Hey y'all, this is probably my last blog during my trip to Jamaica and so I just wanted to share what I've been learning while I have been here! This trip has been absolutely incredible and although it’s difficult to know I’m leaving sooner than I originally planned, I know it’s for the best and God has an awesome plan at home for me to dive into.
As I prepared to come and live here, and be submerged in this culture for such a length of time, I never realized how comfortable the Lord would let me become here, in the sense that I have truly felt at home in this place.
I honestly did have moments of skepticism before I left. I would think to myself “Katelyn, can you really go and live in this different culture for a month or more and be okay there apart from everything you know?” But in those moments of doubt, I trusted that this was God’s plan for me to be here. And oh, how sweet His plan has been for me, always, through my entire journey of life.
That’s what I really want to write about today. What I’ve learned during this trip. I didn’t come here to necessarily do any “soul searching” or to “find myself” or any of those big things. I came to Jamaica following my heart, because God has made this place so near and dear to me. I trusted that if I came here obediently I would be used and that He would guide me and help me learn and understand Him more clearly and His plans for me.
Unfortunately, His plans remain a mystery to me. But, the mystery of these plans is what continually captivates me about the Holy Spirit and continues to grow us.
As for being directed and used, I can say 100% without any doubt that I know God has been at work in me and that I have made a difference. Not just because Nel has told me, but because this Jamaican experience has been so unique compared to all of my others.
This time was the most different because of having campers. It was so incredible to be a part of the lives of all the children and teens that came through New Generation Camp this summer. I am thankful for knowing them all and grateful to have met them, as well as the staff members.
The most incredible part was getting to experience the lessons that they all learned. The focus or theme for camps this summer was Identity, and so in their own ways each group focused on teaching campers more about their identity in Christ.
I wouldn’t say that I have struggled with a personal identity crisis or anything like that, but I will admit that the past several months and couple of years I have let my identity be influenced by things outside of Christ and so I didn’t let him entertain 100% of my focus.
I have always been such an advocate for childlike faith, as it is a HUGE part of my personal testimony and I have seen it be so largely and exponentially moving in so many lives. Seeing childlike faith at work again this summer was once again convicting. Through the eyes of children and teens at New Generation Camp, seeing them grow closer in touch with their identity in Christ has been a pleasant reminder that there is much more comfort and security in this identity than a worldly and social one.
Trusting an identity that isn’t centered on Christ creates struggles, doubts, fears and too many other voids in the heart to keep track of. So my commitment as I leave is to keep my identity rooted in Christ, going confidently in Him and knowing that as His child, I am capable of conquering much more than if I try and maintain life on my own.
When my identity is myself, sure I am special and unique, but when my identity is in Christ, I am a Masterpiece that He is constantly pouring into and continually building, it’s a simple choice, I just have to let him in and surrender control to Him.
This all comes back to comfort zones because in Jamaica, I am completely out of control of every aspect of my life and that normally that would be uncomfortable, but because I know God is taking care of it all and I’m here for His purpose and Glory, I am comfortable. I am also convinced there is so much less distraction. Yes it is by choice, because I am in a place where things aren’t as readily available. But the society I come from is so convinced that we can’t live without being the biggest and the best. We are obsessed with complexity.
I don’t want to go home and become obsessed with being complex again and complicate myself to a point where I lose sight of who I should be and where my focus should stay. I also want to be able to trust God as completely at home as I do here. I don’t want to become distracted by society and its expectations.
Obviously this means making sacrifices, but over the past month I’ve confirmed that there are many things I’m so used to having that I certainly don’t need to get by. Not to say that I have to get rid of everything in my life, or that it’s all evil because it isn’t; but I don’t want to be dependent upon worldly things or people for happiness or contentment as I sometimes have in the past. I want those things to come from the Lord and I want to fully trust that He will provide and sustain me with all the other things that I need, and desire to be happy and strongly identified in Him, in the right times that I need those things or people in my life.
I apologize for rambling, but I’ve wanted to just share what’s been on my heart from this trip, and here it is. I can’t wait to be home soon and just be loved by my family and friends there. I miss you all dearly, and I’ll see you soon!!
In Grace’s Amazing Hands,
PS- here’s a video by the Skit Guys—Who I absolutely LOVE—talking about being God’s Masterpiece. It definitely helps define letting your identity be rooted in Christ. Check it out, it definitely made a difference to me!