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Danielle Walker has known adversity. In many ways she learned how to pick herself up by the bootstraps and survive. But over the last year, God has been teaching her a new way, with some of His greatest tutorials granted to her in places like Romania & the Philippines.
Isaiah 43: 18-19 says, "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I'm doing a new thing! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
"Growing up with my dad, his love for me was always based on my performance. If I was the best and the brightest, then I would be worthy of his affection. And when I came to know the Lord I projected that works-based relationship onto Him and even brought that with me here to IMPACT195.
When I discovered this discipleship school, I was set on a path to get my doctorate degree in physical therapy. And God was asking me to give up a year of my life! I didn't know how I'd pay for the program but when I checked out their open house week, God really was doing a new thing in my life and I was beginning to perceive it. So I joined the program and resolved to be the best world changer I could be, setting the bar for myself unattainably high.
My first term I learned about humility. Hiking across Catalina Island on my first 12:2 trip, I thought I was going to prove how tough and strong I was - but instead I ended up crying and barely making it up the mountain. God used my IMPACT195 family to show me a tangible expression of His grace and compassion in my weaknesses.
In my second term when we unpacked the book of Nehemiah, I set out to be the most prepared and have all the answers. That absolutely didn't happen. But what did happen, was a discovery of the beauty in working as a body and not a single unit – that success could be collective and shared.
God made a way for me to serve on two international trips while at IMPACT195. The most recent one to the Philippines was remarkable! I met this little girl and we had an instant connection. She reminded me so much of myself. Vanessa was 11 years old and I fell in love with her! One night when some of the kids were playing, an older boy began picking on her and it quickly escalated to him publicly humiliating her. As he yelled in a language I couldn't understand, I tried to defend her, but she wouldn't let me. My heart broke for her and I tried to comfort her but she ignored me and pushed me away. Eventually when she couldn't hold back tears anymore, she ran away and hid.
The next day I ran into her on an outreach. I was so excited to see her that I scooped her up into my arms but she just hung there limp. As I drew her back I saw this sorrow in her eyes. 'You're not mad at me?' she asked. 'Mad?! How could I be mad?' She responded 'Because I didn't talk to you and tell you what was wrong with me…' That day the Lord opened my eyes to see how I had been approaching Him. Vanessa tormented herself with the lie that I was angry with her, just as I have struggled with agonizing over the Lord being disappointed in my sin when I fail to perform. My love for this little girl was a small taste of His love for me and for all of us!
Vanessa wrote this to me in a letter on a bright, bright red piece of paper the day we left:
'Dear Sister Danielle, Hello my sweet sister. I love you very very much. You are so beautiful. I want to play with you and feel safe with you. When you go back to America, I miss you so so much. I promise I never forget you to be my friend. You are so very very sweet sister and loving girl. Your heart is pure and you walk with Jesus. Every night I pray and ask God that He would guide you. I have a big BIG dream that you live here in Caniogan with me. I want to swim in the sea with you. You see the star in the sky, it is so beautiful like you. I want you to live here in Caniogan with me. Thank you and I love you. God loves you so much. Please take care this letter, Vanessa'
This letter has become so precious to me & how precious are our words towards Jesus when we come to Him as a child…
I have been given the incredible privilege to minister to the broken in this world, to love on His behalf, with His heart. In 2012 I have resolved to stop limiting God based on my circumstances or past experiences and look forward to the new thing He's doing in my life. I have realized that all the pain God has sovereignly allowed in my life has been graciously given so that I can minister to others – and for that I am so grateful!'
I have been given the incredible privilege to minister to the broken in this world, to love on His behalf, with His heart. In 2012 I have resolved to stop limiting God based on my circumstances or past experiences and look forward to the new thing He's doing in my life. I have realized that all the pain God has sovereignly allowed in my life has been graciously given so that I can minister to others – and for that I am so grateful!"