In Psalms 32:7 there are 7 simple words that bring me so much purpose and vision,

“You surround me with songs of victory.”

I decided to go to Indonesia…actually Jesus decided I was going to go to Indonesia during a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico. It seemed far away and was one of those things that you step into with knowing very little about. I had turned the other way and ran from things Jesus was asking me to do enough times before, so I basically jumped into figuring out how I would get to Indonesia and 3 days after he said go, I was going.

I know my God is big and knew to expect big things but as usual my imagination was so small compared to His. If I wrote everything that happened to me in the month I was in Indonesia, we would be sitting here all day!!! So, I wanted to touch on one of my favorite gifts the Lord allowed me to walk through and receive in Indonesia.

Freedom in forgiveness leading to pure joyfulness.

Up until Indonesia there had been a few things in my life I had been trying to get freedom from for a while. I would say things to myself like “Oh yes, I forgive them,” but still have anger in my heart towards them. I didn’t understand how to forgive. I thought that by saying the words I forgive you; I could move past it and get on with my life. Jesus would soon reveal to me that is not how he operates. He doesn’t ask us to forgive so we have to think about the pain and the hurt; he asks us to forgive so he can give us freedom and joy.

Jesus would start to reveal in me who and what circumstances I needed to forgive in my life. He would bring up moments that happened years ago that I didn’t know were still holding me back. He gave me his hand and together we found freedom in forgiveness. It wasn’t just the words, “I forgive you.” This time it was praying a prayer of blessing over the people who had hurt me and asking Jesus how he sees them. It was crying with Lynn (my amazing “mom” that trip) on the beach in Bali as she prayed with me. It was finally realizing that once I truly forgave I could replace parts in my heart that had been holding grudges with other things like more time with my baby cousins, friendship and of course joy. I found victory in forgiveness because Jesus surrounded me with who He is.

a funny Godicindence (coincidence by God) is that when I was fundraising for my trip I made shirts that said the word JOYFUL on them. Just that word nothing else. I didn’t think too much about it, it was one of those things where I thought “Oh yes that looks cute, everyone wants to wear a shirt that has joy on it.” However, I think I chose the word Joyful because that is honestly what I wanted to find while I was in Indonesia. There was something in me that already knew I didn’t have all the joy I could, of course I wouldn’t know that until August 27th when Jesus helped set me free. When I look at the shirts now it is so much more than just a shirt with the word Joyful on it; it’s a shirt that shows that Jesus goes before, in front and behind us in every aspect of our lives; even if it’s as simple as a shirt design. He knew I would be set free in Bali. He knew who I needed to forgive. He placed the word Joyful on those shirts because he knew I would find true joy while I was in Indonesia.

Man, Jesus rocks! Today I hope you get to ask yourself who you need to forgive and can find the freedom of Joy with Jesus as you walk through that. There is simply NOTHING too big for God to help us with. Here are some pictures from Indonesia that give me so much joy looking at them!!!

- to Lynn my angel