Through the years I was working in the theatre, I had 3 year lighting design career behind me, I had been the Technical Stage Manager at a London theatre for a year, and I was volunteering for a friday night youth group at my church (Friday Night Chill), which was focussed on building relationships with the young people, and telling them about Jesus in that way. There was no God slot, or wrap up prayer at the end, it was just good friday night chill out fun. And I had always got a good feeling from spending time with these young people, and when I managed to bring some of my faith in to a conversation, or pray for someone, I was on a high, similar to the high I had got from a successful opening night in the theatre, or a good recommendation from a director to another director for my services as a lighting designer.
But this feeling was more than that, I was keeping those moments closer to my heart for a lot longer than before. I would feel good about my work for the night after the show, and maybe the next day, but then I would have to get on with the next show, and forget it. But when I had a God moment with the youth I spoke to, I was excited for a week! I would be telling people about these conversations and moments for over a week after it happened. This was a big deal!!!!
I started to commit to every friday night, making sure Fridays were covered my casual staff at the theatre, and racing down to the church to be in the Friday Night Chill team. I then got to a point a year after I had started my job where I knew that why life would look pretty similar in my job for a long long time. Even if I was getting paid more, I would be working completely unsociable hours, which before I was happy to do, but now it was not something I wanted. It was also a lonely job, and I am an extrovert (many who know me will be shocked...) so I love having people around me and spending time with people. And up till then, I was holding on to my plans, and even though God was steering ever so slightly, I was still holding them too tightly to my heart. So I had to let go...
And I did. I let completely go of my dreams, my desires, and gave them to God. This didn't mean that I didn't care if they didn't come to pass or not! I was saying to God, 'you have better plans for me beyond my wildest desires, and you know the desires of my heart. I trust you Jesus with all of this!' So I prayed a very simple prayer, which went a little like this 'Jesus, Here I am, I am yours! Do with me what You will, mould me and shape me. Amen' I will say at this point, this is a very dangerous prayer, because God answers prayers, not always in the way we want or expect, but He always has our best interest at heart. And He really shook things up for me.
I felt so much lighter, and things started to improve at work, I was being given a few more opportunities to lead at church and I felt happier. I found time to start volunteering for the Sunday Session, a sunday morning 11-14s congregation who made church fun and relevant to the young peoples lives. I found I was prioritising my volunteering for the youth team above a lot of other areas of my life. I still worked when I had to, even on friday nights and sundays when I had to, but every chance I got, I was there.
My heart was breaking for these young people. And I wanted to be involved a lot more. So I arranged a meeting with the youth pastor and told her of my desires to be more involved and find out what opportunities there were, which included leading small groups and preaching small talks in the sunday morning groups. Each time I was seeing more and more how important it was for young people to know Jesus, and know that Jesus wanted them to know Him. That God can speak to an 11 year old in exactly the same capacity as He does to a 55 year old vicar. This was important work, and I really felt a pull to being involved in this a lot more.
A few months passed and the church had started to publicise their new training course 'Equip', which was slightly different to the previous training scheme with a heavier focus on leadership and I was definitely interested. but I needed to know this was in Gods plan. At this time, I was still in debt, and the training scheme was an unpaid internship but they would supply accommodation, but I couldn't afford to also find time to work and pay off my university debts.
But in all conversations I could see how God was pushing me towards this internship, and this new lifestyle. And I was excited, I had reminded myself of the prayer I prayed the previous September, giving God the rule over my life, and that I was letting go. And on the 6th June I got my clearest 'sign' of all that God wanted me on Equip. I had sorted out a plan to get out of debt in the 2 months running up to september, which seemed impossible, but I knew God would make it possible if it was to happen, then 30 minutes before my interview was to start I got a call from my mum saying that she had received some inheritance and it was enough to wipe out the debt. Now I am not saying at all that I was celebrating the death of a relative because I wasn't. When my 2nd Cousin had passes away at 102, we were all very sad, and I know my family were deeply grieved, at the loss, but this was all unexpected. And God timed the news of this to come to me perfectly so that I would know it was from Him. This is a true testment to the perfection of God's timing and provisions.
So in the interview I was able to sit down and concentrate on the other important areas of why I had felt called to youth work, and that evening, I had been given a place on the course...
The rest of the story will follow, including healings by young people for young people, and some great times with some brilliant housemates... all to come...