As a girl, I always loved fairy tales. I grew up with two older brothers so needless to say I was a bit of a tomboy, but they couldn’t smother my love of a good princess story. Our favourite bedtime treat was when Dad would tell us a “made up”, a story of his creation. We would be allowed to choose one character each that he would weave into his narrative; mine was always a warrior princess. How I longed to discover I was a true princess, or have a prince fall in love with me!

From an early age, I also had an intimate relationship with God – thanks to my parents who raised me in His ways and taught me that He was there for me. My parents said nightly prayers with us, read us Bible stories, took us to church, taught us in Sunday school, and (as I found out later) faithfully prayed over us in our sleep before they went to bed. From them I learnt that I could tell God anything and bring Him any problem. My Mum hummed worship songs around the house. My Dad taught us that we need not fear others’ opinions of us or what they might say of our faith. We were blessed!

My faithful parents

My faithful parents

Of course there is an intimacy in relationship that is built only through time together and this is true of my relationship with God. I remember talking with God before falling asleep, writing worship songs, drawing pictures to Him, giving sermons to my teddy bears, and even making presents for Him. The only thing missing was a greater knowledge for His Word. I was hungry for its treasures, but could not get beyond the surface. I prayed continuously for the ability to apply His Word to my life and not have it stay as words on the page.

God continued His watch over me with friends who challenged me and kept me on the right path. He gave me a few significant Christian teachers who inspired me, and an extended family who guided and prayed for me. These friends and guides were particularly crucial in my senior high school years and at university where fitting in was important.

At the end of university I decided that my long-term desire to get involved in mission trips was becoming a “now or never” situation. God directed me to go to South Africa (a country that, despite my love of Afrikaans, I had NEVER wanted to go to!) and complete Youth with a Mission’s Discipleship Training School (YWAM’s DTS). It was on this school that I saw my fairy tale dreams come true.  I had a Prince who had chosen me since before I was born. It was time to claim my identity as His beloved princess and bride!

God is in pursuit of each of us. He has chosen everyone to come into His nation of holy priests. But we have a choice, too. We must choose Him. I had made my choice from an early age, and it is one I have kept making at every hardship encountered, and likewise in every moment of ease.  What I had needed was to see what that choice meant – that I was His princess.

I now know that I am first and foremost a daughter of the King. This is my true identity, more than being a wife, mother, writer, occupational therapist, sister, daughter, friend, missionary, or any other worldly title. Clinging to this identity gives me strength to live by His ways, passion to continue worshipping Him, love to give out to others, and hope to see His Kingdom come.

Be sure to read about my involvement in the School of Biblical Studies to see how He answered my prayers regarding His Word, and About Shannon to know how my life has progressed since my DTS.

On DTS outreach in 2008

On DTS outreach in 2008