At 30,000 feet my head finally felt clear. This was an abnormal feeling for my introverted self. I was surrounded by people, closely squeezed in on a Boeing 747, and yet I felt at peace. Looking through the little glass window brought a smile to my face. I inhaled and exhaled slowly and fully. As I thought back over the last few months, and dreamed of what was to come, I was in awe. I never would have thought that my life would be like this. I had never really known what exactly I wanted to do with myself, but this definitely exceeded my expectations.
I was flying high above the puffy white clouds and headed to Mexico. I had never left the country before. Goodness, I had never even left the West Coast before. But here I was, on a two month journey across the border. The unknown was present and daunting.
Up to this point my life had been a mess of broken emotions and frustrations. I grew up in a Christian home and knew God and all the rules of do’s and don’t’s that come with it. But I didn’t KNOW Him. I constantly struggled with not being good enough. I believed I was a failure, and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Compared to everyone else, my list of mistakes seemed much shorter. I had never been drunk, didn’t touch any sort of drug, didn’t mess around with guys, obeyed my parents, and yet I still wasn’t satisfied. I still didn’t feel like I was good enough. I still sat on my bedroom floor and cried for hours. I still didn’t feel God near to me. I never doubted that He was out there, but I believed I had to earn it for Him to be near to me. I just couldn’t do it.
This pattern of life hung onto me as I began DTS. I knew I was weak; I knew I was insecure. I was frustrated and desperate for answers. I knew there had to be more to my relationship with God. There had to be, right? I was on the edge of revelation, either good or bad. Looking back I can see that what happened in those five months truly changed my life for the better.
About halfway through our lecture phase it came to the point where I finally had to make a choice. I had wrestled with God and the truth He spoke about my identity for too long . I wrestled with the idea that I didn’t have to earn God’s love. People would praise me and I would brush it off, unwilling to believe I had worth. And then one day, it clicked. I realized that I could either continue this life that I was living, and believe my own truth, or I could say enough and begin walking in God’s truth. It sounds so simple and easy, but when you live your life a certain way for twenty years, it makes it hard to break the habit. On that day I chose to no longer believe the lies that had surrounded me for so long. I decided to close my ears off to the lies that had been whispered into me for so many years; lies of condemnation, shame, and lies about never being good enough. I took a stand and chose to believe what God had spoken to me, that I am His beloved child wanted and desired because of who I am, not because of what I do.
My life will never be the same.
Our two months in Mexico wrecked me even more. This trip was nothing like I thought it would be, but nonetheless God did an incredible work. My wounds from my past were still fresh, my heart still tender, but God held me close and didn’t let me go. For the first time in my life I understood that God is my Father; He is my daddy and I am His little girl. I didn’t have to work for it, I didn’t have to earn it or convince Him to give His love to me. It had been there the whole time, waiting for me to accept it. On that ordinary day I said no to the lies and burdens I had carried for so long and took hold of the love that God was giving me. I didn’t realize then just how much that decision would change my life.
Don’t get me wrong, this journey hasn’t ended yet. Every day I still have to remind myself of this truth and the decision I made. I still don’t understand everything, and I still have many struggles. But when I remind myself of everything that happened in DTS I remember that I am a different woman because of it. I remember that I have to choose HIM. Every day He says, “You are my beloved child.” When the world tries to take me under, I can rest in the secure embrace of my father. His freedom, healing and love wash over me in ways I’ve never experienced before. It’s been a hard, tough journey, but it’s been the best one I’ve ever been on.