It's been 1,139 days since arriving in Scotland. I know I haven't released an official newsletter in the last few months, but in short, the update is that, well, I'm still here. A few milestones have come along, including the 9th of October and to not share about the importance of this date would be a shame. So without further ado, here I am both honoured and humbled to share with you a piece of my heart.
Two years ago, I visited this city [Perth] for the first time on a prayer trip. One year ago, I moved into my first home in Perth to begin a journey I would’ve never imagined taking. Today, I went about my day, caught up with friends, prepared for Bible Study, plugged into my community, and commuted to our neighbouring Uni town for Campus Ministry Bible Study. It wasn’t until I got home, after a long day, that I looked down and realised what day it was. It was in that moment that I realised, I did it.
I survived the year.
My “word” for the last 12 months was survival. Anyone that spent more than a day with me knew that I would answer the famous “How are you?” question with, “surviving”. I told myself if I could just survive what I knew would be some of the hardest 12 months of my life, I could do just about anything, only through God’s help and strength, of course. The past 12 months have stretched me, taught me so many tough lessons, and challenged some of my biggest dreams and aspirations. Nonetheless, my God has given me the ability and strength to take on every challenge, low season and trial.
Today, after two years of the start of my Perth journey, I look onto the remainder of the journey that lies ahead with these words - I’m. Still. Here.”
Admitting a state of mere “survival” while in the ministry can be difficult. There’s an inner pressure to appear to be put together and perform to the highest standard at all times, but ministry is hard. Life in general is hard. Tough, challenging, and growing seasons are frequent, and merely surviving them means you are making it! Know that if you find yourself in a tough place , maybe feeling like you're barely surviving or getting through, no matter who you are, you are not alone. Yes, even you, pastor, minister, missionary, evangelist, Sunday school teacher, worship leader, youth worker, and servant leader. No one is above the tough seasons in life. They can come so suddenly and then all at once. The survival of one tough season doesn’t guarantee another one won’t come, but it does mean you are one step closer to conquering.
As I typed up my vulnerable words to share about my season and hopefully bring some encouragement, I also realised that, ironically, today is also Mental Health Awareness Day. So, I also write this to say, if the girl that was once diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression can find purpose on the darkest days, so can you. If that same girl, despite once struggling with mental health could be called by God to a purposeful life bigger than herself, so can you. If God took that girl and delivered her from the darkest days, He can do the same for you. I am that girl, and today, I no longer claim the labels of PTSD, anxiety and depression but that doesn’t mean I don’t face hard days in tough seasons. The more I get to know Jesus, the more I realise I have someone to take my anxieties/cares to. This doesn’t mean a Christian life comes without cares, but that you have a saviour that loves you and cares for you so much, He is willing to take on your burdens. Whoever you are, wherever you are reading this from, know you have someone who cares. Read 1 Peter 5:6-11, and be reminded that the one who created you, died for you and knew you before you were born, cares. HE cares. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you matter, you are trying and in the midst of surviving, you ARE CONQUERING.
It’s okay to not be okay, but today I rejoice in saying I’m more than just okay, because I’m no longer just surviving, I’m conquering. I'm still here.
1 Peter 5: 6-11