It’s been a while since I have blogged… life has been busy! Our first term here at G42 ended about a month ago. We had a wonderful graduation dinner in celebration of the oldies. I never like saying goodbye to family- so that was very bittersweet. Then we had a week off to relax, deep clean our house and travel. Stacey and I went to Barcelona a couple days early before the whole group of us (7) traveled to England for our practicum. This is a basically a week where we get to go live with one of the teachers here at G42- Steve Holmes. His family was beyond generous to us and we got to see what following the Lord looks like in a 1st world country and throughout practical businesses and non-profits. It was very informative and we got to taste yummy proper fish and chips too! That was a very fast recap of my past month, but now you’re all caught up. We just finished the first two weeks of classes with the newbies and I am already loving the new dynamic of community : ) God is good!
So to back track even more, I had this in a draft a while back and never got to post it. Back during our second month here in Spain, Dave had us go hiking and we had afternoon class up on the mountain. It was a beautiful week. On one of the days he had us do this exercise- you should do it too. It opened my eyes and a shift happened in me.
Dave simply told us to write down who we are.
His example was Maximus’s speech from The Gladiator, when he said: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
so then he had us write our own (and made us say in a British accent too ha. true story), but here is what I wrote about myself:
“I am Stephanie Shelley Woody. A daughter of the King most High. The demons hear my name and shudder. I will pave a way for the generations to come. I will help change the world. I am a bringer of love and joy and laughter. A kingdom builder and animal lover. A conqueror of the past. I am his beloved. A voice for the voiceless. A daughter of Zion.”
I love it. It was such a great way to process and claim my identity in the Lord out loud from a mountain!
Last week, Herman Haan was here teaching. It was an honor to meet a man of God with such creativity. He taught on how to talk, think and act differently. We discussed how Christianity isn’t here to make us comfortable, how we must be brave and be ourselves and stop making excuses and just get out there and do. I also learned about how not to be afraid to use your creativity to encourage and love others… If I don’t act, whose going to?… Taking responsibility isn’t cheap… and how we learn to listen in the valley of dry bones.
Basically lots of great teachings, but I most enjoyed an assignment he gave us. He asked us to write our own Psalm. That was the only thing he said- no rules. no direction. So when I sat down that night I began to look back at when I was 10 years old for some reason. I remembered my mom’s endless love. I could remember memories of my grandparent’s loving me well. There was one memory that was pretty void though was my dad’s. I remember thinking his absence was common, the norm. Then I grew up. I came to know my best friend, Jesus. Soon many of my norms began to change and I began to learn… who my true Father was in Heaven and here on earth. so I wrote this Psalm to future children of Christ:
To those not yet born.
To those who will be abandoned.
To the innocent.
To the lost. the void.
Blessed are YOU… the young.
The chosen children.
There is a Father who loves you.
Who adores you.
Who before you were even born declared you as worthy.
As a prince. As a princess. As royalty. As a crowned one.
no matter what.
no ans ifs or buts.
no past experiences.
Blessed are those who smile.
Blessed are those who dream.
Blessed are those who are childlike.
Blessed are those who embrace who the Lord has created them to be.
Blessed are we with endless clean slates.
So I challenge you. I challenge you to…
Place your identity in Jesus.
In THE rock.
THE color in the midst of gloom.
THE hope in the midst of hopelessness.
THE springtime during the dead cold of winter.
THE beauty amongst the broken.
YES to our Papa’s love.
chase after it.
and release it.
His love is free.
His love conquers all.
Lets change the way we see things. the way we perceive things.
Lets go and expand the story God has given us.
There is nothing to be afraid of because we are no longer alone…