Posts by katiebaldwin

True Identity

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016 0 comments on “True Identity”

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

And as Elijah confesses his fear, God calls him back to his true identity.

During my time with the Elijah Experience (EXP), I can identify a lot with Elijah in this story. For so much of my past, I have been controlled by fear. Although I have been in relationship with God in the past, my choices often reflected my fears.

In the beginning part of the summer, God reminded me that the core of my identity is in being His beloved. He freed me from shame I hadn’t recognized that I had. In Lesotho, He called me out on deep parts of my identity that I need to surrender – parts of my identity that are rooted in fear.

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Throughout this summer/winter, God has been calling me out of fear and to the identity He intends for me. Just as the falls can change so drastically in three months yet still in essence remain the same, so God is doing with my soul. As God calls Elijah out of fear, He calls him into relationship and into mission. My perspective change has shown me parts of my identity and life choices that are not in line with God’s heart. As intimidating as it can be to return to the States and the familiar setting of my old habits, it is also exciting because God has promised to give me the bravery to follow through with my decisions and to pour down an overflowing blessing when I choose to follow His heart despite opposition.

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Many people probably have the question: “are you glad you did the Elijah Experience?” Without a doubt. It has probably been the most spiritually challenging time of my life yet, but challenge brings growth. It has not been the growth I was expecting going into this, but it is exactly the growth God had planned for me from the beginning of this. Thankfully, His wisdom is so much better than mine.

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KatherineBaldwin ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Baldwin • 2016 International Immersion Intern


August 3rd, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016 0 comments on “Beloved”

The past few weeks during Beat the Drum and outreach have been sort of like starting an excavation project. God has been shifting my center of identity. As I discover what it means to center my identity in being His beloved, He is slowly revealing different facets of what that looks like.

For most of my life, I have grounded my identity in what I do: academic success, musical performance, the quality of my character. Finding the center of my identity as God’s beloved completely shifts the focus of my identity from doing to being. What I achieve and how I act are still part of me, but they should not be the definition of who I am or of my worth. Throughout Beat the Drum and outreach, I have been exploring what this new identity entails.

During Beat the Drum, I ironically learned about what it means to live in God’s grace in the midst of judgment. Whether the judgment was actually there or just perceived, God taught me that as His beloved, I should not compare myself to others or let them pull me into comparison. As people shared their stories, it was amazing to see how vast God’s grace is. While I feel the grace God has shown me, my story is not nearly as drastic or impressive-sounding as those of many of the people who shared. I also had people come up to me and criticize the way I pray and walk with God. Throughout all of this, God encouraged me to lean into Him and trust that my relationship with Him is personal and does not need to look like others’.

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It was also amazing to get to work with the girls at the high school. I have always loved working with teens, but getting to talk with these girls in this setting reminded me that I do not have to wait to be a teacher to interact with teens. While reading Henri Nouwen’s book, Life of the Beloved, he writes about how as we discover our own belovedness, we long to reveal to other people their own belovedness. Hearing about the deep brokenness in these girls’ lives made me long for them to see themselves as God sees them, not as they are told to see themselves by media and peers. No matter what I do after I graduate university, I want to be more intentional with taking time to mentor girls who are younger than me, possibly before finishing university as well.

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After the noise and people and activities of Beat the Drum, going to Lesotho was a breath of fresh air, figuratively and literally. Hiking in the mountains with a fresh winter breeze and looking out over the village made room for long-awaited peace. While Beat the Drum helped me lean into God in the midst of tension, Lesotho gave me to space to fall before Him. While we were busy in the community during the day, it was a blessing to be able to go out at dusk and speak with God one on one in the silence (Kayla, thanks for letting me use your wool blanket).

In the fresh air and silence, God revealed to me many ways in which I still need to surrender. Clinging to control is so pervasive in my personality and my past, I needed time and space to finally listen to God reveal the deep brokenness that He says it is time to heal. As the summer/winter continues, I look forward to seeing how God will continue to challenge my views of Him and of myself and pull me deeper into my identity as His beloved.

KatherineBaldwin ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Baldwin • 2016 International Immersion Intern

Contentment with Uncertainty

June 29th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016 0 comments on “Contentment with Uncertainty”

My experience so far is difficult to articulate. I think the best way to describe it is that it is a paradox. It has been draining and refreshing, peaceful and uncertain. Without a doubt, I am thankful that I am here and would not want to be spending my summer any other way.
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God has been challenging me so much, especially in my trust in Him. I have always liked having control, so it has been helpful for me to be in so many situations where I do not have control. From the very first day, they taught us to expect the unexpected. Our first morning here, we were woken up at 3:30 with banging pans and told that we had half an hour to pack for a week without asking questions. For the next few days, they did not tell us anything we were doing until we were doing it.

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Since then, there has been more structure, but I have definitely learned to not to expect anything too firmly. Although having so little control is disconcerting for me, it is also refreshing. Sometimes back home I have my life scheduled to five-minute increments, so not having schedules that specific is really nice. Here I can just assume that whether or not something happens as expected, everything will still turn out okay.

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I have also been challenged to trust God more with my future. Before I came here, I was hoping that God would confirm how He wants to use my future, but He’s been showing me that it’s not that simple. Although I have no idea what will happen, God’s been helping me grow more content in trusting that He will lead me where He wants me in His own time.

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Being more content with the present and the future has filled me with peace. While I have been growing in this area, God has been continuing to reveal areas of weakness in my faith. This has been simultaneously tiring and good. I look forward to seeing how God will continue to challenge me to grow throughout the summer.

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KatherineBaldwin ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Baldwin • 2016 International Immersion Intern