I can’t believe I’m done with the Chronological School of Biblical Studies! It was some of the toughest yet most beautiful nine months of my life. And now, I’m leaving that life and will be returning to northern Virginia for about two months before leaving for Amsterdam to complete YWAM’s Foundations for Counseling Ministry (which I started but didn’t complete in Kona) from Sept 17-March 7 2015.
Here are just a few ways that God has changed me during my CSBS:
1. I am more confident in my ability to understand and interpret the Bible, even the more difficult books and passages. Now, reading the Bible is anything but boring and obscure. It is actually life giving and exciting to read. It will still be a discipline to engage in Bible study after this school, but just like any discipline, I am now a believer that the rewards are far worth it.
2. Praying in faith is the only way to pray. I began praying with a friend here in faith that God would respond, and to our delight, God really did respond. Praying in accordance to His will by His Spirit with the expectation that God would come through is something that will never grow old!
3. God freed me of emptiness. Even after following God for six years I knew that I was carrying around pain that came from a hole in my soul which I couldn’t seem to fill. I remember crying out frequently to God during this school to fill that part of me. I wondered why He hadn’t yet filled me and if He ever would. And then, over time, as I continued to pursue Him, I realized one day that I no longer felt that pain. Experiencing the fullness of God was actually one of my goals coming to this school, and God came through! And the best part is that I know this is just the beginning of a life overflowing.
4. When I first came to the school, I was ridden with general anxiety. I was anxious in social situations. I was anxious about life. I was anxious and worried about pretty much everything. And then, through confession and prayer with others and continued study of God’s character, over time I realized this fear went away. I’m realizing that it really is possible to live a life free of worry and full of faith in God, even in the most difficult circumstances.
5. I really saw how God provided for me in every aspect of my life. Even small details that I had a hard time with, God wanted to help and He did help, either through sending me a person who could assist, giving me wisdom to figure it out, or just giving me His peace that it would be okay. I’m realizing that each day I don’t have to rely on myself or hope for the best – I can really get the best out of every situation just by asking God, who comes through both in the physical and spiritual.
6. God freed me to express negativity and disagreement, which I learned studying the Psalms (where King David always went to God with all of his feelings in faith that He would come through for him). I would naturally prefer that everyone was happy and everything was pleasant, but I realized I wasn’t living in the fear of God in this way. I would end up burying anything negative, which would end up coming up later in an unhealthy way (passive aggressiveness, exploding on people, etc). So now I’m okay with being negative at times and “rocking the boat,” because at least then I’m walking out of the sincerity of my heart. And I found that expressing these feelings, though at times uncomfortable, leads to a more peaceful life.
7. God has given me His heart to be a servant and to live my life completely for Him and His people. Some people are just naturally servant-hearted, but that wasn’t me until I studied particularly the life of the apostle Paul, who poured out his entire life for the sake of the love of Christ.
My life hasn’t turned out in the least bit in how I expected, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I would have never thought just a few years ago that doing this Bible course would turn out to be the greatest experience of my life so far. Apparently God’s plans for my life are bigger, grander and more fulfilling than my own.