So after my retreat this wonderful young lady shared her testimony on paper. I think it is something that could speak to many other people so I gave it a little spot on my blog.
Hello readers! ☺
Before I start, I’ll make a quick and simple introduction of myself to put my story in the desired context. My name is Alissa and I let what other people think of me define me, oops I meant USED TO. Now buckle up and hang on through my testimony 😀
So, 10 days ago, my life took a significant turn out as I started a new journey, in another country, another school, and a different environment. I moved to Brussels to continue my education. Many people showed concerns because I was going to live in a country so far, where I didn’t know anyone, had no family or friends. But my mind was made up, I was ready, and no one could dissuade me. Although it seemed like it was no longer possible, I kept the faith because deep down I had a feeling that’s what He wanted. I won’t go into details but, WOW! He is faithful! I stand in awe of Him and His greatness. I still can’t believe I am here, when at some point my hope was meager. Anyhow, here I am, in a wonderful Haitian host family, I have a new friend to show me around and help me settle, I live less than 15 minutes away from the university, I live in a commercial area close to everything, I talk to my mom everyday (Google Voice is life!), my monthly budget is a lot less than expected so traveling around will be easier (winning!). My only concern is about catching up with 6 weeks worth of stuff (Yes it’s a miracle that I was still able to register but that’s a longer story maybe for another post) and entering 3 groups for 3 different class projects. But it should not be too hard (pfff just trying to reassure myself, keep me in your prayers).
Anyways I’m happy, life is beautiful, My God is awesome! I put one of the songs I discovered at Anne-So’s retreat before my departure, “It is well” by Bethel Music, because I feel like it best suits my current situation. As I am singing it I melt in tears. Suddenly nothing seems so well, my mind is upside down, I miss everything about home, I miss my old life, I miss my loved ones I left there, I miss that part of me that is still over there, I miss my church in Jersey (Hillsong Church! You should check it out NY and NJ people). I start questioning everything. Have I made the right decision coming all the way here? Maybe I should have taken a break? Will I make these 2 years through? What if I don’t pass my 7 classes? Am I even allowed to complain? Because after all, I kinda knew the consequences and still didn’t want to back up when I could have. “You have to suck it up Alissa!” What is going on? Besides, I feel like my relationship with Him has weakened. The connection is not the same. At the retreat I promised Him my all, to give myself to Him 100%, but I am failing that promise. As I grab my phone, I see this picture (Screenshot! Lol) and I start reminiscing on this magical moment at the retreat when my soul was troubled and filled with anger, and He washed it all away. He gave me peace and rest. Yup He cleaned me with that special rain, MY special rain. My words won’t do this moment justice, it should only be experienced, or at least witnessed. I wish I could live this moment again to calm down these feelings haunting me. I close my eyes, trying to hear His voice through my sniffs, trying to find refuge and peace, and “Wrap me in your arms” by William McDowell comes on.
As I slowly calmed down, I realized that I had not allowed Him to fill enough space in my life lately with all the distractions. I put everything before Him and could not even make some time for Him throughout my days. I needed to rely more on Him, to believe that even though I left everything and everyone thousands of miles away, He is with me. I needed to believe that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, at the right moment. Only trusting Him and giving Him control will dissolve my worries. I needed to trust that “I can do anything/everything through Him who strengthens me.” One can easily be all over the place and step out of the road when traveling, due to the excitement and the adventures. And guess what? He knows that, as He said “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26: 41). Focusing on Him can become harder, but with just an ounce of effort and support, and through prayer, it is possible to keep following the Way.
Therefore, going to this retreat was the best choice, and the only place I could have been on my last weekend in Haiti. I was meant to be there, there’s no doubt about it. Going to Belgium and participating to the retreat did not go together for me. It was either one or the other, both were not possible in my own understanding; yet God planned it differently and it all worked out perfectly (this is also another story). I now understand that He appointed me to be there because He knew it would be my support system during the transition, while I am on the quest of a new church that fits my beliefs. Through this retreat He granted me 12 soul siblings (hum the number 12…) whom I know I can go to if I need to share my spiritual concerns, if I need advices and prayers. And most importantly, He wanted to give me a message. It was to let go of anything holding me back, keeping me away from His love. He wanted me to drop this mask that hides hid my fear and shame to represent Him properly, that fear to be mocked or left out. He wanted me to stop trying to please everybody else before Him. To be honest, one of the main reasons (other than the academic program itself and the flexibility to travel) I decided to go so far for my studies was to be away from everyone and start fresh, hoping I would not be judged for my look, what I do or say, or at least hoping not to care since I would not know anyone. But now, I know that it should not matter because I should only worry about what He thinks of me. I know that I don’t have to try hard to get people to love or accept me because My King is in love with me just the way I am. I AM FREE! Free of the chains of social acceptance.
Anyways, I won’t hold you guys any longer, although there is so much I would like to say (sigh). I thank those who actually finished reading this and I hope I didn’t bore you too much (:p). I also encourage you all to consider going to the next retreat Sophie is organizing, or any retreat at all. If you find an opportunity take it, I guarantee you, you won’t leave the same way you went. So quick correction: my life didn’t take a significant turn 10 days ago, but 3 days before that, when I stepped into that bus on my way to Paillant. I was granted a fresh start when I burned this paper around the bonfire while reciting the salvation oath, and a new little family. Oh and before I leave, It is NOW well with my soul, through it all…. A healthy spirit keeps the distress away 😉
• It is well by Bethel Church
• I am His daughter (especially if you have social acceptance issues)
• Who can compare by Jesus Culture
• Lead me to the Cross by Hillsong United
• Wrap me in your arms by William McDowell
• Psalm 46 by Jenny and Tyler
Peace and love wonderful people!