Reason to Trust #33 [Amber]

Amber MillerAge: 27 // Favourite Food: Ice Cream (not the dainty girly serving size, but a massive, overflowing bowl) // Dream Job: I’ll let you know when I find it. // Current Season: Selling my home, quitting my job as a teacher, and going back to school…in another country. // Met Jesus: at age 7 in the front row of my then church. // Favourite Verse: Isaiah 54:10 – “For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, 
My love won’t walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart. The God who has compassion on you says so.” // Website: www.lifeinhigheels.com // Instagram: @aemiller16

Be still and know that I am God. ~ Psalm 46:10

We all know this verse. It is one of those verses you scribble on your notebook or you edit it into a beautiful picture of you lying on the beach while your tan body is glistening in the sun and your perfectly manicured toes are in the sand.

This verse is beautiful in theory, but allow me to tell you about how good I’m not at being still! Those who know me well, know I am incapable of being still-EVER.

If I am sitting: I am shaking my foot, leg or whole body (yeah, the person that shakes the whole row at church….that’s me!). If I am standing: I am rocking, twisting, or shaking my legs. I can’t even be still in bed! I am always twitching and rubbing my feet. And then there is my mind….I can analyze something 206 ways in approximately 2.2 seconds and I can twist and turn something that is no big deal into a massive problem.

So, whenever I see this verse or hear God whisper it to me, my first thought is usually  “No, God you have the wrong girl, remember it is impossible for me to be still…EVER! This verse is for someone else.” Well, God never seems to change his mind, but He has quite frequently changed my heart.

Lately, I have found myself in “still” boot camp.

Four weeks ago I left my quiet, comfortable life in West Virginia, USA to travel to Australia to attend Hillsong International Leadership College. With this decision came many big, and a bit scary, life changes. I had to resign from my position as a kindergarten teacher, sell my first home, find a temporary home for my only child (a 2 year old Shih Tzu), and prepare to say goodbye to my closest friends and family.

Along this journey I have asked God countless times: “What are you doing? Why are you taking me on this path? I have a good life. I am a good teacher. How am I going to afford this? Can I even do this?”

Though the questions seem to vary, His answer always seems to be the same – be still, and know that I am God.

It’s not easy for me to give up control and not have a plan B (you know, in case God’s plan A doesn’t come through). Since I have been here I have been reminded time and time again that with God there are no needs for plan B’s because God has a strategic and deliberate plan A for each of our lives.

A couple of days before I left my home I sat in my bedroom journalling and the thought hit me, that in that moment I was in a home filled with family that loved me and knew me well, but in just a few short days I was going to be in a house full of strangers.

I was so scared. What if I don’t find friends? What if I don’t fit in? What if I can’t handle college again? I took all these questions and concerns to God and just pleaded my case. Once again He asked me to just be still.

Now four weeks in I live with incredible housemates. I have a room in the house all to myself with a massive closet (this just proves how well God knows my heart).

I am not just making friends, but making friends with people from around the world. And already in just my second Sunday at Hillsong church I stood there among thousands of other people with tears in my eyes for almost the entire service. I was overwhelmed with a peace. I felt like I was home. I was still in His presence and KNEW He was going to be God every step of the way along this journey.

I still didn’t have all the answers to all my questions about this adventure, but despite the questions I know I am exactly where I am suppose to be in this season. Home.

 

 

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Reason to Trust #32 [Sarah]

Sarah SpenceAge:  30 // Favourite Food: Fish n Chips on the beach – when you are a long way away this tastes likes home – just rather difficult to find in Belgium (both the fish n chips and the beach!) // Dream Job:  Actually I’m just realising i am dong it now, raising my little family. // Current Season:  Living in Belgium with a ridiculously good looking man and our little dude Forest. // Met Jesus:  When I was three at Sunday School. // Favourite Verse:  Prov 3:5 – “Trust in The Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” // Instagram: @sarah_spence125

Three and a half years ago my husband and I were driving home after work and started talking about the next season and the possibility of taking a job over seas… which if you knew me at the time was a taboo subject, as I never wanted to travel, I loved New Zealand and knew it was home. However, this conversation was different, for some reason I had an unexplainable peace when we discussed and dreamed about the options that lay ahead of us.  Little did I know, that conversation would be the catalyst for me truly trusting the Lord with all my heart.

Shortly after this my husband received a job offer and we moved to Belgium.

A move that meant I was uprooted from all I had known – friends, family, church, culture, language…  all of which a lot of my trust and identity was found in.

I remember waking up the first morning in Belgium, my husband catching a taxi to work and me thinking, “Righto – what now…”

To be perfectly honest the first few months were hard work: No job, no friends, no church, no house and stuck in the middle of a country where I didn’t understand anything – but amidst the loneliness I knew I wasn’t alone.

In looking back over the last three years I haven’t had any sign in the sky or writing on the wall moment, but we have just walked through the doors that have open ahead of us trusting that the right ones open and the wrong ones close. 

Sometimes it is not until you look back that you can see the fingerprint of God on what you thought was just you living life.  The God orchestrated moments. The things you just take for granted. Let me share a couple of those moments…

I went out looking for places to live, which i must say was a scary experience!   The first real estate agent I turn up to, puts me in his car and we go driving around looking at places. I was on high alert as he swerved in and out of roads whilst yelling down his phone and throwing his arms in frustration.  Me sitting in the passenger seat, freaking thinking I don’t know this man, I don’t know what he is saying and I don’t know where I am. Needless to say I was happy to make it out alive.  

Next day I choose a different agency and we begin the search again, we get to the end of the day and nothing has jumped out at me but I am fed up and ready to just settle for anything.  She then casually mentions a place she thinks is up for rent which sounds like something I would like. Long story short, it was perfect, and to top it off, English speaking landlords (miracle in itself) who have become a family away from home, and now great baby-sitters. 🙂

It may seem like a small thing to some but for me finding this apartment was a little, “See – Trust Me darling girl,” moment.

The first 10 months I was jobless.  Going to endless interviews where the first question is, “What languages do you speak?” made my English only speaking CV seem inadequate.  However, amongst other little jobs, I got involved in volunteer work in Belgium while I waited for a successful interview.  

One day while setting up Christmas decorations in an elderly home I got talking to one of the other volunteers.  We got chatting away and the subject of jobs came up. I mentioned my dream job would be in Events Management but I was at the stage where I would happily sit in an office and do the filing!  As it turned out, his wife worked in events and was part of the hiring team.

One month later, I am sitting at a desk in an International (English speaking) Events Management company, which happened to be on the same street we live on.  I would have been satisfied with a job at Starbucks (I actually did apply for one) but instead I had a job in the industry I loved with people, who will now be life long friends.

From housing, to jobs, language, friends and more recently our baby boy,  I am learning to see God in the everyday, to hear him in the mundane and trust Him to navigate me through life.

x

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Reason to Trust #31 [Helen]

Helen BurnsAge: 58 // Favourite Food: My three weaknesses are cheese, chocolate and coffee. // Dream Job: The one I have… pastoring alongside my husband at Relate Church for the past 28 years  and traveling this beautiful globe teaching on Marriage, Family & relationships in many global churches. // Current Season: A season of exciting transitions – empowering new generations coming through and embracing new opportunities for the future. The best is yet to come – always! // Met Jesus: I always knew Jesus and loved him but made a solid commitment to His Lordship in my life when I was 22. // Favourite Verse: Proverbs 4:23 ‘ Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.’ // Website: www.relatechurch.ca // Instagram: @helenburns

I am forever grateful to God for the stunning promise He tucked into my heart in the midst of one of the scariest seasons of my life. It felt like a bomb went off and exploded into the very center of my seemingly idyllic family and everything that had felt safe and secure in my world was rocked to the core. I was praying desperate prayers and grasping for daylight in that night season and that is the place where God met me.

It happened early one morning as tears were streaming from my eyes and I was praying for my youngest grandson, who was 2 years old at the time, when his father left. My heart was broken as I thought of the challenges he could be facing in his future.

I had been reading from Exodus 2 about the miraculous story of Moses as a baby, and his brave mother Jochebed, who defied the Pharoah’s ordinance in order to save her baby boy from destruction. Instead of allowing him to be killed, she created a waterproof ‘ark’ for him and bravely placed him among the bulrushes in the Nile River. Though he would often be in harms way, Jochebed anchored her hope in God, trusting Him with her son’s life. Though everything didn’t go according to her plan, God made a way to safely and securely bring him into his destiny and life’s purpose.  I’m sure Jochebed could never have dreamed that her son would one day become one of God’s greatest leaders who was chosen to rescue the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt!

In those moments with God that day, He whispered hope into my heart as He spoke tender words of peace to me. He said, “Don’t be afraid  – I am holding your family and everything that is so very precious to you.  Anchor your heart to mine and know that I am holding you too.’

About four years have passed since that storm hit and though we still face intense turbulence at times, we have experienced an abiding peace that passes human knowledge and understanding because we have fastened our trust, our faith, our anchor to Jesus.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.

‘We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God…’ (Hebrews 6: 18-20 Message)

The dictionary defines an anchor as ‘a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; a mainstay’. An anchor is only useful when the ship is out upon the open waters, which are often tempestuous and dangerous, not when it is moored to a safe and sterile dock.

 Though storms will rage all around us, we don’t have to allow them to rage within us. We can’t stop them from coming, but we can decide how we choose to respond to them. By allowing God to be our anchor we can experience STABILITY, STRENGTH, PEACE and CALM in the craziest storms of life.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG)

I truly have a great confidence in God and so many reasons to trust.

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