Once such a daunting number, now not enough time.
Once a thought that made me want to curl up in a ball, now a period of time that is done and over with too soon.
What I am about to share is a story of how our God sets people free in a different way than you may be used to. We hear stories of God setting people free from debt, slavery, and addiction, but I want to tell you a story of how God set me free from myself.
At the moment I allowed all my weaknesses to consume my mind I thought, I can’t do this. I can’t fail again.
Two summers ago, I felt called to serve at a Christian camp for the summer. A bit of a distance from home, I knew I wouldn’t get to see family or friends that often, but I thought I could sum up enough strength to push through the summer. I hadn’t been there 24 hours before I was looking at the steering wheel of my car, driving out of that camp in tears because I knew I couldn’t find the strength in myself to continue. God revealed his will to me, and I failed at completing it.
This experience has haunted me ever since.
I have a calling on my heart though: to serve the children of God in other countries. When I came across the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic, I pushed it to the side and didn’t really think about it much. I reminded myself of the time I failed and tossed the pamphlet into my junk drawer. I continued to search for things to do in the upcoming summer that would be cool, life-changing, and you guessed it—close to home.
Nothing worked out, and nothing felt right though. One day, I came across the Veritas Christian Study Abroad pamphlet for Dominican Republic again and began to flip through it.
I realized the control I let my previous experience have on my life, and I didn’t like it.
God started to pour verses about strength and freedom into my heart, and I couldn’t help but feel his prompting to take a leap of faith. After a series of crazy twists and turns of getting paperwork signed, making appointments, and getting accepted to the program, I knew without a doubt this was God’s will for me.
How insane that I am sitting here now, on the other side of that big calling, having finished the race that God had set for me for this season. Little did I know I would end up sharing my story of bondage in a small living room on the mountain in La Otra Banda to a group of sweet 10-16-year-old girls just a week before returning home.
No, my story of bondage does not look the same as theirs—we all have different struggles—but the general story of being held captive by anything looks identical.
Being able to bring my heart out into total vulnerability to these girls changed me.
Realizing the reason for my struggles and the difficulty of this calling was not just so that God could work in me, but God wanted to use my story to work in young girls who were bound by the idea that they had to gain the attention of men to be worth anything in life.
During this talk I realized I had been set free from the bondage I placed on myself. I could speak of freedom as it actually is without fear that of it being something that I myself didn’t even have.
God changed my heart. What seemed so hard turned into something so incredibly beautiful. Through this, I got to learn the value of seeing the beauty that comes from doing God’s will. I have gained so much fullness from being where he wants me and so much freedom from wanting his will for my life more than anything.
This post is by Emily Motley, a Veritas Christian Study Abroad student who completed a program this summer in Dominican Republic.
How have you experienced freedom in the Lord? Do you know your story can change lives—even across cultures? Veritas Christian Study Abroad offers a unique spiritual component to an accredited study abroad experience. Don’t just earn credit toward your degree, change lives, including your own. Find out how on veritasabroad.com.