In February of 2008, I did a DTS through YWAM (http://www.ywam.org/) in New Zealand. It was one of the best things I have ever experienced. I am in no way saying that a DTS is a cure-all to life and its problems, but it was a decision I could never regret. For me, it was incredible. God used this experience in my life to free me from so many things. Among the list, and perhaps highest on it, is freedom from fear. Which is where this Blog title and my URL comes from. I know it looks like gibberish right now, but bear with me. (On a side note, my computer just spell checked 'gibberish' apparently spelling it with one 'b' is incorrect. Who knew?).
My outreach during my DTS was primarily in Fiji, which is also something I would do all over again. I adored it there. The people, the culture, and the language. I really enjoy different languages. (I guess I didn't have much of a chance with that one though, growing up around missionaries from all around the world and all.) So I took every chance I got to learn new words and phrases, I have pages and pages written down in a journal I kept while I was there.
As a music and worship focused DTS, we had a lot of music worked into our outreach (revolutionary, I know). There was one song we sang quite often, called "Kua Ni Re Re" which means "do not be afraid" in Fijian. It's a beautiful song, and we even carried it back to us during our remaining outreach time in NZ. The basic message is taken from Joshua 1:9.
As we come in to Joshua 1, Moses has died and Joshua has been chosen as the new leader of the Israelites."...As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you"(verse 5) The Lord is commanding Joshua to go and claim the land that has been promised to them. God warns Joshua to follow his orders "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go"(verse 7). In other words, "I am all you need, the land is yours for the taking as long as you claim it as such and follow my directions."
God is really giving Joshua the go ahead here, encouraging him, empowering him. We get to verse nine and see a verse that is quoted often in Sunday schools everywhere. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." This verse was actually first introduced to me in a song (thanks to a Mr. Fred Allen who happened to run my Sunday school when I was just a wee lass) and stuck with me throughout my life and my struggles with fear.
This is where I'm stopping Joshua's story, and continuing on with mine, but I encourage you to finish it. Joshua is one of my favorite people =) So fear has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I would have horrible nightmares as a young girl, and then not talk about them because I was afraid that would make them more real. I have been killed by demons in my dreams more times than I can count. For a while, around middle school, I kept them out - or God kept them out - somehow they were just gone for a while. But then I hit high school and they started to come back and they always took place in a certain class with a teacher that I knew was a believer. (Side note again, this class was Honors Geometry so I suppose it's possible that these dreams came back right at this time simply because it was a math class and math is evil. But that's just an idea...)
Anyhow, these dreams always took place in my freshman math class. Maybe I was doing spiritual warfare and didn't realize it, maybe Satan was just trying to have a field day and wreak havoc on my psyche.
Then the dreams went away again for the most part. They'd still pop up every once in a while and I'd wake up in a cold sweat, shaking, and not wanting to move in case that made me even less safe. One week during my DTS Jono Turner was speaking with us for a week, and he had been talking about demons and the spiritual world. Later on, one of my class mates, a lovely Canadian named Nick, came up to me and told me that he felt like God had directed his sight towards me when Jono was speaking. He said he saw me shudder at something Jono said about demons and so Nick started asking me about any experience I'd had in that area.
So I told him about the dreams and such and I mostly felt very freaked out. I was trying to act all nonchalant because that's easier than dealing with reality sometimes. I hadn't realized I shuddered. I hadn't realized Nick was watching me.And I definitely didn't want to be remembering these dreams that I had worked so hard to keep away. So Nick prayed with me and I went along my freaked out way. I had managed to distract my self enough by the time that bed time rolled around that I was able to fall asleep.
But that night I had a nightmare. Another demon infested dream where evil dragged me down and devoured me whole and there was nothing left of me. It was terrifying.
Again, I tried to brush it away. Wanting to forget about it, about all of them, wanting to lock them away somewhere they couldn't escape so they could never surface again and I might have a shot at being able to function for the rest of the day.
That day in class, I asked Jono to pray for me for an entirely different issue. So Jonno is praying for me, and it kind of feels like he's wrapping up, but then he gets going again and I start to shake and shake and shake. He says, "and I rebuke the spirit of fear, in Jesus name. You have no place here, I rebuke you." It wasn't loud, it wasn't dramatic. But I felt it. It felt like a huge weight rising from my feet and going through my body and out my shoulders, and then nothing. Gone. Free.
I still have dreams of a similar nature from time to time. BUT there are some vital differences. It's a battle now, as opposed to the slaughter it had always been previously. And I don't die. I don't die. That is monumental for me! And how incredible is it that with the power of Christ, I live? "Oh Praise the one who paid my debt, and lifts this life up from the dead!" That's how I feel! Like Jesus has plucked me from death and empowered me to fight and to conquer and to LIVE.
So Joshua 1:9 - actually pretty much any verse that has to do with fear- has been a very personal verse for me through my life. And to have a song that was taught to me that I might share it to others who struggle with the same things is just so amazing to me. For this verse to come up in a foreign country, in a language of an altogether different country, is something so extraordinary.
For this first Blog (ha, it could be the last too for all I know. I'm playing it by ear) I wanted to explain the meaning behind a seemingly meaningless few words. And to offer an encouraging story, and to remind myself that I need not fear. I have the King of the world in my side, as do we all.
Kua Ni Re Re, my friends.