Every Friday, which is the day of the week we arrived, I check off a mental calendar of how many weeks we've been in Redding. As I sat down to write this post, I'd lost count. The transition is coming to a close, then, and I'm settling into Redding and Bethel Church as a home. For the record, though, it's been ten weeks.
One of the biggest things I had to face is how much I missed England. Most nights and mornings I went to bed and woke up to images of Ramsgate Harbor, Newington, and New Life Family Church in my head, and I'd have to take a deep breath, close my eyes, and whisper "help me let go" to Father God. Who knew six months in England would capture my heart like it did?
The more I've let go of that glorious time, the more room I've had to open up my heart to new connections. In the past 2-3 weeks I've really seen a shift in my spirit. Community is woven into the fabric of the school and church here, so there's an abundance of people to connect with. Even so, I've taken my time letting Holy Spirit help me recognize which people to specifically invest in and allow to invest in me.
Beyond connecting with people, I'm attaching to the city. It's truly unlike anywhere I've ever been. Bethel leaders love this city so well that the concept they've created from the top down is beginning to actually shape the culture of the town. I remember the first week of school hearing the testimony of a man's life radically changed just from driving through Redding on his way to San Francisco. The presence of God was so strong as he entered the city limits that he had to pull over, cry out to God then and there, and was delivered from drug addiction and despair. That's happening because children of God intensly tune into the Father's heart for this city, and it's what we'll begin to see in this country and the world over.
In terms of school dynamics, we're currently (and finally) at what I'd call the launching point of "first year." Our small groups are established and our leaders were chosen this week. David and I were both chosen as leaders of our small groups, which are groups of five same gender students who meet weekly. It's a total privledge, because the whole school is full of amazing people who are leaders, some way more "qualified" than us. I'm incredibly blessed to lead my group of four other young women of whom any could have easily and powerfully led us. Our "city service" teams are in full swing. This is the hands-on part of school. We chose our top five out of dozens of options of weekly teams to be apart of where we are activated into supernatural ministry out in the city. David got placed on a Youth for Christ Campus Life group at a middle school, and I'm on a team that uses the creative arts to prophecy and speak to people in various places in the city (no set location, which is super fun). Our mission trip teams have been decided, and we've had our initial meetings. (I'll post a seperate blog all about that soon!) We've applied and been accepted to our "tracks," which is a particular focus through out the rest of the year for the Tuesday afternoon session of class. David is in the "International Transformation" track in which he gets to develop solutions to international issues through intercession and a practical project of his choosing. He gets to learn about international impact! I'm in the "Kingdom Creativity" track having chosen writing (go figure) as my focus. I'll get to choose a personal project, write pieces for the BSSM book to be published in the Spring, and be apart of the School of Creativity at Bethel Church in April.
The normal school schedule, though, is Monday through Thursday 12pm-5:45. A large portion of everyday is spent in worship. We've had The Ember Days play a set and "Bethelites" Hunter Thompson and Gabriel Wilson play as well. Those were truly glorious worship sets. But I've also been enamored with the talent on our student teams, too. It's such an honor to worship the Lord, anyway, but to get to worship him in this setting every day of school is almost too good to be true. Aside from the pure pleasure of worshiping to awesome music, it's the worship times that are ushering in a deep work in me. We come together in unity as a student body, and everyone gets the opportunity to recieve what Holy Spirit is doing corporately in our gatherings. We are often led in specific prayers of freedom or wholeness during these times by the school leaders and pastors. Themes and concepts from the books and scriptures we are assigned to read sink in during these times of prayer and worship.
It was hard for me to articulate how I was growing and changing at first. I felt that my spirit was recieving so much in such a compact amount of time that I had to pray for my mind and heart to catch up to my spirit. I still get the feeling that ten years down the road I'll be saying "Oh, so that's what I learned while at BSSM." I've got a bit of a better grasp on what God is doing in me currently though. It sounds so simple, but I'm discovering the true love that the Father has for me. Through out my life, I've known and loved Jesus the very best out of the three expressions of God. I've only been intimately aquainted with Holy Spirit the last few years. And Father God, I thought, was no problem. I've revered Him deeply my whole life, understanding that it was Jesus who brought me to the Father anyway. I was blessed with a great earthly father, so "father issues" weren't overtly present. I knew the Father's love. I could tell you all day long that he loves you and me. That He "so loved the world." But there was this nagging feeling getting at me when my revival group pastor said to me during our "one-on-one" meeting, "We need what you and David carry." He was thanking me for what David and I bring to the table in terms of our revival group. We very clearly have a mothering and fathering heart for even our revival group of 65ish students. I stopped him immediately and said, "You know, I've been hearing that lately, and I'm not so sure I believe that." "Okay, let's deal with that," he said ready to dive into why I felt that way. I could feel a nervousness rise up in me. I could have easily switched off there and faked my way through the rest of our meeting, but I sat that fear in its place and said, "Okay, yeah, let's deal with it." After all, I didn't come all this way to be the same person when I left.
Pastor Matt took me through a time of listening to Holy Spirit about the lie I was believing, which was basically that I'm not all that important. When Matt or anyone else said "we need you," I couldn't recieve that, because how could that be? Father God is so big and sovereign that even if I stopped living my life for His purposes with Heaven in mind, He would find someone else to accomplish His will. I was believing the lie that there are plenty of other powerful people that can live out God's plans and I'm not that big of a deal. I'm not that significant. So there in my pastor's office, after his leading, I asked Holy Spirit what the truth was. I waited for a few minutes before I said anything outloud sifting through the "Sunday school answers" and what I had heard my whole life. Then a simple phrase came to my mind, and as I began to say it out loud, the revelation of its truth hit me like a waterfall: God can love the entire world so thoroughly, but He really does have a unique reserve of His love especially for me, Christie Lynne Huntsinger Drozdowski. When I heard the Father, not myself, not any pastor or teacher in the past, not even from a scripture, just the pure voice of the Father say this to my spirit and I said it out loud, I was finally released into the power of His love. I cried the ugly cry, guys. In front of an amazing BSSM pastor who barely knows me. I just sat there and basked in the truth. And I realized that I am irrevocably significant to the Kingdom. When I live from this love, which breaks off performance mentality, people who may have never looked God's way are impacted and destinies are created. That rocked me. What love to share! It's amazing how I've known that in my head for more than twenty years, but knowing it my spirit changes the rest of my life.
Since I'm attending a school of SUPERNATURAL ministry, I'll end this post with a round up of some of the most amazing testimonies I've heard or experienced myself so far: financial provision either by someone moved by the heart of God to give to students' tuition/needs/missions or by random, anonymous donations that people can't explain, healings of knee pain and loss of hearing just last week in one of our school sessions (the girl I prayed for with a group of other students felt a pop in her right ear as it opened!), gold dust has appeared on both mine and David's hands several times (what is that, you ask, and what's it for - just a sign and wonder and reminder that God is flippin' cool and can do whatever He likes and is taking care of us and our needs sending David opportunities for money making and giving us a financial blessing/annointing through the work of our hands), and David has been healed from food allergies and a skin irratation! Praise the Lord! Or to use a very Bethel phrase, "Come on, Jesus!"
I hope not to take this long to update again. You can read my tweets for more immediate things (which feed through to facebook) or keep an eye on my daily photos on Instagram.