As I awoke again to the sound of the sea surging on the rocks, the scream of the gulls, and the beautiful vista fanning out before me, I was struck with the thought, “However did I end up in Newfoundland?” Me, whose life was going to be happily-ever- after in the nirvana of Beautiful B.C. The chain of events was unexpected, un-sought, and wandering, yet God brought me to my heart’s home in this extraordinary province.Shattered hopes and dreams, art therapy, and counseling were my journey’s beginning. In-between, struggles, challenges, resistance, longing for the past...but always the realization that my soul felt it would die if I didn’t stubbornly seek a different life. Years of trying to do everything right had not worked. I finally knew I had to “let go and let God” and allow others to lead me. At YWAM Tyler, compassionate antagonists refused to buy into my victim mindset; they drew me out, lifted me up, then sent me out to find new physical, emotional, and spiritual landscapes.
It took years to become grateful for the hard lessons of my broken past, but like so many I know, I’d invested my life in societal norms that didn’t fit me well. My life-rut was as deep as most others until I read the quote, “A rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out.” That quote spoke so deeply to me that I determined to escape my rut rather than continue it. I made ONE DECISION that changed everything ~ at 55, to “walk away” from the corporate world with no known ending. For the first time in 35 years, I allowed my soul to follow the whisper of a simple old dream — a mission trip to Africa.
The next 10 years I unexpectedly lived a missionary life based in Texas. It was hard, challenging, wonderful, inspiring, and life-changing. YWAM and my enlarged faith and understanding formed the foundation for the values and passions I still carry to this day. But it was volunteering in inner cities and living for periods in the developing world that really seared my conscience, challenged my global views, and radically expanded my compassion and spirit. Even now, there are images so alive that I can feel the breezes, the dirt under my feet, the colours of a country, and the faces of extraordinary strangers. Grinding poverty, blank eyes, endless garbage, hopeless futures...yet for those who discover there’s One who knows them by name, there are tears of joy, thanksgiving, and lives turned upside down in gratitude.
So what do these memories have to do with Newfoundland? Well I did, and still do, “let go and let God”, saying “yes” to whatever He asks. When He released me from missions to return to Canada and surprisingly to Newfoundland, I had expectations that have not materialized ~ yet. But I am fully content, at peace, and happier than I’ve been my entire life. Compared to the global reach of missions, I live a small life now. So, was the ten years of teaching and discipleship at YWAM lost on me? No! The principles I learned still form my faith: to offer help to those who are struggling, hope to those who are sinking, healing to those who are suffering, and Heaven to those who are searching. When we give all we are, we can make a lasting difference one life at a time. If I made a difference “passing through” another’s life in missions, now I’m able to commit to individuals for the long haul, continuing to grow and learn from them, keeping my motives straight and my heart soft.
What if...what if...I had never made that one decision to risk, with no next step in sight? I would have missed the life waiting for me. All it takes is to step through one’s fear and be willing to forgo a good life for an extraordinary one! If you do, I promise you'll discover and prove our Father’s love and care for you in every circumstance.
Guest Author ~ Kaaren Robinson, who graciously served on staff at YWAM Tyler from 1998-2007.