recap on 2017- new wine

Last year I sat by the water in Ghana writing a post on my phone about all the lessons I learned in 2016, and how much I had grown, and how much I had changed. It feels like so long ago. Isn’t that what we all do each year? Or at least hope to?

I sit now in New York City, on a much colder December day writing and thinking about all that has happened in 2017.

To refresh I celebrated my first holiday in Ghana last year away from my family, rang 2017 in with high hopes and celebrated with the kids. It seemed that I was entering into the new year with the highest of hopes, and the biggest of dreams. I wish I could say that 2017 was one of the greatest years of my life, and I learned so much, and grew so much, but to be completely honest that isn’t how it all went.

2017 was possibly one of the most difficult years of my life. I endured some of the hardest and darkest months of my life, I questioned everything, I had doubts, I had to overcome situations without fear, I had situations happen that didn’t seem to make any sense, that I couldn’t understand why God would allow to happen.

I came to wanting to give up, in so many areas of my life, I endured a lot. And I don’t want to get in detail because this post isn’t supposed to be a venting session where I complain and tell you how terrible my year was, because that wouldn’t be entirely true.

In the pressing of the hardest year of my life, I see how God was making new wine. And trust me this isn’t something I realized right away. Stay with me. I am not blaming God for what happened this year, and as tempting it is to point our fingers back at him, and say why me God! We are better to praise him in the storm. And I know this sounds cheesy or maybe some are reading this and think that is easy for me to say, but it isn’t. Because I had to walk through it and learn it myself. I had to hold onto the promises and words spoken over my life even in the hardest of times. I had to remember that he is still good, when that was the last thought I wanted to speak out. I had to walk through a path of remembrance with him and write and remember all that the Lord had done in my life at such a young age. I had to look at all the answered prayers, miracles and God sightings throughout my life. Not just look but grasp onto.

I had to tell myself this is just a season, this too will surely come to pass. I had to. I had no other choice. It was around 7 months until I felt things changed, I wasn’t myself, and after months and months the Lord restored me and got me through such a hard time. I am sharing this and “putting it all out there” so someone, even if it is just one of you can relate or see that whatever you are going through will surely pass. Whatever valley or trench that you are currently “stuck in” I pray that you soon climb to your mountaintop and see the vibrant colors and see the lush view from the top. I pray you receive your victory, and see things from this new and beautiful perspective. Keep climbing and praising even along the way to the top. Even in the in between.

This year was a year of overcoming, and receiving victory through our praises. Sometimes we are taught to put ourselves before the Lord and say oh God why me? Instead of praising him in the “in between” even when it doesn’t look as planned.

I was at a church service in Nairobi, Kenya and this was right before things were about to change, and we were praising God through the worship part of the service. During this service I praised God with all that I had left in me, and right at that moment I felt something lift off me, all the sadness, hopelessness, darkness, all the “stuff” that had been over me for so much, just broke off me through the praise. I was restored in an instant, I felt like “Devon” again. I’ll never forget that moment or what it felt like.

He makes new wine in the pressing.

Looking back from this point, of where I am today I am able to know that I came out stronger in my faith, having endured something I never expected. Even through that season the Lord gave me dreams and visions and everything I would need to get through and still help me do what he sent me out to do. I can say that I am even more in love with Jesus today than ever before. It isn’t based on a feeling, it is based on knowing who he is in my life and what he is doing, always doing, and how the “fuel” we need to get through this life comes from a place of intimacy and relationship with him

I got the chance to travel around the world and had time with other people who were in a dark place. I could know having come out and see from the other side pour into these people, lay hands and pray for them and tell them that this was just a season that the Lord will bring them out of, you just have to praise him and trust him!

There was so many big moments and things that happened that we could only say THAT WAS ONLY GOD! More to share in months to come, that God was still working on my behalf, he was still fulfilling every word and promise, that he was even doing a new thing in me! That he was doing abundantly more than we could ever hope or dream for the ministry in ways I cannot begin to explain! He was connecting me with individuals who are apart of this story and there is so much to celebrate and share over this new year.

2017 was a year where dreams grew, expanded, vision was refreshed, hope was restored, lives continued to be transformed, God is glorified, God is faithful and fulfills his promises. This was a season of new wine, through the pressing he makes new wine.

I am not writing this from a place of hurt looking back, no I am writing this from a place rooted in purpose that can look back and I don’t see pain. I see God’s faithfulness, I see God’s hands actively at work throughout all the days of my life, I see how he even protected me in places I didn’t realize. I see that even through the hardest of days, and darkest of hours he did not waste one tear, he even used that for my good. I see that HE IS GREAT and he is going to use this for his glory! He has a plan for my life! He always has!  The same goes for you!

I am not the same girl I was writing this same blog post a year ago. I did not know what was in front of me, I didn’t know what was about to happen, I was hopeful and I sit here even more so. I was full  of dreams and vision, and I sit here and I still am. But I am not the same girl who wrote this post last year. I’m here with a new perspective on things and I see and hear my father in such a real way. My relationship with God is so much deeper and I have so much more appreciation for him now more than ever, and I hope to say that every new year! My deepest desire is to never stop growing in relationship with Him.

I am hopeful to see where God will take me this year. I am hopeful and excited. I am full of new vision and excitement that he has placed inside me. I am thankful that even in the pressing of life, God is making new wine.

My prayer is that 2018 would be a year like no other, a year of advancement, acceleration, growth and change. A year of all unfulfilled promises to come to life! A year of expanded dreams and restoration. A year that we have been waiting for. A year to celebrate our overcoming! Another year to give glory to God and seek him in all that we do. I think I came to a place where I set aside all “my” hopes, dreams and expectations for the new year and just let God do what he does best! I wait in expectation for what he will do this new year! I am ready for the unknown like never before and I can’t wait to bring you along with me! In the right time I will have so much to share in 2018!

What was 2017 like for you? There was so much amazing things that happened this year! There is always something to celebrate.

IMG_0653

IMG_0721

IMG_0740
Another PNN Vision Trip

 

 

IMG_3100.jpg

IMG_4835.jpg

a655b4e9-b78c-4b09-a009-9450c1da242b
Traveled to Kenya with Orphan’s Promise

 

fullsizeoutput_4ce0
Welcomed new children

DSC05203.JPG

Traveled to Ukraine with Orphan’s Promise and got wrecked for the nations like never before.

“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”

Ephesians 3:20

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” 

Matthew 9:17

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19

You are all loved,

Dev

and happy new year!

1 1/2 till takeoff!

image1 (1)

It’s about that time where I pack up after three weeks at home, and head off, only this time not straight to Ghana. I’ll be in Europe with my friends and family (blog post coming soon about that) It felt so strange to walk past the flight boarding Accra, part of me wanting to just jump on, but in two weeks time I’ll be flying back to Africa.

Being here at JFK setting off for another summer away with so many new adventures it makes me reminisce about leaving and setting off for Ghana last year jumping into so many unknowns, and trusting God to take me through it all! side note- he did! as he always will, even when we doubt and have fear, he never fails to take us through!

As I sit here I still feel as if this summer holds so many unknowns, which holds within itself a new journey and a new adventure that I am excited about

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20

A year ago I started this blog, unsure of what I’d be writing about, how often I’d use it, or who would come along this journey with me, or be reading on the other side of the screen. And then an hour until takeoff I wrote this…. a blog post of everything I was feeling jumping into the great unknown boarding that flight with my dad

To read or look back on that post click here  

Somewhere along the lines I started to love “blogging” and reading about other people’s experiences all around the world and connecting with so many new friends.

I got to connect with people living all over the world who have felt a strong burden on their hearts for orphans, particularly in Africa. I’ve spoken to some of you with dreams of starting a non-profit, and have been invited on other adventures occurring all around the world.

And it inspires me. So much.

To hear from you, to hear your dreams and read along with you, feeling like I was in Asia, East Africa or other parts of the world with you through your posts.

My first blog post was called “Home” about a year ago I was packing my bags to head off to Europe to explore 5 countries with 4 of my best friends. Then I came home unpacked and started putting my life back into a suitcase this time for the big move, to Africa, not knowing how long I’d be there.

to read that first blog click here

Where is home for you? I’d love to know! Comment down below 🙂

My first blog post I talked about home. What exactly that word meant to me, and looking back on it, I feel the same way. Home becomes the people you are surrounded that make “a place” become “a home.” And now a year post starting my blog I’m back where I started yet everything has changed. I leave today for Europe (my best friends the same 4 girls are coming next week) and and after I’ll  be heading back to Africa for a busy and exciting summer of new experiences as God is continuing to take me places I’d never imagine going.

It’s amazing what 365 days can do. What you can learn from them, how you have full circle moments of relearning the same lessons you have in new contexts and situations.

so many lessons. the good, the bad and the ugly, they are still lessons, and God will never stop using them for OUR GOOD!

So cheers to one year on the blog, and many more sharing adventures, stories, lessons good and bad, sharing God’s story and connecting with many more awesome and inspiring people. I look forward to so much this summer!

img_0412

Hopefully I’ll have time to blog about what my next two weeks will look like and why it is so exciting/special to me personally and how awesome God has been through it all.

Next stop Greece!

You are all loved,

Dev