Beginning in April 2014 I will be embarking on an 18-21 month photo journalism school with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) as part of a travelling team united by their eagerness to learn the relevance of photography for the prevention of injustice. What a mouthful. Want the naked truth? I believe I'm called to obey a God that loves to kindle potential in each of us and for reasons beyond me, He chooses us to partner with Him in His awe-inspiring will. I'm desperate to see how my artistic flair can be harnessed and relevant to preventing the giants of the world's injustices.
For this new adventure I have begun a new blog and if you'd like to follow my story, as well as hear more about this school, this is where it'll be told: http://bethanuitterdijk.weebly.com
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Monday, December 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I want to be careful not to get in the habit of writing victorious and upbeat blog-posts that come towards the end of one of God's lessons. Doing so, whilst seeming like it celebrates God (and true it does) paints a rather biased picture that the whole of my faith looks like this; like a baton being passed from one warm lesson to another. Tonight, with my eyes wet and red in that tell-tale way, and past the hour I ought to have gone to bed at, I want to write about the middley part of walking with God. The part where the ending is still all blurry and when faith is at its ficklest. Right here, I feel stuck. I daydreamed a few days ago, seeing myself hanging with my hands gripping a high bar, letting go and soon being caught by God before I reached harm. This adequately depicts where I'd say I am now, in the free-fall part, waiting for the reassurance of the catch. But the thing is, I feel like I've been in this free-fall part for a while now, for long enough actually. I hope in God's guidance that as January 2014 begins I will join a photography school with YWAM, backpacking 5 continents for 18 months. I've grown to feel sure that this is His desire for me, and yet I know awfully little about the school. I don't know the where's, the when's, who I'll meet or how I'll meet them. I don't know what comes after the school or whether I'll have all I need to finish it at all. I don't know what visas I need, or what injections. I don't know how long I've got left at home with my family, I just don't know. Oh I am so impatient, I vaguely remember asking God in the past to teach me patience, but I thought He'd do it quicker than this. Whilst I shouldn't hide that at the moment choosing faith feels naive, vulnerable and uncomfortable, it is far better and sweeter than beginning to fathom a plan that doesn't incorporate God's. And so from here I write to you, dear reader, wherever you are, with my faith like dental floss. I hope and I wait, trusting that if God pulls this off, it'll be one of the best lessons yet.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
I'm one of those people that thinks a lot, I think. I wonder whether people around me have minds racing just the same, and whether this inner-pace and race of thoughts and observations is normal; going on in each of us. Sometimes it feels like there's traffic within my head. I'm not meaning to sound poetic, nor do I propose that I have this pulsating brain that is constantly growing and calculating my surroundings, that's not the picture I'm trying to draw. But rather I feel rarely and subtly aware right now that my mind may be what consumes me most. It is full of what I'm noticing about my life, my work, my works, my relationships. I'll mull over how the majority of my time is being spent and stretch to learn how better I can use my time. I'll pressurise myself with expectations to change, to grow, to perfect, to be less of the me I am and more of the me I feel like I want to be. The worst thing of all is that I cover and permit this inward-looking tendency because I feel it's my duty to make sure I'm doing okay and that I'm moving forward in my faith. Sometimes, like now, I'll sit and my churning thoughts become churning prayers which are muddled and long, and I tie myself in a knot. I've confused myself and lost my perspective and forgotten whether I feel like I'm doing okay with God or not; whether I should be smiling or crying. But then, this triumphant realisation rises in me: You're so God... You're so above me; You're so sovereign. It's so simple; it's so beautiful. I'm called to look to Him and not to myself, we all are. In my day-to-day life I'm noticing the difference between when I do and when I don't create the room to be still and dwell on God's godliness. Looking to Him isn't my default, it needs practice as I convince my mind to stop looking to myself. Yet, slowly but surely, with God's aid and lure, a change in habit is being made.
Friday, April 12, 2013
I don't want to be writing right now. Perhaps this contends for the worst way to begin a blog post, but regardless, it's true. My mind is lazily searching for words and my fingers are stiff and stubborn against typing. But I want to ask: what happens when life doesn't feel remarkable? I've had times when my walk with God feels quick-paced and vibrant and enticing and full of reason to be excited, but what does it mean when there is a lull and a deprivation of anything worth noting, or telling, or writing about? Are these times when God is doing less? Have I again gradually dropped in the distance-scale to being far from God? I recently led a group of youth with a Bible study on how God commanded Israel to perceive the importance of remembering. Particularly the first handful of books in the Old Testament really really home-in on how significant it was for these people to remember. They were to make habits of telling their children about God's revealed character and what He had already done for them. They were to have clothing specifically designed to act as reminders for them. God was so thorough in explaining His expectation that this nation Israel needed to respond to Him by diligently remembering all He had shown them already. In this Bible study we ended with the challenge to each other to add something to our lives that encourages remembering what God has done. Solely motivated by wanting to practice what I preach I have begun my version: intentionally pausing at the end of each day. This looks like stopping to recall in my mind everything which happened that day, it's quite simple really. I've found that there are quiet yet spectacular moments within each day which naturally get brushed under the carpet as they are hurried past and subsequently lost. In this action of pausing some of the more special parts of that day are resurrected to my consciousness and I'll dwell on them for just a short while, recognising God's slight hand and feeling grateful. I guess I'm ending with a lesson that I find warm and encouraging: we can alter what we find worthy of celebrating. In my own life I've felt like there hasn't been anything sparkly enough to write about on here. Rather than this being a symptom of an unremarkable season prescribed by God, it is no more than an issue of perspective. There is hope!
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
y 21st birthday a friend asked me what present I wanted from God. Initially I found this a bizarre concept but the child in me quickly arose with the valid point: what could I lose? After all, I hadn't asked God for a birthday gift for 21 years so I was surely due something special. But what did I want? Upon arriving in Hawaii and consistent for the first chunk of months I couldn't escape hearing about photography, it was being pushed up right before my nose. I would accidently meet people who were photography students and hear more about the role of photographs in raising awareness within and outside of the Christian world. My natural response to this was a growing desire to stretch my passion for the arts into exploring photography. And so on the 18th of February, 2012, I prayed to God asking Him for a professional camera. Later that day my room-mate gave me 21 gifts and one of them was a small eraser. This edition of erasers came in 100 shapes and sizes for children to collect and swap. A small few of these shapes were little cameras and as I opened the plastic wrapping, in my hand was a brightly coloured camera-eraser. Never underestimate God's sense of humour! I was overwhelmed with God's faithfulness as I understood that although that day I wouldn't be the boastful owner of a Canon camera, that I could take this little eraser as a promise that one day I would. God would provide. This blog post is to be such a celebration of God. Our God truly delights in being involved in our lives and He adores it when we credit interventions, provisions and blessings to Him. Later in the year I was given money and so without a penny of my own I have bought a Canon DSLR camera. This gift was worth waiting for!
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
- Our visas - We miraculously got our Mongolian visas approved and returned to us within 6 days (!) but when we are in Mongolia we will need to extend this 30-day visa and we ask for prayer for this to be a smooth and prompt process
- Finances - I am so blessed to already have handfuls of testimonies of God's provision for me but I am still in great need of money towards outreach. I fully trust that God will provide for me in order to serve Him in Mongolia and have seen Him provide for me first in all the smaller details (I got given a rucksack; a sleeping bag; tooth-paste; shampoo, all from different people), reviving my faith. I ask for prayer for me and my team that before we leave on the 4th we would see our money come in
- Teaching - in Mongolia woman aren't particularly respected and neither are young people. As an all-girl team under the age of 25 we ask for prayer that we would be considerate to the culture and present ourselves in a way which shows we are worthy to be respected and to teach the Word of God. We trust that although being all girls can be seen as a weakness, God's power is made perfect through weakness and He is going to use us greatly!
Thank you so much for your prayers
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
These past few weeks I have never felt more like a child before God. I imagine I can get quite precocious in front of Him as I recognise the lessons He has evoked from me, but there has been little room for this prideful perception recently. I have been in such need of His practical input and in this posture of helplessness I have once again been confronted with His faithful character. And so I write in celebration of this! As I often find in obeying God, sometimes all I have in my hands is an understanding of His will and yet no concept of how I can pursue making this into a reality. With being home for 6 months in 2011 before jetting off again in September I had far too little time to earn fully towards this Bible school. As I fretted and regularly reminded God of this broken equation of too-much-fees and too-little-earning time I began to gain tea-spoon testimonies of His provision which prompted me to acknowledge that He is helping me to come here too. During my Chester stop-off in 2011 I felt Him challenge me to ask Him for money at the start of every week and to trust that He would provide. Each week, without exception, I prayed and saw small amounts come in, sometimes on the last day of the week (I think God has a sense of humour), but nevertheless, the money came. Now, as the final term of my school loomed, so did the deadline of the final payment as to which I could not pay. I write to celebrate that a month before the end of lecture-phase all my school fees came in! I am still hoping and anticipating that God will continue to miraculously provide for me to serve in Mongolia and feel my faith has been revived. I too want to acknowledge that it was so spiritually uncomfortable to be in need before God, but when I took the time to look to His steadfast character I was able to find more integral comfort in that place than anywhere else.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
zēmioō.’ The verse says 'For His sake I have suffered loss (...in order that I may gain Christ' - 3:8b) and ‘zēmioō’ is the Greek word for 'suffer' and it describes sustaining damage and receiving injury. It really changes everything! It shows that there is a cost to leaving everything in order to follow Christ’s example. I’m thinking about my own life and when I feel the sting of loss I can recognise my nature to constrict these experiences to being as little as possible. In this small book I see a great call/reminder that it should be costing something to be a believer of God; to represent His gospel; to shine blatant in a dark world. It has provoked this inner debate in me because in one sense I understand and live in the freedom of Christ. This is freedom from needing to perform in order to receive everything He has done. He already paid such a price, so why is there still a cost? This didn’t rise up in me out of my reluctance to pay-up but I just wondered where in my understanding I had gone wrong. I realised that whilst it is true that Christ achieved everything He needed to through His life and the cross and whilst He paid the price so that I don’t have to, my faith in Him will still need to manifest in some way. If there was anything I learnt from the book of James, it was that true faith manifests. Therefore I think Paul was showing that for one who is a zealous follower of Christ, they can expect to follow really closely in Christ's footsteps. This means denying yourself and denying your rights and embracing rejection. This isn't the price we pay to be righteous (for it is by His efforts, not ours) but rather this is what faith will look like. There will be a sting as each believer learns to live in a way where their personal, self-centred desires suffer and whimper. But Jesus is worth it, isn't He?
Monday, April 30, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
I like to climb
I like those height defeating steps and my fingers searching for grip
With my humble flag strapped to my back,
I anticipate the time this season will be marked 'complete.'
I have my map the world gave me
Its short-cuts and must-sees flashing to my attention
The described mild route up a neat lawn
Over a neat hill
Framed with neat rows of daisies.
My eager toes, which pull my feet,
Which obey my heart's hunger for this climb
Seize to a stop.
Before me I see the majestic face of a steep mountain's cheek
I see rocks and edges and crevices and creeks
My sight surrenders before the height does.
But before me I feel a beckoning
A deep welcoming, voicing
"I know they didn't tell you what this really is,
But I've approved this climb.
By My grace you will walk and see the most of Me
To which you've ever been exposed."
This is a poem I wrote when I felt confronted with the overwhelming depths that searching out the Bible takes you to.
Friday, November 25, 2011
The pattern of life here has started to take its swing and just as being in Hawaii got slightly less recurrently amazing, our class was whisked away on a three-day retreat to Makapala. For one of our breaks we all jammed into a van and got driven to the mountain coast. There we were invited to hike with a couple of staff members up to the top of one of the heights. Wearing flipflops, armed with a bottle of water, a camera and the awareness of my limited sportiness, I was sceptical when God asked me to go on that hike. But I went, and we climbed past post-card views and ate the tree's fruits on the way. The climb itself was so hard, but remarkably once sitting on the dusty, windy surface of the peak, the trials it took the get there were no longer significant. We sat higher than a plane which flew past whilst birds circled and God's air-con cooled us. God the artist struck me dumb. On the walk down I contemplated how wealthy we are in God. We are so rich when we are His! He reminded me that on earth we are called to store up treasures in heaven, and pointed out that no where else on this world can we be investing in the future and yet experience such richness in the now.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
s, sea breeze, hiking, acting and delving into the life-giving depths of the Bible. I remember being in an evening worship service in India over two years ago and hearing the speaker mention Hawaii. I asked God that if Hawaii would be a place He would take me to, that the speaker would mention the State three times. They did. Now that I'm here I get occasionally overwhelmed by God's faithfulness to me and how long ago He began preparing me to obey His lead.