I arrived in New Zealand for my Discipleship Training School (DTS) with YWAM Furnace in January 2019. I still remember the unexpected heat as I left the airport, dressed for the cold UK winter that I had just left behind.
The first few days of my DTS went by in a bit of a blur. A flurry of meeting new people, hearing new accents, learning a new schedule and of course, smiles, jokes and laughter.
But what all my new friends didn’t know is that behind my huge smile and loud laugh, my heart was dead.
Before DTS I had merely been going through the motions of life. I was overwhelmed by school and by work, I was unhappy with who I was, and above all, I didn’t see the purpose of my life.
I felt like I was drowning and nobody was there to save me.
I had become very good at hiding the way that I felt, nobody knew and nobody had to know. I was fine with this, except I forgot one very significant fact — God knew. And more than that, He actually cared.
Gradually over the course of my DTS, the reality of God caring for me became more and more real to me.
He showed me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139).
He made me exactly the way He wants me to be. I learned that there is nothing that I need to change about myself to make people like me because I am made in the image of God. And God put people around me to remind me of that every single day.
He showed me that I am worthy of being loved, by Him and by others (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). He taught me that no matter what I do, He will still love me and I started to learn how to love myself, too.
He showed me that I do have a purpose, and that my life is valuable (1 Peter 2:9). As DTS went on, I understood my purpose more and more. God put me on this planet to be a beacon of light for His kingdom and all He wants me to do is be myself and let others see Him through me.
And soon, I could see the clouds parting above me. I could see flowers growing again. I could see a hand reaching out to pull me out of the water I was drowning in.
God gave joy to my joyless heart.
Now, I live in beautiful New Zealand, serving with the YWAM Furnace team, and doing what I love to do. And I do it all with joy in my heart because I know that I am loved and I have a purpose.