From the Start
I look back months ago when my mom first brought up the idea of going to Ellerslie. To be honest I had no real desire to go along but she had already signed me and my dad up also. I remember a specific time only weeks before we were to leave, I was walking past the hallway when I over heard my parents talking about it and discussing whether or not we should even go at all. I just stood there and contemplated whether I should pop in and tell them I didn’t want to go. But something was holding me back. Without a second thought I moved past the room and didn’t think about it again.
Fast forward to weeks later and me, mom and dad and my good friend were on our long fourteen hour drive to Colorado. Little did I know as we laughed, talked and played games like I spy with my little eye, that my life was about to change. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I mean Ellerslie? Wasn’t it for like super spiritual people? Somewhere in the back of my head I had concluded that I would probably go through the motions, have a good time, and then I would return to my, what I thought was okay life.
Change of Heart
We had only signed up for the one week semester so I imagined it would go by fast. I was already making new friends by the first day, (which is saying a lot for an introvert.) I remember the very first message Eric told us on banquet night and how much it impacted me. By the middle of the week I already felt like people were becoming family as we strove for one common goal, more of Jesus. It wasn’t till day four that I truly began a life change in my heart after a long, intense day of powerful sessions. I remember that evening going to my dorm, kneeling on the floor and pouring my heart out to the Lord. I didn’t want to go through the motions, I wanted a true change. I no longer wanted to doubt my position in the Lord because I reckoned with the truth and I KNEW my position, which is in Christ. That day was just the beginning as God continued to pin point areas of my life and I was continually asking myself am I surrendering this area of my life completely to the Lord?
Five Weeks More
Like I had thought, one week went by too fast. It was already the last day and I felt like I needed more. It was early in the morning and I was sitting around the warm fire place chatting with dad. I mentioned to him that I wish I could stay for the classic semester. He looked at me seriously and said, “You could stay if you want.” I remember looking at him thinking he was joking with me but he repeated the fact that he was serious. Now that there was a slim possibility that I could actually stay, I considered, do I even want to stay? The next couple hours I spent praying and asking God if this was truly what he wanted me to do. I had to call my work to see if they would even let me off for five more weeks. The chances of them allowing that much time off was very slim and as I dialed the number I settled for what I was expecting. Once they said they needed me back, then I would know that God wanted me else where. The call was short and amazingly they were totally fine with my decision to stay. I had my answer and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the Lord would do!
The second week there was defiantly the hardest for me. After realizing that God had spoken to me and wanted me to stay, the enemy wasn’t happy with my decision. He was throwing all sorts of complications and distractions to try and get my focus off of Christ. I noticed several people started to not feel well and multiple people had to stay in there dorms because of sickness. One morning I woke up with pink eye which eventually spread to the other eye. I was in a lot of pain and it was very hard to concentrate on the sessions as my eyes felt like they were on fire. After that slowly started to heal I was having headaches and one morning I woke up with a terrible migraine. I didn’t think I was going to make it through the message without throwing up. I remember praying during that whole session and when Eric started talking about spiritual warfare, it was exactly what I needed to hear and afterwards I asked a few people to pray for me. By the next day I noticed people weren’t getting as sick anymore and I never got another headache.
One of the areas I was really struggling with during my time there was the holding back on prayer. It was very difficult for me to get my words out that were in my head and so I would just refrain from praying at all. I was so worried after hearing everyone else prayers that mine seemed too short and insignificant. But that was a lie from the enemy that I continually listened to. Not long after moving into a new dorm with two new roommates we all made it a priority to pray together every morning before our morning sessions. It became one of my favorite times of the day and to see God working in and through each of the girls not only in prayer but in answered prayer. That time of wholly surrendering myself to God and not focusing on what others thought of my prayers has changed my prayer life today. The moment I decided to not listen to the lies of the enemy and take that step of surrender my prayer time no longer consisted of me trying to come up with big, elaborate words but instead I was talking with the Creator, pouring out my heart and letting Him speak in and through me.
Until Next Time
I can’t express how much my time at Ellerslie has blessed me. Three months ago all I was expecting was a week of me going through the motions and returning to my okay life. Now I am a woman who is completely sold out for Jesus! And nothing, I mean NOTHING could ever separate me from His love. I know what it truly means in Proverbs 3:5-6 when it says,
“Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
I not only gained head knowledge, which is good, but most importantly I have relationship with Jesus that continues to grow each day! I no longer make excuses why I don’t have time to read my bible because now I can’t help but read my bible every day. I no longer hold back from praying because now I enjoy the fact I get to communicate with the Father and know that He hears me. I long for a deeper relationship and intimacy with Him and as I keep my focus on Him it will grow bigger and stronger. I’m so grateful for all the staff and fellow students who have encouraged and pressed me closer to Jesus. I dearly miss my Ellerslie family and I hope to join another semester this summer! Until then I look forward to making new memories and seeing where God leads me on this wonderful journey called life!