The lecture topics for week 4 and week 5 of DTS were really linked so I’m going to write about them in one go. Week 4 was "Relational Wholeness" and Week 5 was the "Father Heart of God". Or, how our past has screwed up our view of ourselves, and how our past has screwed up our view of God.
Journey Canada showed us that we’re all born with needs, but our parents aren’t perfect. Some of our needs they do well at meeting, other needs not so much. As we grow we fill our needs with things that make us feel good in the moment but often don’t feel good in the long run. We feel shame for the ways we cope with our pain. So we hide the parts we don’t like about ourselves by putting on masks to be likeable. But when we get attention it’s really the mask that’s getting loved. It just feeds the cycle of emptiness. We break that cycle by finding healing. We have to take off the mask and be vulnerable. We need to confess and seek freedom from the ways that we cope with the pain. We have to heal from what’s been done to us and what we’ve done to ourselves. And finally, we have to invite God and others into the holes in our hearts.
Journey Canada walked us through the teaching and also gave us space to process and heal in small groups that they lead. For me it was really refreshing. But it was also painful. I don’t like stirring up old hurts and wounds. It feels easier to just let it hurt without examining it, kind of like a kid who doesn’t want her mom to take out her splinter. Taking it out hurts. But leaving it will make it worse in the long run.
For the Father Heart of God we packed up and headed to Lynden, Washington! Our speaker for the week was Kurt Langstrat, the pastor of a church in Lynden. It was great to take a break from the big city and enjoy the small town life for a week.
Kurt talked to us about how our experiences growing up shape our view of God. Our parents aren’t perfect have their own hurts and wounds and experiences that they react out of. Our little kid brains don’t reason well and don’t understand that mom and dad are broken and they’re trying their best but don’t always succeed. We see mom and dad fighting about buying us shoes for school and we hear that it’s our fault. Or we break a lamp and dad yells at us and we hear that the lamp is more valuable than us. Or mom gets mad when we come home from school with a bad grade and we learn that mom loves us when we’re smart.
God designed families for our parents to model Him to us. But the world is fallen, and our parents are fallen so they show a distorted picture of God. And all of those things we learned from our parents about how to get their love and attention, we put on God. So again, we have to go through the process of healing. We have to be vulnerable with the community around us, confess to God the ways we’ve been hurt and the lies we’ve believed. Ask for forgiveness, repent. And let God in.
Before I finish this up, I can’t write about our week in Lynden without talking about the weekend of outreach prep. On Friday night we went camping in the woods. The students had to build their own shelter, cook their own food, dig their own latrines. They were able to earn things like tarps and bed rolls and lanterns. They also learned some first aid. There were various team building activities. After all of that, we had fun around a campfire with worship, a devotion, and smores. But the end of the daylight was not the end of the outreach prep. The staff woke the students up several times during in the night. The first time we woke them up they had to tell us all of the countries in Central America, the second time they had to tell us something they learned in each week of DTS so far. Finally we woke them up at sunrise and we packed up our camp and had breakfast around the campfire.
The purpose of waking them up was o simulate the times on outreach when you don’t get enough sleep. Like going to bed at midnight because of ministry and packing, waking up at four to catch a bus to the next location, and jumping into ministry as soon as you arrive. The purpose of the whole camping trip was to reproduce the emotions and stress of outreach on individuals and on the team in a safe environment. I was pretty impressed with the way the camping trip succeeded at doing that. And it was pretty fun at the same time.
Thanks again for reading and thanks for your prayers for our DTS!