While the first week had a lot of things other than just the solitude outing (like an adventure day with hiking, crossing rivers on ropes, and things like that, plus the long drive back to Livingstone), my time in solitude is all I’m going to talk about in this update because it was so refreshing and so full of absolute life!
We spent two days in time with the Lord to reflect on our time in Zambia and it was wonderful. God gave me a list of things He wanted to cover with me in this time and the first thing was to go back and write down every word, picture, and prayer given to me for this trip. I went back and listened to send-off prayers I had recorded and went through old journals and ended up finding 76 different prayers. My next task? To go through each one and write out in detail how He answered it in this time, and if I couldn’t come up with the answer, then I was not to give up and say “He just hasn’t answered this one”, but I was to wait on Him until He showed me how He answered every single one. So, 76 prayers later, sure enough He was right. Seeing what He was up to really helped me to make sense of my time here. I will give you a couple of the highlights:
- Refined vision and narrowed gaze to my call
- (See later in blog how this answer is described!)
- Supernatural ability to trust and confidence in His name
- Basically the whole thing I was learning for the entire trip! I grew in this in enormous ways.
- Image: me as a giraffe with a really long neck and a head way above that can reach fruit and trees that other animals can’t. Also can see above problems and set backs, with greater vision, and can reach up for more of Him and taste and see more of Him.
- This has felt completely accurate this whole trip. I often was on a completely different plane as the rest of my group, even the leaders. When everyone else would be learning something or growing in something, I was basically off in the corner just connecting with the Lord. I had a hard time connecting with what they were all doing because the Lord was doing entirely different things in me, which was making me see things within the group and within what we were learning that weren’t as much in line with His heart. A lot of times it was a remarkably frustrating thing for me, but I should’ve seen it for what it was—a gift!
- flip of perspective where the enemy has twisted different areas and things in my life, God’s going to continue just to flip that perspective and teach me how to do that, even just mentally.
- Yes! Perspectives, especially of my community and family and friends at home have completely changed. Even characteristics of myself have had a flip of perspective. I think my view of myself has changed tremendously on this trip for the good, even through difficulties and trials. Even in seeing my sin and how I can grow rather than shying away and keeping a victim attitude about everything. I’m so excited to see this flip of perspective play out when I’m back home!
- Teach Brooke, like You taught Paul, the secret of being content…
- You’ve seen in the other blogs, contentment has been a HUGE theme of this trip. I’m learned and grown in this area so much. I don’t know if I can claim, yet, knowing the secret like Paul did, but I can claim that I have it in ways I never have before, and that alone is a huge answer to this prayer!
- That trials and challenges wouldn’t hinder my relationship with the Lord and that there would be open communication
- This was a big one! Previously in my walk with God, if there were a LOT of trials/challenges, I’d get mad to the point of almost not wanting anything to do with Him anymore. This trip was filled with the most trials and challenges in a small stretch of time yet and I never got to this point. I was frustrated for sure, but it was still centered on a love and devotion to Him that made it all worth it (even if you would never hear me saying that). There was open communication between Him and I the entire time as soon as I asked Him for it and it was the only way I was able to even get through the challenges.
- More courage and more saying yes to adventures with You
- Also the story of this trip…
- Grow in dependency, lean on You for every ounce of strength, energy, joy, word, and realize her utter dependence on You.
- This became my prayer every day, almost every hour, for the trip. I had to ask for all of these things continuously and they were continuously given to me.
- He shows her how mighty He is to protect her heart, to be the one standing when she cannot, and that He’s a mighty warrior for her and with her.
- Once again, this was something that was daily revealed to me and something I learned to cling to.
- You are called to be royalty so go explore your Daddy’s kingdom and share the call to royalty with others.
- Yes! This was also a centering thing for me as I explored my Father’s kingdom. It was incredible to see so many new things and I’m not sure what it’s going to be like to go back to things I am used to. It was also so exciting that the “call to royalty” was something I did end up sharing with a lot of people, specifically!
- Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned.”
- Does this one need explaining? Amen and Amen.
Oh, and something I realized after praying through these things… the exact number of days I will have been away from home? 76.
After this time, He also reassured me of all of the confidence and direction He gave me for my life over this time. It was amazing to look back and see how much I have grown in just three months in understanding who I am and who He has called me to be. It makes the future so much more exciting! I feel confident that what I am walking into is exactly what He wants me to be doing in this time: living in Holland and working as an Robotics Controls Engineer, still eventually pursuing Entertainment Engineering (Seriously, what a fun mission field!!!!) and in the meantime, living in our creative community house where together we pursue the Lord and grow deeper together in creativity and inviting others into the fun. I feel confident that I am supposed to continue growing in the spiritual gift of prophecy and that that is something He wants to use mightily in me. As I’m learning, I’m also supposed to share, because my heart that all His sons and daughters would know who they are and would know that they can hear is voice is a passion that He put inside of me for a reason. I’m so expectant of this time and so positive the Lord has great things for it. All of this confidence in three months? I’ll take it!
Finally, the last big highlight of the solitude outing came with dreaming with God about our creative community house and then coming to this realization about life back at home:
“Here in Zambia, I’ve been brought to a place of understanding that I can’t do anything alone. This was often my heart’s cry, even more than daily (Abba, Help me! I CAN’T do it without You). I’ve been so excited and ready to be back home, but I think it’s important for me to realize, first, that I can’t do it on my own any better at home than I could here. It’s just a heck of a lot easier to pretend that I can. I still need to count on Him for everything… for provision, protection, guidance, affirmation, direction, intervention, strength, joy, peace, etc. Even in Holland, MI, surrounded by a beautiful community that loves You and even while pursuing my deepest passions, I can’t do it alone. I’ve pretended that I could and no wonder, so often have fallen short. I don’t want to try to do that anymore. Abba, Father, I’m in it with you. If I would be doing it alone, then I would rather stay here (as hard as those words are coming out of my mouth) where it’s obvious how desperate I am for you every minute of the day. But right now, I commit to doing it with you. Remind me often of who you are and of what you wish to do in my life, the role you wish to have, and help me to surrender my life daily at your feet. It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. Let’s do this together, Poppa. I’m so excited for this life with you. I know you have good and difficult and beautiful things in store and I’m ready for it all. Teach me to always walk in your ways. I’m not going to pretend that walking in my own is a good idea, anymore. I want to stay desperate for you.”
Week Eleven was a beautiful a refreshing one. We returned back to our base in Livingstone and, as if we all didn’t already know, we realized even more how much that place had become a home. We then packed up again to spend two nights in a hotel—a little bit of Zambian luxury while we debriefed together on our summer. In this time we also got to go on a game drive (safari) and spend lots of time celebrating together. Finally, when we returned to base we had our graduation ceremony, filled with lots of goodbyes for Lillian and I because we left for the U.S. the next morning. A lot of what I learned in week eleven is going to come up in every post I write after this, so I didn’t feel the need to expand on it now. 😉
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brooke Jeries • 2015 International Immersion Intern