Well, with my safe arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica came the stark realization of being a woman of almost 40 years old entering into the twilight zone of being a YWAMer. A WHAT??? It's the metamorphosis of someone who has chosen to take part in a 5-6 month YWAM program designed to draw one into a deeper and more intimate relationship with God and the more deeply one gets drawn in, the more intense one's reaction and outward response will be.
Although I didn't feel the label being affixed to me quite yet, I did feel the presence of God intensifying within me. It certainly wasn't there in the first 24 hours, however. Even though I was met by several people I had been corresponding with over email, prior to coming, and that I could finally put a face to the many names, and am still meeting more I've heard about, and apparently many more have heard about me. Uh oh! I couldn't stop the overwhelming feeling of being completely lost and asking myself the question, repeatedly, "What am I doing here?"
I was questioning my purpose in treking all this way, becoming jobless AND homeless and leaving everything familiar behind because when God told me to go, I said, "Yes, LORD." I was relieved to find that I wasn't the only one struggling with this. It appears that my 6 other roommates were in the same wobbly and uncertain boat that I had travelled here in. With that came some relief but I still struggled and immediately pursued God for the answer.
That answer didn't come until Saturday morning when I engaged in some personal devotion time and read the words God was waiting for me to read. The devotion I laid my eyes on spoke of being plowed like a farmer's field. Being cultivated, over and over, in preparation to yield a great harvest. To be transformed into an even greater woman of God because I was getting a little too comfortable in my life in Calgary. I was having things a little too easy and if I needed quiet time, well I lived by myself and it was a matter of staying in my home to create the much needed solitude.
Well, that has since changed and it couldn't have been more clear than the night I arrived that I would be HUGELY stretched at YWAM for the small room that would house 7 of us for the next 5 months practically screamed out the words, "I am going to stretch you in every possible way!" Affirmative!!!!!!!!
But in spite of knowing that I will be challenged and God will refine me over and over again while I'm here, God's grace broke through my nervous and uncertain exterior Saturday night. That was when they had the welcome dinner for myself and my teammates of the July DTS and God spoke to my heart as I sat at the table waiting to be served dinner by the YWAM staff. He said, "Don't you remember? Why are you scared? Do you need to be reminded of why you came back for me? Well, okay. Hold on for the ride."
Dinner finished and it was time to engage in corporate worship. The music began and chords of familiar songs began to fill the air and my heart....melted. I bowed my head and became still as God said, "Now do you remember?" I amswered, "Yes, LORD, I remember now." It was the words of the first song being played that brought me back to life. Like the Holy Spirit just performed CPR on my soul and I took in my first deep breath.
I was back. I was in Costa Rica again...back to the place where God's call all began and I raised both of my arms to the heavens as I poured out my heart and voice to God in love and thanksgiving. For never leaving me, for never failing me and for being just as faithful to me as always. I suddenly went from being a piece of a chaotic puzzle that just didn't fit, to a puzzle piece that now fit perfectly into the centre of the puzzle....God's will.
Now I sit here, chuckling at how much has already happened and it's only day three! Not only has God spoken to my heart about what He is beginning to do in me but also what He is going to do in my roommates. It already began this morning during our class time! I also felt prompted to tell my roomies, last night, that God would be doing amazing things in them and through them and to be prepared to have their worlds rocked!!! I guess I feel a bit like a den mother, watching my own children wander into unfamiliar territory, being the only one who knows what is to come. The spectacular and supernatural movement of God in their lives....but I'm not about to spoil the surprise for them. :D I'm excited for them and wait to watch the Holy Spirit move within this incredible group of girls who I just met but feel connected to in this short time.
And I think about my friends who are here now, engaged in YWAM programs, taking them on various paths, following God in incredible and life changing ways and I smile. And I pray for them for the things that will happen to them and in them will be, often, overwhelming, as they have already been for me. I pray for their safety and protection, as well as the protection from the enemy for my teammates and the staff. Well, for everyone here, in fact because God's work doesn't come without great opposing movement from the enemy.
They weren't kidding when they said bring rain gear, either! It has rained everyday since I arrived and it's almost like clockwork that it begins. At times it's a mist, others an absolute monsoon-like downpour but it's rain. It will come again tomorrow during this, the rainy season of Costa Rica.
I hope to post daily, if able to, to tell all of you of the things happening here and what it means for me and others. I will certainly do my best! As part of the program, everyone in the group is assigned work duties and mine just so happens to be clean up after dinner. The kicker about this assignment? I am one of the first to EAT dinner then get ready to clean up after others. God is so good as He knows how much I love food so He wants to bless me with eating dinner first with my teammates assigned to the same duty! LOL
But the one thing that stands out, the one thing that was with me from the moment I said goodbye to my home in Canada, remains. That one thing is peace and that peace tells me that I am exactly where God wants me to be for this time and His peace will continue throughout these five months as He continues to reveal Himself to me and as I seek to go deeper with Him.
I am well, mi amigos y mi familia. I am in the will of God and He is holding me steady. I am answering to His challenges and embracing His continual direction. I am eating well and being loved by those around me. I am enjoying the chocolate I brought with me from home in small doses so that it lasts as long as possible. I am thanking God for surrounding me with people I know and friends I've already made and look forward to the things that God will show me and teach me to become better for Him and to grow closer to Him.