Today (well I suppose yesterday) was the end of week one of DTS. I can't even begin to explain how much I learned and how many of my prayers have already been answered. This week Jen, the campus leader, was our speaker and the discernment, wisdom, and personal experience from years of devout connection to the Lord was so clear. I learned so much about discipleship, what it means, how to disciple,and how to be a good disciple. We went back to the bible multiple times every day so I knew what I was learning was based in truth, and having that as the basis for all the teaching was really important. I realized a few months ago I have a hard time trusting people in leadership. Not like full out mistrust, but I realized I didn't know the bible well enough to know whether or not what they were teaching was true. That leads me into my next point though, I prayed for a renewed relationship with the bible and God answered my prayers. I was able to pick up my bible and see it in a new light, it wasn't just words anymore it was a story like one I've never read before. I was able to read it without going to some far off corner in my mind. Between my one on one time with the word, and the community bible reading and study time I have gained so much knowledge and understanding of both how people view the stories and important historical context that I'd never understood before.
If I'm being honest, I spent a majority of the first half of the week wanting to be entirely by myself. I was very overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people I was around all the time, and I was grateful to have a car to take me to the ocean on Monday evening. By Tuesday I was actually really depressed for some reason. I felt out of the group (which is silly we had just met), but by Tuesday evening something switched and a few of us went to the river to take a dip. It was fun and that nasty icky feeling disappeared. Wednesday was Matt's (an advance student) birthday and I think 15 of us went out to dinner. That feeling of not being involved or wanted in the group completely disappeared and the fellowship we had was great. We came back home to brownies, sang happy birthday for what was probably the 5th time, set off confetti poppers, and had a dance party. Trying to clean up the vacuum outside a few of us saw the moon. It was a full moon that night and it was insanely beautiful (look at the pictures below) so of course I took photos of and with my new friends with the mountains and the moon in the background. By Thursday and Friday I was exhausted, but it was so worth it. I drink way too much coffee and red bull spritzers out here and its keeping me up at night until like 12 or 1 am. Worth it until you realize I am on breakfast duty and have to be up by 6 to be ready. Before anyone says anything, I understand that that is not even close to sustainable, and I don't plan on continuing it. Saturday was nice however, we took a pretty drive to a lake surrounded by mountains and went swimming. It was such a nice time not having to worry about anything except relaxing and trying to cool down from the heat. I loved every second of it.
Despite what it may seem I'm not just having fun, I'm learning a lot. And I touched on some of it, but the biggest revelation I had was talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. I remember a message being given about them from a church back home in early 2020. And for some reason I just assumed if I prayed hard enough they would be given to me, but I realized that it is a choice. That I have to choose love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. It was huge to me but it seems like one of those things that are kind of a no brainer. It brought a new meaning to faith without works is dead, and changed my perspective. I've read, journalled, and prayed almost every single day since I've been here and its been amazing. Starting tomorrow we learn how to hear God's voice and I'm really looking forward to it.
A year ago around this time I was in the psych unit for the second time in 6 months, and now a year later I'm in Washington doing a DTS and pursuing God more deeply than I ever have before with a group of the most supportive people I have ever met. I am so grateful that God is so good.