Every year I try to pen what the Spirit of God revealed to me at Storm. I do that because I want you all to see Him the way I do; so that I won’t ever, ever – not in a million years – forget what He did there; so that I will never misplace who He is and who that makes me.
Every year I have had a different experience.
The first year (2011) God gave me the word Compassion. He told me it was meant to use up my whole life and no matter what career route I may one day take Compassion must always be at the forefront of my selection. Back then I was so worried about who I would become, where I would go to college and what classes I would require.
Well, today I was sitting in a Hokona hallway. Today was my second day of orientation. Yesterday I chose the English-Philosophy double major. Yesterday I planned the classes I had stressed so much over and I realized the stress wasn’t worth it.
It doesn’t matter what I do to serve when I love Christ because he has consistently shown me that He is the only thing that genuinely matters.
My dear friend Jayne once told me, “Wherever God goes you will follow and wherever you go – there He is.”
So from 2011 to 2014 I can say that what God said to me was true. Compassion is still my calling and otherwise all that matters is His grace and fidelity. When I am small He is nevertheless a big God.
In 2012 I SAW God for the very first time! I felt as if I could never be loved, like I was too impure and too imperfect, but then God picked me up, took me in his arms and said, “All I want is you.”
From 2012 to 2014 I have found God absolutely worthy of my commitment and absolutely faithful in his pardon. Everyday I see His beauty consuming my calamity and His salvation consuming my humanity and I couldn’t ask for a better trade. It really is a beautiful exchange and now He fully has my heart.
In 2013 God called me to remember his bigness.
He said stop worrying, I’m bigger.
He said stop striving, I’m bigger.
He said lay off trying to burst your own chains, I’m bigger.
He said stop trying to figure it all out alone, I’m bigger.
From 2013 to 2014 I have grappled with giving God full control of my dreams and my affection. After this year I can say there is no part I am not steadily giving to Him. He has my thoughts, my words, my actions, my dreams and most of all my desire for marriage. I need not seek out what he bears in His hand. I have not the strength to carry it.
Now in 2014 I realized the deepest aspect of God that I had ever experienced.
I went into Storm not sure of what I wanted to meet, understand or see of God. That had never happened before and so I knew nothing else to do, but pray for what my leaders were praying for. That prayer was for every student to meet God right where they are. I really focused in on the Students that were new and had never come to The Storm before. I prayed for new people to meet God for the first time, to truly see Him like I did in 2012, to dedicate their lives to Him. I got all that and more!
Unknown to me the spirit that God desired me to take from Storm 2014 was the spirit of His REACH.
That is my word to pair with compassion.
I am meant to “go unto all the world and preach the good news, to make disciples of all nations”.
This year I realized that the Storm is not about me, but about the people around me.
It’s about discipling my peers and those younger than me. It is about learning from and encouraging those older than me. It is about generation connections and generation building because when we are firm on the inside we can extend out and effect the world God loves.
Storm empowered me to remain in touch with the friends I made at Storm, to check in, pray with them and believe in them.
Storm empowered me to get into my writing with an even greater vengeance. We only have so long to be His witness.
Storm empowered me to become involved in The Forgotten Foundation and other community service opportunities.
Storm empowered me to take the focus off of my to do list and on to the people that matter.
Most of all Storm empowered me to stand up as a Light of Christ on my UNM campus.
God picked me up and made UNM my mission for the following four years.
He plucked me up and said, go heal the broken.
He emblazoned Joy, Compassion, Wisdom, and Grace upon my brow, calling everyone like moths to His flame.
He consumed me.
So going into orientation I prayed that he would use me somehow to change a life. I didn’t know what to expect, but it became so much bigger than I had anticipated.
All of the incoming freshmen from session 6 were gathered together for a lecture about the diversity of people on the UNM campus.
The speaker showed us a video about some people who created parties in which one would dress up in gardener clothes or janitorial wear with the names Pablo or Juan on their name tags. These parties were full of racial slurs and derogatory language specifically against the Latino community. There were other parties featured that had a bias against other racial minorities.
The speaker moved on to ask us questions concerning the substance of the video or any other such matters (the judgment against LGT community for example). One of the questions asked WHY do people behave in such a hurtful manner towards certain groups and I had the opportunity to speak up.
I brought up the issue that I believe everyone was thinking about.
Why do people of religion cause so many prejudices?
From African American Segregation to The Protests Against Same Sex Marriage Christians have propagated hundreds of discriminations against other races, choices and beliefs.
I said, “Honestly, one of the biggest reasons for bigotry is religious morals. The problem is that Christian people who behave in a mean way towards certain groups don’t understand the profundity of God’s passion for us. They don’t realize that God loves every single person the same. He takes each of us exactly as we are. Hence even though I don’t accord with everyone and I deliver my own morals, I find it infinitely sad that people are judged by Christians because God has adoration for the very person that they are judging.”
Obviously I didn’t phrase it that well, but that is it in a prettier nutshell.
I was so terrified that I would have a ton of people jump up and rebuke me for my beliefs in Jesus Christ, but everyone cheered! Even the speaker thanked me for being so “eloquent and truthful”.
I have been approached by multiple people since then who told me that they loved what I said! I even met one Christian woman who stated that she was so proud of me and that meant the world.
It reads in Luke 1:17 that God will go before me and He proved it to me that day. I am already known as the young woman who spoke up at orientation and the girl who remains firm for what she believes in. I couldn’t ask for a better way to come into my freshman year. I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to my impact.
I was able to show the love of Christ despite what those around me may have thought of Him before. I was able to counter the confusion many Christians may of caused concerning God’s character. The Freshmen came in with one opinion of His acceptance and were able – by God’s grace – to leave with another. I am sure within my spirit that God changed someone’s life because of my words and I am so blessed to know that.
Beyond that God guided my writing and it has taken off among my peers! I was given the opportunity to share about my novella, The Home of Our Hearts, in a smaller lecture and many people now know about my Facebook page, my blogs and my books. They are all so excited to read what I have to say.
I feel so honored to know that God loves me in that way. That he cares about my dreams enough to establish them in a new place like He did today.
I have become a great light, a REACH, a COMPASSION in the lives of the Lobos and it wasn’t because of me. It was because God is continuously good, faithful and marvelous.
He has turned my world upside down and I know He will do so every single day.
I have endless possibilities.
And endless reach – so do you!
It’s all because God is so so so good.
– Deanna ❤