Before coming to OUTTATOWN, my faith was weak, very weak. I was doubting that God even existed. As the weeks of the discipleship program passed, God gradually became a regular thought in my mind. I stopped seeing things as “coincidences”, but rather as God at work. However, it wasn’t until Steve Klassen came to speak to our group about listening to God that I really experienced His presence. One morning, after a session, God showed himself to me in an incredible way. It was at this moment that I truly handed my life over to God; my past, present and future were finally His. My personal relationship with God began in a new way.
Before this week, grace meant nothing to me. A friend of mine told me she was thinking about getting a tattoo with the word “grace” in it and my first thought was, “Why grace? It’s such a meaningless word.” My outlook on the word quickly changed when Steve came. The first time he introduced it to us was in a breathing prayer that goes like this:
BREATHING IN: Where sin abounds
BREATHING OUT: Grace abounds more
This breath prayer came at a time when my frustration with people in the community was at a high. It made me think about how God has shown me so much grace in my past and how I need to extend that grace to others. The night before our silent day during the week on listening to God I prayed for a focus for the day. Grace came to mind right away but still I wasn’t sure. I decided if I woke up still thinking about grace I would focus on it for the day. As I was walking up to breakfast, without really thinking, I began doing the breath prayer Steve taught us. Once I got to the top of the hill I was kind of disappointed that I hadn’t thought about grace, but then it hit me that I had just been praying for grace the entire walk up! So I decided to spend the day focusing on grace and looked up 25 verses about it in the bible. The theme of grace came alive to me in a new way and these verses from II Corinthians 12:9-10 hit me.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. Why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I realized that it’s ok to be weak and to struggle because those are the times God shines through you the most.
In the afternoon I decided to go for a hike and just hang out with God. Even though I spent the day physically alone it didn’t feel that way at all. I felt God with me in a beautiful way, like being with a good friend. After climbing a bit I found a place I could sit on a beautiful rock looking over a river. I pulled out a book of worship songs and started to sing. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a song about grace?” I flipped my book open and the first song in the book was Amazing Grace. As I sang, the words quickly hit me – “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” That right there summed up this week for me. God has found me and my eyes have been opened to see Him. I then sang a different rendition of the song – “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour, has ransomed me.” It was this moment that I realized it had been Satan holding me back with chains and that I have finally broken free to be with God.
Steve had told us at the sound of his trumpet we should gather for a session to end our silent day. On my way back to the building I prayed, “God we’ve had such an amazing day and I know this might be a lot to ask, but what are the chances he could play Amazing Grace on the trumpet?” I kid you not as soon as my butt hit the chair he began to play Amazing Grace. In just a few days grace changed from being a word that meant nothing to me, to being one of the most powerful and meaningful words in my life. When I think about the unending grace God gives me all I think about is how I will never deserve it but will long to experience it every day.
Ephesians 2: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.