Beloved In Amsterdam

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“Your thoughts define me

You’re inside me

You’re my reality

Abba, I belong to You…”

This week a fellow student asked me, “How do you feel God speaks to you?” While I could give a very long answer to that question, as I was pondering it later I realized one big way I often feel Him speak is through repetition. When I hear topics come up several times in different contexts, I know I’d better start paying attention.

It’s amazing how God has woven the theme of Beloved into my life in the past year. I know it is no accident that it has come up time and time again. Especially during the seasons when I have let myself give into doubt and forget Whose I am.

This week has certainly been one of those times. I arrived full of excitement and have certainly not been disappointed. The staff are incredible, students are full of passion and love for God, and the city is even more beautiful and charming than I had imagined. Yet underneath it all was this strange current of self-doubt, discouragement, and fear. At odd times it would come bubbling to the surface in haunting questions like, What do I really have to offer here? I’ve worried that I have no business speaking to these women when I have no way to relate to what they’ve been through. I’ve wasted way too many minutes worrying about what the other students think of me as well. And I’ve let my need for further spiritual and emotional maturity mentally disqualify me until I could come into this ministry less broken and just feeling more, well…put together.

Lies, all of it.

Graciously, God gave me about a million reminders of that this week. When I talk about repetition here, let’s just say I couldn’t escape it if I tried. Church sermons, worship songs, introductory prayers, session topics…all centered around our identity as beloved children of God. All centered around the truth that we need nothing except the Creator of the Universe inside of us to be qualified. All centered around Him.

I’m so thankful to have this chance to walk out my identity as the Beloved in an arena where I feel so personally unprepared and inadequate. In a way, I’m so thankful to have made this commitment to do something that (when I’m perfectly honest) sometimes terrifies me. It’s a chance to take a deep breath, remind myself of the all-sufficiency of Christ, and make the decision to be brave. Every day I am reminded of this choice–especially when it is so tempting to simply trust in my own strength, and only sign up for what I feel personally prepared to handle. But I know that the Spirit living in me is greater than he who lives in the world. I know nothing can change the fact that God has chosen to call me Beloved. I know there is a reality bigger than me and my own fears and insecurities.

In the coming weeks, I would really appreciate prayers for our whole team as we fight against any discouragement or doubts that come our way. Soon we will begin hands-on outreach in several Red Light Districts in town, as well as our daily encounters with the knowledge of sex trafficking, and even just running up against our own brokenness. Pray that we can stand firmly in our identities as children of God! And please continue to pray for this city, which I am already coming to love so much. This crazy mix of beautiful and broken actually brings me so much hope for what this city could be.

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