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“The Greater The Struggle…”

“The Greater The Struggle…”

 

“The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph!” … That was a quote from a video I watched from my DTS. At the time, this quote seemed like a paradox to me. Like the more I suffered, the more “glorious” my life would be. But now I realize that is not the case.

I’m from LA, and I have lived in a cluttered, disheveled place for as long as I can remember. In fact, when I look back, I always remember finding myself in some pretty peculiar places and in some pretty interesting roles. But I guess you could say, I never really knew who I was until my DTS. During my parents’ separation, I didn’t know who I was, and what I did know of myself wasn’t in the way it should have been. I thought of myself as worthless and believed it. Imagine seeing yourself worth three pennies, when God tagged you to be worth a million dollars. Like I said, you may not understand; but when I watched the video “The Butterfly Circus”, I heard something that I’ve never heard before: I wasn’t a “broken kid”, but someone who had so much to give and so much learned through a long and difficult path. 

In my DTS, we had a famous saying, “die to self.” I had never heard that before. But once, one particular leader told me during our “Affirmation Circle” on Outreach, that she had never met anyone who had “died to themselves” more than I had (and that has stuck with me ever since).

This was so important to me because it took so many years of me “boxing Jesus in”, that I did not understand what that meant when it came to God. And in this particular season of my life, I couldn’t even GRASP what God has done for me. Countless hours crying and explaining to others the pain I was going through in my parents’ divorce, believing that God was not there through it all when in all reality, He was there all along, but in a way that I hadn’t understood. He was there through the people who listened to me. He was in the form of a friend, like my strong and independent mother who brought me through the darkness.

God is a friend who purchased the WORLD at the price of His Son and brought me to Australia. What more could I want, than that? I could not possibly IMAGINE the depths of which God felt the pain of literally DYING to His own needs to meet mine. And for what? So I could say “I’ve been through a lot…”?
Over the course of my whole DTS, I’ve learned to sacrifice myself, my own needs, and even my desires to be either a friend or a leader. It isn’t always easy, but I do what I must and I do what I need to lift others up and push them on and to not do it with grumbling or anger – to do it with love.

John 15:13 reads: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” There were times when I had to deny myself the pleasure of getting things done the way I wanted. And had I not, I wouldn’t have the friends I have today. It’s impossible to tell you everything I’ve learned, but the most important thing I learned was how to be a good friend, and how to be a SELFLESS friend.

One of my closest mates on the DTS is a well-known person for her honest tongue and unwavering loyalty to her friends. We have spent moments laughing, crying (mostly on my part), and confiding in one another. And at the price of a few bumps in the road, what’s not to love? She has taught me to be adventurous, courageous, and to be honest and true to myself. I don’t think I would have gone as far had God not sent her my way.

And I think living with God is the same. As far and as deep as God calls you – beneath deep waters, through the “wilderness”, etc. – why wouldn’t you risk a “few bumps” and bruises to seek him? Let me ask you this: If God were not our friend, why would we do anything that He says? If the “reward” were to know that you WILL make it out alive, that you WILL come back a victor in the end, would you do it? And would you do it for the story, or for a friend?
If you want to be that friend, or find that friend that Teddy was talking about, look at our website to see what we can offer you.
Written by: Teddy Toyotome // Former MCA DTS student

 

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