2012 - Vol. 61
Elyssa (front center) at a Koinonia
weekend retreat with friends
I am Lord, send me wherever you want”
Last year, when I looked back on my life, and saw the great things God
had done for me, I said to him: “Here I am Lord, send me wherever you want.”
I wanted to do something for him in return, I wanted to change the world,
I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, and I wanted to spread
the good news.
ME… ME… ME… ME…
It wasn’t very long after the beginning of my Kairos GAP year that God
made it clear that it wasn’t at all about me doing things for him, but
him loving me and being faithful to the promises of making me new!
It was indeed a decision I had made, but firstly, I sensed a personal
invitation from him at this time, to know more of his love, to draw near
to him, and to be his warrior. I was so surprised at how much he was concerned
for and interested in me. He wanted to shape me into his disciple – a child
that can follow him and build his kingdom alongside him.
Bit by bit, throughout the Kairos GAP year, the Lord worked to change
me and to reveal for me a new beginning.
The change started
When I was searching to be super together and super holy both with
people and with God, God reminded me that he already knew me, that my life
does not have to be complicated, and more, it does not have to be hidden.
As I became more true to myself and to the people around me, great Christ-centred
relationships were formed and the students I was meeting up with were more
open to listening to God’s word. With simple and honest prayer I began
to tell the Lord what was really on my heart, and not what I wished would
be on my heart. This helped me to open the door to what was really inside
my heart and for him to transform what needed to be transformed.
The change also
started with wanting
A distinction has been made this year between wanting to be
a disciple and being capable of being one. More importantly a third phase
came in-between: there was a time of sitting down and considering whether
I could do what God wanted me to do. This period is the one I really struggle
with, because it involves waiting, it involves still doing well what I
was enthusiastic about at the beginning despite the loss of the enthusiasm.
It involves being patient and still, and letting God take the lead.
I discovered also that maturity is inevitable in our discipleship journey,
and that God wants us to use our intelligence and our mental capacities.
When I began the gap year my heart desired to serve but my mind was switched
off. And then I realized that one's my mind is very useful for pressing
on in zeal. I began to understand that my mind was needed for decision-making
and for continuing to press on toward the goal, especially when the excitement
goes away. Discipline, organization, responsibility and change of bad habits
have started to be practiced thanks to the wisdom God was offering me!
started with expecting
God had invited me for the Kairos GAP year in London one month before
the GAP program started, and had put the desire in my heart to set a year
apart for him. But with no prior planning, I had no money, no time, and
no language abilities. I also had to face leaving my parents and my friends,
let go of the plans I had for myself and go to the unknown. On a practical
level, I felt that God would have to make it happen if the doors were to
open. This is how I started to expect big, impossible things from him.
And here I am, already at the end of my Kairos GAP year looking back and
seeing how God was providing financially every time I was in need, how
he managed my time, how my English improved a lot, and how it seemed to
improve dramatically every time I was talking about him to students! God
used this as an exercise to teach me that I can be absolutely certain that
he is able to turn the impossible into the possible, and to know that faith
is a gift that has to be exercised for it to take affect. This is how expecting
miracles became more normal and natural for me. Certain spiritual gifts
that I had heard about or read about in the Bible, were granted to me when
I asked for them in faith! Confidently expecting help from God, allowed
me to see miracles happening in the lives of people around me. More importantly
I was able to see God at work as I witnessed the transformed life of the
students, my fellow gapers, and myself. There are many many stories to
tell! I experienced incredible love and power from the Lord by just opening
up, expecting and accepting.
It started with
I could see myself giving a lot, and then at some point measuring what
I got back, starting to keep score. In trying to love others in all circumstances
– especially when serving and giving to others was not reciprocated or
was taken for granted – I was very disappointed that my own needs were
not being met! When I had reached the limit of my own love, I cried for
help and God was very quick to open my eyes, and to show me that love that
expects something in return is a human being’s love. It comes to
an end and cannot give any more because it needs God’s unconditional love
to replace it. I learned that the “sitting down” and “waiting” for God
to act – not previously my favourite approach – became the one I liked
best because I could receive the love (for him and for others) which springs
from him first loving me.
The change started
with the Lord adding color
In this journey of freedom, God dealt with a lot of what was in black
and white in me of weaknesses, of hidden desires, of wrong motivations
– and colored them in vivid colors so I could see them, to admit them and
offer them to him. As you can see from all the above, he has had to deal
with the pride in me, and has worked to turn me into a disciple that he
can use and that he can count on!
It all started by saying yes to putting myself in a place where I could
receive more of God’s grace in such a time like this.
And today, the Kairos Gap year finishes as it had started by me saying
now with much great confidence, zeal, motivation, and joy: “Here I am Lord,
send me wherever you want.”
||Elyssa Fawaz is from Lebanon. She has been an active member of University
Christian Outreach in Beirut since 2008. She graduated in 2011 with a Masters
in Environmental Engineering.