Learning to Live LOVED – A Post from Breeana
Reflection written by our very own Breeana Hogman, about her journey and involvement with the Maui 2016 mission team.
It’s about to get real. Like, from the heart kind of real. And that, is scaring me.
I normally consider myself a pretty open and vulnerable person. You ask me how I am, and if I am able to stop and think for a second, you will know exactly how I am feeling after a 5-10 minute rant of what is happening in my life at present. I’ve even done that to a total stranger… So, this post shouldn’t be a problem for me. But, it is. For a few weeks I have been considering writing this up, but every time I seem to come up with some excuse or reason why it would be a bad idea. Like, no one would read it. Or, using social media as a platform to share some deep stuff is awkward and weird. Or, I should actually talk to people in person about what I’m about to share (which, I am doing, and would so love to do with anyone who wants to!). It came down to me just kicking myself in the butt and giving up my insecurities and fears and worries about what this looks like or how people will react, submitting it all to God. And now, as I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to write this I felt God say, “Just tell your story”. So, that’s exactly what I am going to do.
This past season has been tough. It all started during Christmas of last year. I had just finished my first semester of university and loved it. I was excited about where God had me and the people I was meeting and the things I was learning and the growth I was experiencing. I was honestly ecstatic! But for whatever reason over the winter break I became increasingly less excited, less hopeful, and less motivated. My relationship with God seemed to just all of a sudden become more distant and I began feeling more stressed and worried – feelings that are not strangers to me. It was frustrating and I was confused. What changed? What was I doing that was making this harder? Why am I all of a sudden so consumed with fear and worry about my future. What job would I have over the summer and what was I actually doing in the program I’m in and where the heck am I going with it? These thoughts began plaguing me. And then, my family got into some difficult and trying situations. My sister left for YWAM, (not trying for her, but for me it was!) which was/is amazing and I am so excited and happy for her, but it was also a change and temporary loss of a close friend and support that I had been dreading… My dad unexpectedly and without reason lost his job of 13 years. That was a shock to the system like I had never experienced before. My mom got sick, and for a full 24 hours (the hardest hours of my life…) we thought (she doesn’t) she may have liver cancer though those words were never actually spoken aloud. My life became full of uncertainties.
I remember getting to such a low point. I felt like I had zero faith left to believe for anything good to come out of this time. I wavered back and forth between desperation and hope, and desperation almost won. I was consumed with trying to figure out my summer plans. It was ridiculous, distracting, and exhausting. I always need to know exactly what I am doing and I plan and plan and plan, thinking up all the scenarios of what could or should be and it is SO tiring. I was constantly thinking about what I was ‘supposed’ to do, what seemed, “right” and what “made sense”. According to the way the world goes ’round, I should apply for a full-time job and make as much money as I can over the summer and begin preparing for whatever my future holds that would require this of me. I applied for a summer camp job and felt like that was the best thing to do-which it very well could have been. But then, I got a text from my good friend Amy. She sent out this exciting invitation to begin to think about going on a trip with her and a team of 10 or so others back to Maui – the island where I did my Youth With a Mission (YWAM) school and an island that facilitated so much change in my life. Amy is connected with a church there and the vision is to facilitate sports camps and work with the low-income, at-risk youth loving and caring for them in whatever ways they need (which is basically what I am in school for!). I let myself be excited about it for maybe, 10 minutes. Then “reality” hit, and I pretty much gave up on the idea immediately. I even wrote down that “I didn’t believe I would be able to go”. The things that stood in my way? I thought it was “too good to be true”. I thought “who am I to be able to participate in such a cool opportunity?”. Money, of course, was an immediate issue – I needed to be working and there was no way I had enough to pay for anything to that extent.
I did believe or hoped with everything I had that I would somehow, “against all odds”, be able to go on this trip. I did believe and felt that I would not even have to use money earned while working to pay for the trip (something that seems to be the case as I am currently, not really working). God spoke some promises to me and I started to hope and believe in something far greater than I could have ever thought up for myself for this summer.
Things started lining up and decisions were required to be made. All on the same day I got word of two potential jobs I could have over the summer that would fit so perfectly with what I felt God was and is calling me into. That same day I also got word that I had gotten the summer camp job- something I would definitely have to turn down if I was going to believe for going to Maui because of conflicting dates. I hate decisions like that. They are unsure and scary. I felt secure in knowing I could be making some money over the summer, but the more I thought about it and the more God spoke to me about what this season was going to be about, the more peace I felt about saying no to that job and believing in the two other opportunities that had arisen. I was starting to get so excited again. Everything seemed to be working out perfectly and I could not wait for what was coming. And then, another ‘unexpected’ happened… Both of the job opportunities I had said yes to (even though they had never been for sure) did not end up working out. I was devastated. Terrified actually. What just happened? And what the heck am I going to do now? It didn’t take long for my friend (enemy…) fear to creep back in and make its home in my heart and mind again. I was catapulted into yet another time of uncertainty and insecurity. But what made it worse was that I had SO believed that these two opportunities were promises that God Himself had lined up for me; “Why did you bring me to this place, God, only to take it away from me so quickly?? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t get it. I don’t like it…!”, was the cry of my heart. I sort of felt betrayed by my Father. But as I thought and pondered on what was happening I came to realize that by taking away what He had provided for me, God was teaching me exactly what I had asked Him to teach me. To trust Him with everything: with my plans, my finances, my relationships, and with everything I felt He had promised me.
Distracted by all the excitement and opportunity I began trusting in the things He had given me, not the Giver Himself.
In the midst of all of this I had done what Moses had warned the Israelites of as they awaited and experienced the promises of God:
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart…causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord…When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God…do not forget [Him]…Otherwise when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” –Deuteronomy 8:2-14
God was answering my prayers in the most unexpected, and at the time, the most unappreciated sort of way. I didn’t like it, but I needed it. He was teaching in His way so that I may learn to RELY on His faithfulness not my ability or my ways. And always, He reminded me that His promises remain true, no matter my circumstances. What are His promises for me in this time and forever? They are that His love will never be taken away. That he is a Good Father who gives good gifts and who provides for his children (Romans 8: 31-39; Luke 12:22-32). I am learning in this time what it means to not just trust in the ability of God to promise great things, but to trust that because of His character of being the personification of love He will come through and fulfill these promises for me. I am learning to live loved by a perfect love, from a perfect Father. I am choosing to see and believe that His purposes for my life are far greater and far better than my perceptions of what is happening.
With all of that being said, the journey and saga continues. I have felt like giving up numerous times over this past month. It seemed impossible, to be able to raise all the funds I need for Maui as well as knowing that because of this trip and another amazing opportunity I have to attend a Father Heart ‘A’ School in July, (http://www.fatherheartcanada.com/), I won’t be able to work nearly as much as I had hoped and thought necessary. God keeps reminding me that His resources are so much greater than mine, and if I think my supplies are limited, well, they are compared to His. As I have struggled through trusting Him and being wrought with worry and anxiety over all of this, I finally had to come to a place of total and utter despair. I was broken. I was done. I was sick of being so fearful and anxious all the time. IT IS NOT WORTH IT. It does not do anything at all, expect make everything so much worse. As I repented of my unbelieving heart and fully released the trip to Maui, my job situation, and my entire future to my Father, I felt Him reassure me that now that I am not holding on with the iron grip I was using I have nothing to lose. The enemy has nothing he can come in and steal from me because I’ve given it all back to its right and proper owner – God. My focus somehow instantly changed from how much money I can raise to being much more excited and passionate about the vision of the team and the trip, regardless if I make it or not.
I am literally blindly stepping out in faith, excitedly waiting to see what my Father does in this time. I feel like breakthrough is happening and more is coming as I learn to trust Papa more and more. I have been brought to a place where I have nothing that I can do to make this happen on my own, and that, I believe, is the best place to be as it allows the God of the universe to step in and bring glory to Himself by the powerful ways He brings everything together in alignment with His heart and with the truth of His word. He created this entire world…He can provide ways for me to see a mere $1500.00 dollars come in on time, yet in His time.
I should mention too, that this trip (and trusting God for finances ) is far more than the trip itself. The journey God is taking me on beforehand is one that does what Abi Stumvoll of Bethel Church mentioned in an excerpt titled “Redefining Success:
“In seasons where we do not understand what we are doing, where we are going, or how this part of our lives will tie into the bigger picture, we are often gaining the very tools & experiences we will need to get us where we are going.”
There are so many valuable lessons to learn in the process. The steps we take now are what strengthens us for the hills and cliffs that we are at times required to climb. I am taking some pretty significant steps of faith but I know that I am hidden safe in the Father’s love no matter where I step, trip, fall, or collapse. He’s got it. I believe it. Will you believe with me?
To read Breeana’s original post, check out her personal blog.
Visit uchurch.ca/missions to learn more about the Maui 2016 mission trip.