reflecting on 23- welcoming t w e n t y. f o u r

“if the wind goes where you send it, so will I.”

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23

t w e n t y . t h r e e

I’m writing an honest, and difficult post on what 23 really looked like for me.

Last year I turned 23 in the southern part of the African continent. (details coming soon…I promise)

In a nation I never expected to explore, with a migraine stuck in hours of traffic with my head cupped between my hands staring out the window, wondering what the heck God was calling me into, if this was him at all? Looking at scales of poverty I couldn’t wrap my mind around. Thinking about all the other 23-year-old girls out there, how they might be celebrating their birthdays, around a table of friends, blowing out candles on a cute cake, in nice outfits probably heading out to a bar to drink and meet cute guys. And here I was, with a birthday looking a lot different from most other girls my age. And I can’t tell you that wasn’t hard on me, that the realities I was dealing with head on, where thoughts that probably never cross most minds, there I was in the center of. It’s a sacrifice and a blessing that is sometimes is too complex for words. 

I had so. much. doubt. Wondering if this really was God, directing me to this place, with no clear instruction, just traveling on his word GO….with my father pursuing a vision that God gave me. The funny thing is writing this moment with both tears in my eyes and a smile on my face, admiring that twenty-three year old for what she endured, and how things wouldn’t be moving in such an amazing and God ordained direction had I  not followed him at his word GO. Not even knowing that it WAS HIM, and I didn’t have to doubt, but hey, I am human! lol! 

Looking back on this moment, it almost foreshadowed the year to follow. Doubting, wondering, hoping that I was where God needed me to be, slowly knowing I was exactly there, even if I didn’t full understand it myself.

Here’s the thing, this year God called me into walking more blindly into his will for my life. He held his hand out, and asked me Devon, do you trust me? Do you really trust me with your life. I shook my head, pushing the doubts aside, grabbed on tight, and followed him time and time again into the unknown, even at times where I wanted to let go and figure it out myself, I held tight, knowing my father’s ways are higher and better than mine.

This year was possibly one of the hardest years of my life, I had to really learn how to deal with spiritual attacks, keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, all the time, learn that God never leaves us, and works ALL things out for OUR good, even the really nasty and hard situations, where we feel like saying REALLY GOD?

This year was a year of stark contrasts, of dark realities, to miracles, divine connections, provisions and expansion. This year was a contrast from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. It was a year where I had to choose over and over again to not be moved, or shaken, but to remain unshaken, and unmoved in whatever chaos life would bring my way.

It was a year of taking God at his word, and planting my feet firmly onto the promises he gives us as sons an daughters of the King. Bolding proclaiming authority in the name of Jesus over every dark attack set up to take me out, and diminish the passion within me.

My faith was so strengthened through my time being 23, God really worked everything out for good, and what started as the hardest months of my life blossomed into the most beautiful, fruitful and rewarding months where I could confidently look back and smile knowing that God DOES CARE, and DOES HAVE A PLAN, HE IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE AT. ALL. TIMES. HE has a plan, always.

Do you trust me? I held onto his hand as he led me out of the trenches into the valleys, climbing along the mountaintop, and finally reaching the top with the most colorful and beautiful views, where your perspective of it all begins to shift. You can stand besides him and see each lesson he walked you through along the way. I could see how each hardship strengthened my identity and my purpose, my passion and my faith, and my trust.

I could see the purpose of praising him in the “in between” those awkward transitional moments where you just have to praise him, because the victory comes through our praise, the victory of overcoming and breaking through, the breakout into new levels of identity and authority.

I stand at the top and look at my journey, each step, each tear, each smile, and frustration and see my father who lead me at his word, and spoke love and promises over me each and every step. From early mornings in Ghana, to sunsets in Kenya, petting cheetahs in South Africa, to worshipping God until 1 am with an awesome community in New York City, to long train rides in the Ukrainian countryside to the cobble stone streets in Greece, this was the year of adventure!

My life has changed so much since that day one year ago. I am so grateful for this journey that keeps unfolding each day. As I look up from the mountaintop, I can’t see far, I don’t know if I will continue to climb up, down, across, or where he sends me next, but I know adventuring with him is greater than my wildest imagination, and it is worth laying down our wants and dreams at his feet, to trade it in for what he has. That inheritance he longs to give his children, but can’t until we lay ourselves and hearts at his altar.

I find myself standing in front of others, speaking about this crazy adventure God has for you when you say YES! It’s something that isn’t new to me, but I stand there speaking with boldness and authority having really stood and test, and I KNOW that I can take my God for his word, he is faithful, he is good, he is worthy of following into the unknown, always. And that isn’t to say it isn’t easy, and you won’t sacrifice a lot, or at times everything, but it is so worth it. It is worth it all. Standing having walked through it all in such a deep and real way, a way that only God would have gotten me through, and I can stand there with a smile on my face, tell others it is worth it, to adventure and do life with God.

This year had so many amazing and beautiful moments so powerful they changed my life as I know it today. God has brought more like-minded people into my life to love and support me than ever before. People who have hearts like mine who live to see heaven on earth and inspire me daily by their walks of obedience. This year was a year that God broke my heart for the nations. Devon what do you mean… the nations? I will explain. I got to chance to travel around the world and meet so many amazing people, children and hear stories that I will hold as treasures close to my heart forever. These are the keepsakes from each trip, a story in my journal, a testimony I wrote about, a photo I have or a memory that I can see when I close my eyes.

From meeting gypsy children in the streets of Greece which propelled me to travel to Ukraine to spend time in gypsy camps which broke my heart. Heart is the word that sticks out from my time in Ukraine, God’s heart is surely found in each face of this nation.

Spending time with orphans in Kenya who completely shattered my heart and I saw such hope, love and freedom. Freedom is the word that sticks out for my time in Kenya.

My time in Ghana, with my kids, loving them, watching them blossom into future leaders of Africa, bonds that will never break and bonds that will last a lifetime. Whenever I feel down, or discouraged I look at what God has done and what he continues to do in the lives all around me, it brings a smile to my face, and instills hope into the deepest parts of my soul, it reminds me of what we are called to do. Live and love for others, the way Christ lived and loved for us. The word that sticks out for my year in Ghana was BREAKTHROUGH. This was a major year of breakthrough for me, the children, staff and project. It is amazing to watch it grow!

I went to the Call and RISE UP in DC and that weekend impacted me ways I can’t explain. wow! It was so amazing, meeting new friends and being ignited with the fire of God for this revival we will see on earth! The word that sticks out for that is NATIONS, and RISE UP.

For all the chances I got to speak the word that sticks out is PURPOSE. God has a purpose for each and every one. A story different and unique for all of us. We are each called to live higher purposes and my desire is to see a generation chase after God’s heart wholeheartedly into HIS purpose for us.

This year God really placed certain nations on my heart and he gave me such a burden for my generation.  I have a heart to see my generation passionate about God and about chasing him into the unknown, giving up everything that is keeping us from his heart, that we WOULD be a generation that would rise up into the fullness of who God is calling us to be, ignited by the fire and love of God!

For me here are the words that stick out for my growth this year.

BREAKTHROUGH. OVERCOMING. DAUGHTER AUTHORITY. NATIONS. FULLNESS. PURPOSE. DESTINY. REVIVAL. GENERATION

but the word generation rings the loudest in my ear…

23 was a year of transition, a year of hearing God on louder and clearer levels

a year of increased dreams and visions

a year of renewed passion that has ignited my soul on fire

a year of new callings

a year of heart breaking for new nations

a year of expanded vision

a year of adventure, life changes and wonderful surprises

a year to treasure

a year to remember

a year to thank God, and to never forget

a year where I grew more than I would’ve imagined.

a year that was made beautiful by many faces, stories and people God has added to my life, beautiful people I cherish.

a year where I took his hand, and followed him up to the mountaintop appreciating each beauty and the climb it took to get there.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

What if I gave up? What if I threw it away, and wanted to do life my way, because it got hard, then I wouldn’t be entering into the fullness of who I was called to be. I would have missed the blessings that followed the obedience of walking and trusting him. I would have missed the view at the top, and all the intimate conversations and times in my secret place, with new revelations that strengthened my faith.

I want to encourage everyone that God will work it out for your good, take him at his word, and follow him into the unknown, adventure with the greatest King of all, and delight in the peace that only he can offer, not the peace the world offers, the peace that will make you unshaken and unmoved in the chaos of this life.

I want to thank each and everyone reading, who made 23 so special for me, who encouraged me each step whether it was a hug, a prayer, an email or phone call. Thank you for adventuring with me, thank you for reading along the way and supporting me!

Let’s see what 24 will bring, I look forward to bringing you with me through this crazy adventure with God, who knows where I will celebrating in a year from today, what lessons I would have learned, and where my feet would have stepped!

 h e r e ‘ s

t o

t w e n t y     f o u r 

may this be another year of following God blindly into the unknown!

“I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I
So will I
If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times”

– So Will I, Hillsong United.

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