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Archive for September, 2011

This is a blog I wrote February 22 of this year. I stumbled on it today, and it still rings so true today. I’ve been mulling on the idea that to understand what I’m doing in life (not only as a missionary but also in regards to my vision and purpose),  it’s important to understand who I am. For a while, I’ve felt specifically that God was telling me, “Kayla, you are a healer.” It took several years before I admitted that to another person. Right at the beginning of my DTS, we had a speaker ask us what kind of person God called us to be, and I said “Healer.” I didn’t want to say it. I argued with God about it right up until the time the speaker came to me for my answer. It sounds so… presumptuous. But I said it, and later, two of the staff members told me, “We don’t really know you yet, but when you said that, we knew was so true.” I’m still learning how to walk in that part of my identity, and this is just a little piece of that story.

I love working at the spa. To be more specific, I love giving massage.

I wasn’t sure if I was brave enough to give up a predictable and steady income, but I knew if this job wasn’t enticing enough to go for it, there wasn’t going to be another better one to win me over. I don’t want to spend my life hemming and hawing and changing my mind, especially since I know that this is part of the plan that God has for me.

I told one of my coworkers today that I don’t want to give up the glorious (if unknown) plan that God has for me, in order to grasp desperately at the tiny sliver of happiness I can imagine for myself.

I’ve realized recently, through a conversation with a friend, that what I love about giving massage, and also about my job at the nursing home, is that it is an amazing gift to be able to minister to people who are in a very vulnerable position. I know that often defenseless people get taken advantage of, bullied, abused, mistreated, and injured. So every time I go to work, and there are people in this situation, I have the choice to treat them kindly and respectfully, or take advantage of them. And every time when I make the choice to be as compassionate as I can be, and respect their vulnerability instead of exploit it, I’m aware that this is what it means to be a part of the kingdom of God. I’ve always loved that about the nursing home – that I have an active role to make someone’s life more full of dignity, respect, and love. One of the things I am growing to love most about my job as a massage therapist is that in addition to choosing to protect instead of take advantage, I get to participate in the amazing power of God to heal.

What’s been incredible is letting go of the need for me to fix people and yet at the same time, make an environment where God can work with me, and God can heal. For example, when I was in school, I always wished that I would pray during massage – I really love praying for people, and why not add that “extra special healing power” to it? First of all, I was too distracted by what techniques I was using, and what muscle I was on, and how I was going to chart it, and what assignment it would fulfill, plus checking in with the client, palpating the tissue… I didn’t have any room in my head for anything else. Plus, I was coming at it completely from the wrong direction. Like, “I have this great massage that’s going to fix people, and for an extra $10 you can get a dash of God!”

Now that I’ve started working and doing this as my job, my perspective has shifted. I realize I am, by myself, not very capable of helping people. Sure, I WANT to help them. But who can know what is really going on inside of a person’s body? If all I have is the desire to help that person heal, then God is going to outshine me on that front every time. He will ALWAYS win if He and I compare how much we want good things for this hurting person. So it’s been really neat to start by before even going in the room, just asking God to show me what He wants to do with this person today, to help me to be kind to them and their body, to be respectful and to use the right techniques to help the person the most. What’s been amazing is every single time, He shows up… So often what’s happened is that God starts whispering things to me that He wants to tell this person. “This is my daughter. She is so beautiful and I love her. I want healing for her. I want her to run into my arms.” So I pray about it, and as I am massaging them, I’m doing my best to express that nurturing care. God can do it, I know… I am not worrying about how the message gets through, I’m just giving a massage. But I have the best partner anybody could have.

 

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There are several things you should know.

1. I am moving to Northern Ireland to work with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for the next two years – in five weeks.

2. From my human perspective, this is impossible.

There’s nothing like quitting my jobs, selling most of my belongings and storing the rest, being humbled by my own vulnerability and warmed by the generosity of others, plus being overwhelmed by the unknown to really wear me out.

To give you a little history: I have always reacted to big changes in one way. SHEER PANIC. Imagine an open door. Now imagine that someone being dragged through backwards by the ankles. Yes, that’s me clinging for dear life to the door frame. I’ll admit it.

It took about 15 years from the time I told God earnestly that I would NEVER be a missionary, to the time I agreed to do one six month Discipleship Training School (DTS). It took about four years from the time that I decided to do a DTS until I actually got on a plane. You could call me a slow mover, and that would be fair.

However: It took about three days of being in Belfast, for God to break my heart for that country, show me my own brokenness, and promise healing for us both in the future. Over the last three years, I’ve begged God to let me continue my life and work in Ireland – and SOON PLEASE. As much as I have ached to come home to Northern Ireland, God has been clear about the timing. This is the first time I’ve ever been the one pulling at the bit! Even so, the time at home has been needed and valuable in so many ways – God really knew what He was doing when He asked me to stay home for a while.

And for the first time, as things look more scary and impossible, I’m beginning to feel “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) I anticipate this month will be full of challenges of many kinds, but I’m so grateful that no matter what comes up, I can rest on the promises and faithfulness of God.

So tell me… What’s going on with you this week?

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