As the year ends we look back to remember, reflect, and ask the question what actually happened this year? I normally don’t do this too much, but as I scroll through social media watching everyone answer these questions testifying of the year, I want to share too, but to bring some light to the darkness. They offer questions like what was the most important thing you did this year? Who is the most important/ impactful person you met this year? What changed? The reason I want to share when I normally don’t is that this year has been the most important, impactful, life-changing year of my entire life and I can’t help but testify of GODs goodness, and how damn proud of myself I am.
This year started while I was still on a mission trip, traveling from place to place bringing, preaching, and spreading the love of Christ. I never wanted the constant travel, the extreme crazy things we did for Jesus to stop, I never wanted the trip to end; but all good things must come to an end. In February we returned back to our school-based in Mexico and I graduated from the University of the Nations! It has always been a lifelong dream of mine to travel, and graduate from university, two dreams I never thought would come true but Jesus made it happen together! At that moment where my dreams were fulfilled, I was faced with the reality of asking myself now what? What do you do when you accomplish your dreams? You dream again! Luckily before I even realized I was already dreaming. I had fallen in love with Mexico, with the mission, with Jesus, and never wanted it to end, to leave. So I dreamed, and I discovered that I am not just a person who dreams, I am a person who makes their dreams a reality. I had birthed the dream of studying the bible, reading it front to back, I had dreamed of using that knowledge to help others. I had birthed the dream of becoming a healthy, stable person, and so I made it happen. I worked for room and board for 3 months cleaning toilets and all the cleaning things and then I attended bible school in another part of Mexico. We studied the bible where I was severely challenged and my whole life became homework. But as I studied and came face to face with God, myself, and this world I changed. In just 3 months that dream was accomplished. I read the bible cover to cover, went deep, found the history, the truth, and let it change me. I graduated from that college with top grades and so another dream was fulfilled so I dreamed again. I dreamed of being a missionary, staying living in Mexico, a dream so crazy, so big that I didn’t know if it could happen. This dream meant not returning home to my loved ones, because if I did I wouldn’t be able to return due to covid. This dream meant giving up everything, my comfort, limitations, loved ones, my belongings, my understanding, and knowledge. This dream meant jumping off a cliff and hoping that as I fell the wind would catch me and I would learn to fly. As I pondered, wrestled, and fought with this dream, I felt GOD say “If you jump, I will be with you. I will catch you. I will make you fly. Will you jump and trust me? Will you jump and see all I can do? Will you follow me? Will you stay?” It was the hardest choice I ever had to make, but for the first time in my life, I chose myself. I chose my happiness, my dreams, and so I jumped. I moved countries without leaving the country. I moved on my own with little help, I learned how to live alone, find ways to have support, learn to speak Spanish, the customs, I learned how to start again.
2 months later working in the transition, I joined the staff at a missionary organization, YWAM. Another dream was fulfilled and so I dreamed of starting a new ministry, and when I took the steps to make it happen I was offered to help pioneer a school with a teaching position. I have had no schooling for teaching, no experience teaching and yet they offered, they encouraged and when I prayed and thought it through Jesus said “You are going to be an amazing teacher,” and so I said yes. I studied, wrote an art curriculum grades 1-12 with all my art schooling knowledge. I studied how to teach, I watched as they built our school and I put together our classrooms. I started teaching math grades 6-8, art grades 1-12, and the story of how GOD equips those He calls that I read throughout the bible but specifically in Exodus 4:10-11 become my reality too. I had people asking me where I went to school for teaching, commenting on how good a teacher I was. I watched as my students excelled and passed all their tests with top grades, based on a grading system I had no control over. I watched as my student started to love math and told me how much they do. I am blessed to have all the students get excited about art class and run over to say “Good morning Ms.Destiny'' or just to say hello anytime they see me. Again and again, I am asked how young are you? Where did you go to school? And I have the privilege and amazement to say “I am only 22, I didn’t, I just said yes to GOD and He did the rest.” I have literally no idea how I can do the things I do except to say it’s all GOD. I discovered that even when I didn’t know what to dream next, GOD had dreams for me and knew what my dreams were, and gave them to me. I never wanted to be a teacher, I remember saying to GOD after reading a verse that said teachers will be judged more harshly, “No way. I will never teach unless you teach me your word, and you teach with me.” Load and behold He did that, and I honestly couldn’t have a more perfect job, and so glad He dreamed this for me. No matter how long the hours are, no matter how much work it is, how hard it is, not even the fact that I don’t get paid matters, because each day I am blessed to walk into class and be greeted by my students. The girl who hated and struggled to pass math, to the point she took every math class offered in high school to get good at it, is now a math teacher who absolutely loves math. Each day I am challenged, blessed and so full of joy and excitement to go to school, where I don’t just get to teach but build up leaders of the next generation, and oh man are they ever silly, crazy, loving, bold, and smart. GOD showed me dreams and gave them to me when I didn’t even know I wanted them. Now I hope I can continue to teach, grow in that, and one day maybe gets a degree in teaching, but I think it’s much cooler to say “Nope, no degree, just a powerful, mighty GOD. Want to meet Him and see what He can do?" But I don’t just teach, I teach art at school and a ministry I am a part of. I also work in the kitchen and my 2nd favorite place to work is our cafe, Hope Cafe, and I build houses for those in need every month.
So to answer the question, what was the most important thing you did this year? It’s hard to pick, but if I really look at it all I can say the most important thing I did this year was say Yes to GOD no matter what happened, I fought, chased, and made my dreams a reality, and I chose me. To answer the second question “Who is the most important/ impactful person you met this year?” Obviously, it is Jesus, but I met someone else this year too, someone so unexpected, but I have come to completely love. While I have met tonnes!of amazing people who I have had the privilege to work alongside, cry with, study with, laugh with, workout with, fight with and for, become friends with, fall in love with, the person I never expected to meet was me.
As I started therapy, facing the trauma, abuse, loss, pain, the anger of my life, and as I learned about GOD, who He is, and who He made me be I found myself. I discovered I am bold, daring, brave, strong, someone who looks at her problems, her pain, and faces them head-on. I now know myself as someone who says no to those problems, pain, the past. Saying “You do not get to define me, you do not get to control me, write my story, or continue to influence my life. I get to choose and I choose that this ends with me.” With that statement, I fight to learn to undo all the trauma responses, actions and make the cycle end with me. I am someone who never gives up, no matter how many times I am hit, broken, and on my knees, barely able to stand, I get up and say I chose life, I choose love. I am a warrior. Someone who forgives the past, those who hurt her, and works to not let that past determine the future, but works for newer healthier restored relationships with those people and herself. I found that in this growth I became someone who knows what is healthy and what is not. I learned how to say no, put boundaries up, and choose what is good, to choose herself but still love others. I learned to be kind, patient with myself, and accept, see that I have needs which I never knew of due to abuse and trauma, but I learned to meet them, and not compromise them. I found my voice. I’m ok with not being perfect now because I can see the masterpiece in the making among all the broken shards, which are being glued back together with gold. I learned to accept the reality of everything but move on to a brighter future. Accepting that the past is gone and everything it stole can be restored but the person before all the bad happened is gone, but that person in the bad is gone now too and all that awaits is the new and how beautifully exciting that is. I learned to communicate healthily, fight healthily, to put my thoughts, feelings, and needs into words and actions. I didn’t let the past make me a victim but let GOD make me a victor. Trading my ashes for beauty, rising from the ashes, and choosing to be soft and loving; despite the hardness, the world said I deserved and had a right to. I learned to stop living for others but myself and GOD. To stop fearing what people think of me and shaping myself around those fears, but just being me regardless. I learned to make my own choices despite the options of others. I learned to discipline myself and make healthy choices for my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. I came to accept and see I am beautiful not just outside but inside too. I learned I am capable of all I put my mind to, even when others say I can’t. That I am far more smart, capable, and powerful than I knew. I learned to love 1 Cor 13:4-8 and every day I work at it. I learned to trust God, others, and myself again and not seek validation from others because GOD accepts me and I do too. I learned to let go just a little to risk being seen, risk being silly, risk making mistakes, risk the adventure, risk being loved and loving. I learned to trust and surrender, over and over again. In the surrender, I found more of GOD, myself, and stayed in His will that I know now I will surrender all to have, just to be in; for in His will I am with Him. I have become someone who loves and trusts GOD enough to let Him choose what He wants to do in my life as I just say Yes, despite not seeing or understanding. I learned to feel safe and at home inside myself and that happiness is a choice, not an emotion. I watched myself learn to laugh, learn to smile, and while I am still learning to feel safe to be myself, to smile, to be silly, and free I am so damn proud of all I have become, all I am becoming. I am so proud of myself. I never thought I could ever be like this. I never even could have imagined it, because at the start of this year I didn’t even believe that my past was so bad, that I was hurting so much because I was so used to pain, numbing and disappointment I didn’t even know that the life I was living wasn’t living it was just surviving. But this year I went from surviving to fighting to now just living and learning to be instead of doing. GOD gave me this gift.
John 10:10 says
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”
My life had been stolen but this year GOD began to restore it for me, and I am coming to know this life more abundantly. I chose a new beginning and every single step, moment, second GOD was there, helping me keep going, showing how to live, thrive, and do the impossible. Now I won’t ever give up on myself, and I can’t wait to continue to meet myself. To use all I have been through to help others, to continue to choose what makes me happy and make a real difference in this world. So to answer the last question, what changed? Literally everything, my nationality, my self-image, my relationships, my well-being, my dreams, my closeness with GOD, and so much more. So to end this long testimony I want to answer a question I am asking myself now: what's next? What dreams do I have now? Next year I want to learn to laugh, to play, to be silly, to be free to be me. I want to come out of hiding and use all I learned this year to help others. I want to continue to grow, change and make a change. I want to stop crying and start laughing. I want to start to do all I have plans for but have been holding back on. I want to live and thrive. But most of all I want to continue to live and choose to fall in love with GOD, this world, myself.
So ya, that’s been my year. It’s been incredibly hard, a very dry and wet year full of tears, trials, and tribulations, lessons failed, and learnt, but it’s honestly been worth it all and the best year of my life so far. GOD has brought such growth and fruit out of everything it blows my mind, He truly makes all things new, and takes everything the enemy meant for evil for the good of those who love Him. I can only dream of what the future holds. It’s a surprise and I am so excited to see it when it's time, not rushing ahead but taking it day by day. So if you have read all this I just want to say thank you. Thank you for reading and I hope that this inspires you in some way. Whether that be to chase your dreams, or start therapy (sounds scarier than it is), to start saying no or start saying yes to yourself. But most of all I hope it inspires you to start a relationship, to learn about and to know GOD because all of this is Him. He is the one that told me, open the doors and provide everything to make all this possible. Throughout it all, even when I didn’t trust or believe Him or even when I was mad at Him when I almost gave up, He never left me, He never stopped fighting for me, loving me, and blessing me. Teaching me that His love is real, unconditional, and never fails, leaves, or abandons. His love is 1 Cor 13:4-8 and He wants that for everyone, including you. So ya whatever you take from this may GOD bless you, keep you, lead you into all truth, righteousness, and goodness, and may 2022 be a better year for us all. A year where we Thrive, laugh and be.
All my love,
Destiny A Schuett.