I have seen firsthand in my life how God can make beauty from ashes. I have experienced joy for mourning in a real and powerful way!I had childhood that was full of ups and downs. When I was 6 years old, my parents got divorced. It came as a shock to me. I remember not knowing what was going on and have very little memory of the whole divorce process.
As a matter of fact, I have no memory of my parents telling us anything, but I’m sure they did sit us down and explain what was happening.
I grew up being a very shy child, and I would always try to predict the future. I was anxious and nervous a lot of time. From very early on, I was afraid of the future.
A few years after my parents got divorced, my mom remarried. We moved from Winkler to Schanzenfeld and my childhood dream came true. I got my first horse! I have loved horses, ever since I was little girl! I got to compete in barrel racing and rodeo for 7 years on an amazing older horse. His name was King. It was a dream come true! I had horses for 10 years and I had so many incredible experiences with my horses. It shaped me in a way that I will cherish forever!
2016 rolled around, and I graduated school. I had no idea what I wanted to do or be. I still had horses, but I quickly realized that having horses is a big financial investment. I couldn't really afford to take care of them the way I wanted to.
Earlier in August of 2015, I had decided to buy another horse because I knew King wouldn’t last forever. Let’s just say me and my new horse didn’t get along. This new horse got injured in June of 2016 and was out for the whole season. That was crushing for me, but I continued to compete on King.
My old horse was 26 now and I knew he wouldn’t last forever. I got a job in August of 2016. As time went on, I decided to retire King; I knew he was in pain. In June of 2017, my younger horse got diagnosed with Navicular. I was told that I would never compete on her again. Now I had two retired horses, and I couldn’t afford to just have them sitting around.
King was in pain and it wasn’t right for me to ignore that. I ended up putting my old horse down in November of 2017. It was hard, but I knew that was the right thing to do. As for my other horse, I decided to try and sell her. In March of 2018 I put her up for sale on Facebook. In a matter of 5 days, I sold her. The chapter of my life of having horses was officially over. What would I do next?
A few years earlier, my dad had died of cancer. That was something I never expected. I was very sad, hurt and dealt with grief for a while afterwards. One thing that I wasn’t prepared to deal with was regret.
In the back of my mind, I had this deep-seeded regret. I was unsure if my Dad knew I loved him. There were things I wanted to tell him but never did. These moments would play out in my head over and over. In a way, these missed opportunities and regrets haunted me.
For a long time, I let these regrets control me. I found myself replaying those situations everyday. It was such a tough season if my life! I couldn’t shake those regrets, and and I lost my joy. Looking back, I can see that God was with me and that he was comforting me. Even when I couldn’t see it!
In the back of my mind, I always thought about a missionary training place called YWAM. It had never worked out when I had horses because that took a lot of my time and money. In May, a friend come home from YWAM. She told me that I would love it and that I should do the Discipleship Training School (DTS) there. I wasn't 100% sure, but it was definitely a possibility. I told her I’d think and pray about it.
Within a few weeks, God spoke very clearly to me that he wanted me to go to YWAM. The next decision was where and when. There are YWAM campuses all over the world. My heart was immediately drawn to Texas, but I was open to other places as well. Deep down, I know I would go to Texas, but I waited on the Lord. Soon, I felt very strongly that God wanted me to go to Texas. Tyler, Texas specifically. By the end of May, I had applied to YWAM. I got accepted just days after I applied! Now it was official, I would be going to YWAM Tyler at the end of September. Just a few months away!
The next few months before were an absolute blur. God was so faithful to provide what I needed, and I got everything done that I needed to. Before I knew it, I was at YWAM.
Within the first few days of being there, I knew that this was where I was supposed to be. This was just the right time with the right people and the right place. God was so faithful! He spoke to me so often about my identity and calling and the things he wanted to do in my heart during my time at YWAM.
One of the main reasons I went to YWAM was to receive healing of grief and regret from my Dad’s death. I was fully prepared to deal with the grief and regret I had from my Dad’s death. And God was so faithful to answer my prayer!
I had many conversations with people.Through a lot of prayer I came to realize that I needed to forgive myself for not saying the things I wanted to. I really desired to be free of my guilt, but I knew that it was going to happen in God’s timing and way. In the fourth week of my DTS we had a teaching about the "Plumbline of God." This teaching was all about examining ourselves and the issues we had.
We had a ministry night that Thursday. We were split into groups, shared our life stories and prayed for healing for the painful things in our past. When it was my turn, I went through my entire life. I shared about my Dad’s death and how I held onto this regret. I had written a letter to my dad a few days before, and I shared it at this time. That alone was so healing for me! After I was done sharing, I had this overwhelming feeling of joy come over me. I’ve never had that before! I felt God turn my mourning into joy. I no longer feel grief or guilt over the situation.
Since that moment I have continually seen God grow in me a new joy. He has given me a joy that I’ve never had before! I can truly say that I’m the happiest I’ve been in years!
The last day of my DTS's lecture phase was on December 21, which was the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s death. That day, I reflected on all that God had done in my life. I was overflowing with joy and thankfulness. I feel like God was redeeming my most painful memory. God is a redeeming God!
God is a God that makes beauty from ashes and He truly does turn mourning into joy! I have seen God take my most painful moments and redeem them. He made them something beautiful. I am forever grateful for all the things God has done in my life!
I wanted to share all this with you so that you would know that God can take anything and make it beautiful. And also know that God is with you in your darkest moments and in your happiest moments!
- Sabrina, DTS Graduate. See more of Sabrina's blogs here.
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