One week today and we will be on a plane flying back to the UK. Naturally, the last few weeks have been a time for reflection on our time here, as well as the busyness of packing up for returning, while also planning for what is ahead.
It’s hard to succinctly summarise everything, partly as there’s a bigger personal story behind every point! But we’ll try to give an overview of what God has done in this year!
This year hasn’t been what I fully expected it to be, but it’s been what I needed it to be! About one month in to BSSM, we were asked to ask God to show us what He had for us this year; He showed me it was about healing and wholeness. I have lived much of my life feeling that I’m not good enough; believing that if I perform a bit better, I’ll be acceptable and therefore enough. This has affected every area of life, including how I’ve thought that God sees me. Of course, my head knowledge about what God says about me; that I’m accepted, loved, chosen has been great(!), but when I’ve stopped and taken off the mask, I realise that what I actually believed deep down was that he was disappointed with me, and that if I tried harder, He’d be pleased and maybe I’d feel His love more.
The process He’s taken me on has been fairly painful. I’ve cried a lot, learnt to sit with my Father God, pour out my heart, and hear what HE says over me. It’s been a journey of intimacy with my Papa, allowing His love to soften my heart and allowing my heart to come alive; I feel like I’ve seen the kindness and beauty of Jesus in a whole new light; enjoying being in His presence and getting fresh revelation of everything that He’s done for me. It’s also been about growing in vulnerability and allowing others in to my process; taking off the mask! I’m on a journey of learning to love myself and appreciate everything that God’s made me to be, and to really believe that I’m His daughter; not an orphan, where there’s never enough, but a daughter to the King, who has everything that I need, and there’s always an abundance!
Yes, this year has mostly been about getting myself in to a good place; am I where I want to be? No, but I’ve come a long way, and am excited to keep going on this journey towards freedom and true identity discovery! This is a great foundation for growing in leadership because we operate out of knowing who we are, and whose we are, rather than trying to perform in our own strength. I’m excited for second year; it’s going to be building on the foundations from this year, as we get stretched in leadership training & opportunities.
Something that you learn early on at BSSM is to trust the process, and that God has you in the right Revival group, and all other ministry activities that you apply for throughout the year. If you don’t, then that gives you something to process! We were placed in Marlene’s Revival Group, and the motto for the group was ‘V is for vulnerability’. If something is in the dark and hidden, then it has power, but when it is in the light it loses it’s power and hold. Vulnerability really involves us taking our masks off and letting people see the real us.
Arriving at BSSM I don’t think I truly appreciated how hard-hearted, performance-focused and generally exhausted I had become. My year has been a process of recognising how I worked for acceptance, performed because of guilt and shame, and just pushed down feelings of hurt and disappointment. My description of the year has been like God has been melting me. It’s been about restoration, and recognition of who God says I am, and celebrating how he has made me. There has been pain as I’ve processed the roots of issues, and freedom and joy as cycles of shame and guilt have been broken. Jesus died for us to be free, and there is no limit on that!
I truly believe that the year has been about restoration, healing and rest for me, and the whole family. The exciting part is looking to all that God has in store in second year, as we press in to Him. My capacity to love others and love God, is only as strong as my capacity to be loved by Him. Enjoying His presence and pursuing His presence has been a real delight throughout the year.
This time has been such a gift for our family. Yes, we’re in BSSM, but the boys have been in the Bethel School, which is like a mini BSSM! They have all grown in hearing God, knowing the truth about who He says they are, enjoying worship; like really worshipping their God(!), and they’ve all grown in confidence. We believe we’re investing in building a family legacy, that will shape the generations to follow…. how exciting is that?!?
In the UK
We fly back to the UK on the 10th June, arriving 11th June. We will be in the Bournemouth/Dorchester area for most of the time, with a two week visit to the Peak District in early July. We’ve been asked to feedback at Church in the Peak, Matlock on Sunday 7th July, so if anyone is in the area you are welcome to come. We are hoping that we can catch up with many of you during our time back in the UK.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
A few key points of thanks giving, news and prayer requests:
Thanksgiving is crucial and we thank God for:
All that he has done in our family this year.
Providing all that we have needed.
Knitting our hearts with many amazing new friends.
For our visa interviews on the 25th June. Although we’ve been accepted by BSSM, we need the US Government to give us a study visa. Please pray that we have all the finances and paperwork fully in place for the interview, and that we have favour with the interviewer.
Finances for second year. One of the glorious revelations this year has been how valuable we are to God, and that we are worth the investment! Pray for us as we continue to learn to trust our good Father to provide for all that we need. As Brits, we don’t like talking about money, but we are learning to be less independent and open about all areas of life! Our budget for the year is around £52,000, of which a big part of this is tuition fees for the whole family and rent. £20,000 is due by the end of July!
Justyn runs a booking system for various Christian events in UK. This has been a great provision for us. We ask for wisdom and favour on this as we look to connect with more clients.
If you would like to invest in our family, as we continue on this journey with God, please let us know!