It has been so long since I have talked to you! I literally have not blogged since last December, which is crazy!! So much has happened since last year, and I wanted to stop in and share the beautiful adventure with you all.
This past weekend was my anniversary; it was exactly eight years ago that I felt the call to serve in ministry. I remember that weekend like it was yesterday. I was a freshman at college, serving as a middle school counselor for what we called, “Fall Retreat,” which was the annual kick off for high school and middle school ministry for the year. As I entered into that weekend I was heavy with uncertainty, clouded with doubts of what I was supposed to be doing with my life: should I be studying to be an elementary school teacher, or should I pursue a ministry degree? Am I called to ministry, or am I called to be something else? To be honest, I was desperate for an answer, but more than that, I was desperate to feel the hand of God on my heart to show me a glimpse of what I was called to be in life.
That Sunday of the retreat I sat on the dock before the last rally. I remember that moment in time so vividly: watching a gorgeous sunset, gazing out over the water, mesmerized by the rhythmic waves flowing before me. And yet my heart was in chaos. I raised my voice at God, “Lord you need to show me what you want! You know how I am..I need to feel you so clearly that I can’t deny that I met with you. I want to know what I am called to do..what direction you want me to take. Please show up tonight as we worship…show me who you are, and who you have called me to be.” And with that, I wiped the tears from my eyes and took the slow walk up the hill to the rally.
I can’t explain what happened next. Worship started, songs echoed throughout the little barn that was filled with students praising Jesus. As the songs went on, I just remember feeling more and more overwhelmed by the presence of God. My heart began to beat out of my chest, tears flowed like Niagara Falls, and my body shook even as my hands were raised to the heavens in praise. I felt this heaviness upon my chest, and it escalated to the point that I couldn’t even breathe. I ran out of the barn, where I bent over, trying to let air fill my lungs. My youth pastor met me outside, and I gasped out loud, “Im supposed to be in ministry!” His calm and reaffirming response is one that is engrained in my mind, “I know.”
The next eight years were a journey of peaks and valleys, highs and lows, blessings and hardships, but all beautiful in their own way. I experienced a lot of struggle in that time, much of which I have shared here with you all. It was a period of heartbreak, molding, refining, shedding, and rebuilding. The last time I wrote, I told you all of the incredible move of God on my heart. I said,
As I write now, I can tell you that this woman’s heart is new. Fresh. Remade. Beautifully crafted by the hands of love. I will always be in the process of transformation, of being made more and more like the one who rescued me. But magnificent progress has been made. I stand as a woman who is becoming whole. I stand secure, with confidence in who the Lord has made me to be. The brokenness has been tended to, the pieces that were once scattered are now in their places that create a woven tapestry that create a magnificent display of God’s relentless love for me. My Jesus has graciously lifted my head, simultaneously taking my eyes off of myself and fixing my gaze on the world around me. As the holes in my heart were filled with the grace of Jesus Christ, as he embraced his daughter with arms not of expectation, but complete acceptance, I felt for the first time the peace of my Redeemer. There was no longing to be perfect. No guilt of failing. No fear of falling. It was a deep, slow breath; a peace filled calm found in the embrace of my perfect Savior. Hisperfection is where I find myself. His perfect love. His perfect grace. And I, theunperfect woman, fit perfectly in his loving arms. And there, I find wholeness.
I reflect on the promise found in God’s Word to us; “perfect love casts out all fear.” What a beautiful thing. What a glorious picture. As I find myself more wrapped in the perfect embrace of my Savior, I sense his unconditional grace, his unfailing love for me. I breathe it in, let it consume me like an intoxicating perfume, letting myself finally rest in the hands that hold the world. And in that moment of letting go, in that intoxication, as I breathe in the fragrance of love, I sigh out all my fears, insecurities melt away, brokenness finds its healer and messes find their redeemer.
This is what changed me. This.
This grace filled embrace. Where fear is cast out. Insecurity melts away. Messes finally find rest and peace.
And in that embrace I found my passion. I found a wholeness that is uncontainable. A mission within my heart that is not founded on trying to affirm my identity or fill my need for acceptance. It is founded on a love that has wrapped me up and set me free.
Last year was the beginning of a process of finding my wholeness and security in Christ. It was a defining moment where I found my heart, my true heart in the Lord. His perfect love, his perfect grace, his perfect presence, living in us and through us and around us…such a glorious thing that I can’t even attempt to describe. That was where my heart began to beat for freedom. I realized how the Lord had shown me a journey of brokenness and hardship, but even more, a journey of what it is to find freedom in our Savior. I’m not just talking freedom from sin, but freedom to dance…freedom to live in peace… and freedom from the things in life that hold us back from our God given purpose! We are made for freedom, we are made to embrace grace, and we are made to walk in the divine presence of Jesus, experiencing his Spirit every day. That is a sweet promise. That is a sweet blessing.
So this leads me to my adventure. This past Sunday, the anniversary of my experience with the Lord, I received a letter. A letter I never ever expected to be waiting on eight years ago. In that letter I found the words that came alive in my heart; Rescu for Love was approved. It was official: we had started a non-profit organization! The Lord opened my eyes last fall to more than just spiritual and psychological freedom, but physical freedom. He broke my heart for the girls trapped in human trafficking. The Lord whispered to my heart a year ago…your freedom is their freedom…bring freedom. From that point, he blessed me with the opportunity to start a non-profit nail polish line that will raise money for organizations in the trenches fighting trafficking. Rescu nail polish will help paint love stories across the globe; bringing funding to those who are bringing freedom all over the world. Rescu for Love is a non-profit organization that also seeks to bring awareness about human trafficking, especially for local communities who are experiencing it right in their own backyards. We want to help shift culture so that all people can live in freedom.
This is the start of another incredible journey, I can feel it deep within my soul. My heart longs to help young women walk in freedom, to share my journey of hardship and healing. But ultimately my story of grace, of seeing that when we cry out to hear the voice of God and feel the heart of the Lord, he will respond. His grace rescues, his grace redeems, his grace brings light into the shadows and his grace breathes life on each of our stories.
Shout Out Time! I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who has been on this adventure so far in one way or another! Your support and work means so much, and I am so grateful to have each of you as part of this team. In no particular order :)
Beverly Wachowiak | Mark Wachowiak | Claire Wachowiak | Marc Wachowiak | Cassie Wachowiak | Krystena Nightingale | Jeff Offhaus | Joshua Dudek | Ryan Nightingale | Rob Anstey | Kortney Noonan | Sherri Mackenzie | Kim Synder | Lauren Asbach |Rylee Noonan | Hollie Hanley | Alyssa Wells | Maritza Miller | Angelica Miller | Sarah Bridgeman | Mark Marinaccio | Jamie Bell | Joe Zgoda | Dennis & Rani Salemi | Mia Longo | Debbie Colton | And so many more!!