As promised, I want to share the direction where Paddy and I feel the Lord is leading us.
But before I jump straight into that, I have considered that some of you reading this may not know me and my journey with God so well, and I am certain that most of you know little-to-nothing about Paddy and his journey either. They are radically different but both so relevant to who we are and where we are going that I feel it is essential to share them first. So allow me to begin.
I grew up in a Christian home. My parents tell me I first “accepted Jesus into my heart” at the age of 5, though I have no memory of it and looking back now, I had little understanding of it either. I tried my absolute hardest to be perfect and earn my salvation through self-righteousness, but I failed every day and spiralled into continual, harsh self-condemnation, sometimes to the point of self-hatred because I didn’t understand the personal implications of the death and resurrection of Jesus for my own life. I had a lot of ups and downs through my teen years, but God finally got my attention when I was 17.
I had attended church my whole life, but I did not know God nor His gospel. God used a youth leader of mine to show me that there was more to being a Christian than attending church and youth group, attempting (and failing) to read the Bible and pray regularly, etc. In her, I saw life and joy that went beyond any description or explanation that I could then articulate from a source too deep for me to identify. I asked her to lead me, and she taught me of relationship with God.
You can teach someone about relationship with God, but no one can forge that bond but the individual themselves. Praise God that it’s not only up to us and that He is pursuing us first and helping us in our pursuit of Him!
As I learned and grew, I came to a point where I accepted that I had grown as much as I could in my current position and in order to go further, I needed to get out of my “comfort zone”. So God led me to YWAM (Youth With A Mission). In my DTS (Discipleship Training School), the greatest thing I took from those six months was God’s heart for the nations. It was my first time outside of the U.S., and God opened my eyes to the wonder and beauty of His world that exists in other lands and cultures and languages. It captivated my heart and to this day I pursue it. It is the solid foundation that I stand on knowing that I am doing exactly what He has called me to do and because of it I do not doubt. In Him opening His heart for the nations to me, I felt an invitation to explore wherever and however He would lead me. That started in Germany 5 years ago.
It was in Germany that I finally discovered what it was I had truly been searching and seeking, striving and slaving for all these years. I met Holy Spirit. Not in theory, not only for a moment, but in a life-altering experience with everlasting effects I encountered the One who speaks with clarity to my spirit and soul, who has revealed to me the righteousness of Jesus that covers my own inability to obtain perfection and salvation, who has connected me with the radical love of the Father directly in ways unspeakable with life and joy indescribable, who is Himself GRACE—the empowering presence of God enabling me to be and do all that I tried so hard to without Him and also so much more. I am reliving that encounter daily in different measures of intensity ever since.
It is one of my greatest desires and passions that people, maybe especially those who grew up in church or have been Christians for a long time yet do not have relationship with God, would experience what I have.
Another of my greatest desires and passions grew out of this being recalled to life as I have been pursuing God, walking with others to point them to God, and studying how to better and better live this life as an active follower of Jesus. It is the dream of the Kingdom of God–heaven–coming to earth now and manifesting itself everywhere, not just in the church. It is the dream of the church being a place of corporate worship of God and fellowship of the saints, not whatever it is now. It is the dream that Christians would enter the places of government and business and education and media and entertainment and bring the principles of God’s vision for nations that He laid out in the Bible to transform these areas of society to better reflect who He is because the Kingdom of God does not only consist in the church but in the whole of life.
Our salvation, relationship, and journey with God is the most precious thing we have and sharing it with others is an amazing way to give glory to God. As I’ve said before, in Revelation 19:10 it says that “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” I have interpreted this as: testifying (sharing) about who Jesus is and what He has done in the gospel, in history, and in our lives is an invitation to God to do it again. Sharing is powerful!
What’s your story? I would genuinely love to hear it!
-Amy & Paddy