeking Him and trust that He will bring you where you need to go. Give Him your heart and your obedience, and rest in the freedom of following the good plans He has for your life.