Let ’em know, we gon’ rise, we gon’ shine.

“Do you think Jesus is better off with you as one of His followers?”

That’s what my The Gospel of Mark Bible study just asked me. Like talk about a loaded question. If You had asked me when I started this study, my answer would have been different. My walk with You has changed so much since then. I stopped carrying all that baggage around, ya know that guilt, shame, all the hot mess. It’s a whole lot easier to walk when you’re not carrying baggage. And my hands are open and free to help others now too.

The pastor reminded us yesterday that the Promised Land is wherever You are and we belong to Your Kingdom. He said the Kingdom of God is present now and we are part of a greater Kingdom than anything this world has to offer us. He continued preaching with even in the battles, there is still a sense of victory, so keep laboring. Even when we don’t see the Heaven advances, there is still a sense of victory, so keep laboring. The war has always been won, we’re on the winning side, the deck is stacked.

This was a continuation from last week’s message. Where he said we are ambassadors of Christ. We need to act like we’re members of another Kingdom. He said we are not the warrior, You are. We can’t force others to follow You, even though I tried once, totally failed. I just wanted my friend to know the love and grace that I know, but I said the wrong thing and sent her running scared. I was like 15, my heart was in the right place, but boy my words were out of order. The pastor said we are called to communicate the message of the One who sent us. Now that I spend actual time in the Word, studying, my words are more clear. I have been given authority now.

The pastor always ends the service with Matthew 28:18-20 which says: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The fact that You gave me, of all people, authority to make disciples kinda blows my mind. Like who even am I? Oh that’s right, I am a child of You, God. I am Yours. I am blameless. I am holy, righteous, and free (instantly singing Blameless by Dara Maclean in my head now). I belong to the Kingdom. Lord, You fight for me. The pastor said the same grace that brought us to the Kingdom is the same grace that keeps us in the Kingdom. This cannot be taken from me. No matter what I do, because it never depended on what I do. It only depends on You, God. You are the One who sent me. You are the One calling me. You are the One fighting for me. You are the King, the One True God. I am a disciple maker because You are the disciple keeper.

So, here is my prayer today. I pray that I continue to make disciples. I pray that I keep laboring. I pray that I keep studying, growing, and walking with you. I pray that I repent and keep my eyes focused on you daily. I pray that I remember whose I am. I pray that I remember who you are. Thank you for unpacking my baggage. I pray I help carry other’s baggage to the cross too. I pray that I am your hands and feet. I pray I never stop moving forward for your kingdom. I pray I bring chairs to the table. Thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for the grace you have extended me. Thank you for calling me. Thank you for saying my name. Thank you for putting my name in the book. 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.

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.