These past three months in Amsterdam have flown by before my eyes. I have grown close to many people here from around the world only to say bye to them all this week. I was at first reluctant to come to Amsterdam to serve in the school for this very reason. I knew I would again be leaving another place I could call home.
Transitioning in and out of people’s lives for the past few years since being in YWAM has definitely been challenging for me. These short seasons outside my comfort zone have grown me in many ways and I know that it has been God’s best for me personally, although I know God also calls people to stay where they are. I have also loved meeting so many different people and having cross-cultural experiences and seeing the world, but I have also longed to call some place a “home” where I can establish roots and not say bye every few months. Although I have an awesome family and amazing friends back in northern Virginia, I do not believe it is where I’ll end up long term. So my heart has been very much longing for a more permanent community.
Then it hit me the other day. While of course I would love to have a place of my own, what I’ve actually been desiring most is a sense of belonging and identity. I know that my surroundings and community can help with that, but unless I find it first and primarily in God, then my surroundings – no matter where I am and who I am around – will never be enough.
A home is exactly what God has given me over the past few years and has given me more of since being in Amsterdam. In this past season of staffing the Foundations for Counseling Ministry school and re-reading one of my favorite books From Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship, I have gained a deeper sense of acceptance and intimacy with my Father in heaven, and this has helped me overcome loneliness. As I have listened to Him speak to me throughout the day, I have heard Him say:
I will never abandon you.
People may love you for what you do and how you look and how well you perform, but I love you for who you are.
I fully accept your heart.
I delight in you always.
I will never abandon you.
I can always find a home in the Father. No matter what sin I still find myself battling, He is always there to help me and He always fully accepts me because of Jesus’ final work on the cross. Jesus has and is still fulfilling His promise to me!
Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”
“Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
I’m still not 100% sure where I will end up next year and what I’ll be doing. I know I will be in Tahiti for a couple of months next year on another full-time mission, and then afterwards I would like to enter into the marketplace again and settle somewhere at least semi-permanently. But I have learned to keep my plans open to God and allow Him to convince me of His ways rather than my own, so I cannot fully say for sure what I’ll do or where I’ll be.
But no matter where I end up, I have chosen to partner with God and make His mission my own mission: to reconcile the world to Himself. I want to point both believers and non-believers toward the amazing sufficiency and fulfillment of the Father’s personal and intimate love so that no matter where people are at or what hardship they find themselves in, they can find the comfort, protection and guidance they need in Him.
[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by Him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things,
and by Him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have
first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.