So this week has probably been my favorite of the whole School of Ministry and Development because of what the Lord has shown me. Peter Iliyn was our speaker for the week and he first began by sharing the incredible story of his father’s life. Heres a little excerpt to give you an idea of what its like:
Misha, Marusia, and Lena ran up and embraced me. We stood for a long time like that, clinging to each other, weeping and watching Mama’s grave fill up with dirt. We were four orphaned children with a future as uncertain as the swirling desert winds of this strange new country.
Vanya Iliyn’s formative years were spent on the move, traveling the far corners of the world—Russia, Central China, and the Americas—amid seemingly impossible hardships. His journey crossed the landscape of his heart as well. Orphaned and alone, Vanya could look only to God for protection, guidance, and grace. His remarkable story, written in his own words by his eldest son, Peter Iliyn, speaks to the power and majesty of God.
(side note he wrote a book called “Out of The Far Corners” based on his father’s life in his dad’s perspective, super stoked to read it)
His story began when Peter’s father was only 4.5 years old and his family was escaping Ukraine to seek safety in China which was extremely hard to get into. So, it ends up being this huge story of his survival and God’s hand on his life. But the one thing that stuck out to me, most from his life, was that at the age of only four and a half this little boy was finding dark corners to escape life, abuse, reality, and his surroundings to go and to raise his hands to the heavens and pour out his complete heart to God- all his thoughts, all his feelings, all his desires, all his needs. It just hit me how much he truly grasped the father heart of God.
Then Peter told us, “You know, God knows I share this story everywhere I go and that He called you all to SOMD and He knew you would hear this story.” He then encouraged us to ask God why, what is it you have for me from this story. So I did.
Upon doing so, I realized too many times when I come home after a hard days work I go straight to destress and detoxify by jumping on Instagram or Snapchat. God told me that I need to find my own corner to pour my heart out to Him, instead of trying to cover up or find peace and satisfaction through these time wasters.
God also reminded me of Phillipians 4:6 which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” He showed me that yes, first of all, He sees my whole day and what I go through and all my thoughts, but it’s one thing for Him to know, but a whole other thing for me to personally tell Him. Sometimes we think everything is going so terribly and that God isn’t going to come through, but the question is, have we made it known to Him?
And this is so beautiful because it truly shows how deep and intimate God wants to be with each and every one of us and I love it! That He is truly after relationship with me!
And so of course, the next day comes and I have plenty to talk about. First things first, I toss my backpack aside and grab my journal and head up to my bunk to spend time simply talking to Jesus, and let me tell ya day one, oh so good. The Lord wrecked me. His words are so sweet. I mean I’m crying, Jesus is crying.
So here’s a little something from my journal of what He’s speaking. What better way to creatively journal than from your own journal.
“This morning the Lord spoke to me and gave me a revelation of His love telling me He loves me to infinity and beyond, that He would die ten times over for me, that He has no regrets in dying for me, in choosing me, in adopting me. Wow, Father I love you so much. I feel so dirty and unworthy and full of mess-ups, but yet you say you have no regrets on me! Wow, God you are so good! You blow my mind!
“In worship this morning one of the lyrics was, ‘You didn’t want heaven without us,’ and holy cow, hit me in the feels. You are so good God. God I love you, your heart, and every single thing about you and theres no one like you and no one that competes with you. God you are unique, I love you for being you. I’ve never heard anyone say this or if it’s sayable but God I’m proud of you. I’m so proud to have a loving, sweet, and perfect Father. And Lord I can feel you breaking away the religious me because in my head I was like, I’ve never heard anyone say it and I’ve heard debates about pride and being proud of someone. But, I just said it and could see you crying tears of joy and that you, too, are proud of me. Even just in saying it and overcoming and not caring about what religion says but just caring about you and our relationship. And God I’m so proud of you because you are the creator and you hold total control over the universe and this, this is how you run it (?!) and treat us out of love like wow. That’s unheard of on earth and you go about it 100% perfectly. You amaze me God, never stop!”
After chatting with God I realized like this stuff, these sweet words and memories don’t come from anything else except for intimate relationship with Him. And relationship is ALL he wants. It’s not like He’s just up there waiting, bored, sitting around, but rather He’s on the edge of His seat. He’s eagerly waiting to hear your voice rise up to Him, for us to each talk to Him and pour out our hearts. For He is always there, He never had an off day or a sick day or vacation days and sometimes I’m just like, ‘Woah, God. How in the world do you do it?’ But, He is God. There’s nothing He can’t do! Jesus, that’s my Father!