‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done, But what’s been done for you.

Yesterday morning I was handed a Bible study on John 21. I was so ready. Maybe because I already had my coffee. Maybe because it was handed to me with such generosity. I immediately knew You were speaking, Father. And I was ready to listen.

During Jesus’ appearance at the Sea of Tiberius, the disciples were given an instruction. The Bible study notes said: “go to the place God told you to be, do the last thing God told you to do, use your gifts and talents you have been given, wait for further instructions, follow the instructions-even if they don’t seem logical, and experience blessings-God honors work and obedience.” BLESSSSSSS. Thank You, Lord. I am all about that obedience word this year. Lord, when You’re speaking, I’m learning to listen to the instruction and follow through. I tend to get my cart before my horse, a lot. I get so excited about doing kingdom work that I miss the preparation and the wait. But my God, You are teaching me.

This Bible study was like right on point with Pastor Michael Todd’s Marked sermon about obedience. Pastor Michael Todd used David’s anointment in 1 Samuel 16 to illustrate the need to “do the last thing God told you to do and spend time in His presence.” Lord, I love Your timing, when You build upon things I didn’t even realize were connected. Exactly how when diving deeper into John 21 where Peter experiences “complete restoration.” Peter previously denied Jesus three times, now he is questioned three times and he is able to say “Yes, Lord.” 

“You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.”

So, this is my prayer. I pray that I know to whom I belong. I pray that I stop hiding my shame. I pray that stop being crippled by fear. Lord, I have been given new life. I am made new. Abba, Father, I know who I am, I know whose I am. Thank you for where my brokenness brought me to. Thank you for loving me when I didn’t even know what love was. Thank you for loving me when I hated myself. Thank you for doing all you did even before all I had done. Thank you for teaching me to serve in the waiting. Thank you for preparing me. Lord, I pray that I take you up on the opportunity you have given me to spend time in your presence. Thank you for wanting me that much. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I gave it up and told the Lord that He can have it now.

Hannah Brencher, who I might stalk on social media and have seen her talks on more than one occasion, posted: “steal this prayer: Lord, place me where I’ll grow the most. Teach me to love the dirt that transforms me. Give me eyes that see the golden threads in my pain. Let me be a lighthouse in this valley. Let it be so.”

I read that and I was like all ready. Like Ok, God, yes, place me where I’ll grow the most. Then, wait. Just a doggone minute. Home girl, say what? Teach me to LOVE the dirt that transforms me. Nope. Not happening. Shut ya mouth. Excuse me. What now? Blesssssss. Ok, God, I hear You. For real this time. I hear You. Love the dirt. Man, sometimes, my human little brain cannot fathom the love You want for us or through us.

Then I have days like today, where Lord, You are knocking on my heart and say: but that’s my child too. That person that abused me. That person that hurt me. That person that cut me off in traffic. That person that shortchanged me at the store. That person that wanted to argue with me just for the sake of arguing. That person backseat driving. That person that makes my blood just boil. That person with trust issues for dayssss and walls so high they can’t even see anymore. That’s my child too. 

Then I realize I am all of those things too. I hurt people. I cut them off in traffic. I make mistakes. I interrupt. I wince when others drive. And best believe I got trust issues and walls. Lord, I am no better than anyone else, and yet, You forgave me. Even as I typed this, I want to defend that one time I cut someone off in traffic and explain it away. Lord, forgive my defensive heart. I forget sometimes that I am a Kingdom Woman. I heard this sermon, called Marked, from Pastor Michael Todd. Lord have mercy. I am marked. I am Yours. I am forgiven and I have the power to forgive others as You forgave me. I do not have to live this way. I have been given freedom. My pastor has been in Romans lately and it just keeps applying to my life, over and over. Romans 8:15 says: You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear: instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, Abba, Father!

So, here is my prayer today. I am changed. I am marked. I am a Kingdom woman. I pray that I remember that. I pray that I remember who I belong to. I pray that I remember I have a spirit of adoption, not fear. I pray that I continue to forgive and grow every single day. I pray that I learn to mature in my walk with you every single day. I pray that I remember those even the dirt transforms me. I pray that I learn to love the dirt. Thank you for allowing me to come to you with all my walls, baggage, and dirt. Thank you for loving me too much to let me stay that way. Thank you for knocking down my walls gently and gracefully. Thank you for unpacking my baggage and carrying it for me. Thank you for letting me pick up the cross. Thank you cleaning the dirt off me and letting it transform me. Lord, heal this defensive heart of mine that pushes others away. I pray that my heart is welcoming to others and does not become hard-heartened. I pray that I show your love with those around me. I pray that I am always pointing right back to you. I pray that I apply what I’ve learned from the pastor in Romans. I pray for what I learned in Pastor Michael Todd’s sermon. I pray that I continue to obey your commands. I pray that I continue to trust you. I pray that I depend on you, not my own understanding. Thank you for working miracles in my life. I pray that I become an answer to a problem. I pray that I continue to serve. I pray that I torment what torments my leaders. I pray that you keep working on my heart. I pray that I hear your commands. I pray that I spend more time, quiet and still, listening for your commands. I pray for humility. I pray that I give you my heart. I pray that I stop giving power to satan’s lies. I pray that I fill my life with your word. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.