Something I was told after sharing my life story with some friends here was something along the lines of, “God has really spared you from the darkness of life.” I agree. There are lives much darker than my own. Even now, I see and experience a lot of weighty and uncomfortable things being in such a different culture than my own- some being common. We all have the same injustices only they manifest in different ways because the enemy is clever and deceptive.
For those of you who don’t know my story, my friend was right, but that is not to say that the enemy has not attacked me. He went right for my weaknesses and vulnerabilities and kept some of my biggest struggles all in my head. For the most part, this is a story of my past and doesn’t grip my daily life anymore. The School of Justice and Missions has been an even more eye-opening and liberating time from my past while replacing and infusing new life in me. The transformative process of this summer has been rooted in that rebuilding and replacing of truth. Jesus has been so gentle with my heart and has guided me to a place where I can be supported and trust in those who are jumping into the Lord’s move. Our leaders use an analogy of a river- God’s plan is and has been in the works and it is our decision whether we jump into the river and be carried through God’s move. I have found a fervency and fire to pursue this zealous pursuit every day. I have found the value of my life as my Father sees it. Value and worth were not words I vibed with well for years. Jesus has changed my thinking, showing me who He has made me to be and how that ministers to others through the gifts and abilities I’ve received.
These are words and giftings I have received and am learning to live into: I am a peace carrier, my presence carries the image of God, my presence holds more than words, people are drawn to me, my heart is after healing, I have an anointing to worship. The number of times I have said “I receive” this summer is just about more than the number of slices of bread I’ve eaten, which is no joke.
From the moment I said “yes” to the Lord’s prompting to do this school, I felt every seed of doubt possible. Taking risks, choosing obedience, and trusting the Lord for big things like this has really never been challenging for me because radical obedience causes radical transformation. Even in the moment, I knew the enemy had no control over me he still reminded me that he was there. From being distracted and unfocused leading up to it to feeling fearful before leaving, I felt the presence of the Deceiver so strongly. While I pressed into my Helper, the cost of my obedience was a lesson on dependence. Injuring my shoulder only weeks into the summer and getting a change in my financial aid for school I continued to struggle. Now, I don’t want to give the enemy credit for those things if they’re objects Jesus is using to lead me into greater obedience, however, they’ve been difficult and distracting. He has shown me the power and reward of obedience, what true obedience costs and what it does for my heart and my mind- which then transformed the way I think. Before this summer, I knew that I was loved and “fearfully and wonderfully made” to live for Him. Now, I know that there is not one person who has every component that I have, which makes me of value and important to advance His Kingdom, not just my own faith or kingdom. I believe that Jesus died on the cross so that my life would look like His and be worth that agony. If Jesus chose to be human of all things created, then there must be a significance and importance and value to humanity.
This shift in my heart has called attention to the oppression I see daily and all that is left are children of God-feeling a lack of value, empty purpose, left behind, lost and broken, forgotten, unqualified, and so much more. Reaping the knowledge, wisdom, and experience over these last 12 weeks has opened my eyes to the access I have, both physically and spiritually. This has caused me to recognize the absence of these things in other people’s lives, both here and at home. I do not lack the resources to fulfill what I desire or feel called to and I have not lacked the wisdom or support to pursue the Lord’s heart for those things. The only obstacle against me is apathy and ignorance- which I have authority against. This feeling of empowerment for the oppressed feeds my desire to disciple, minister, and connect intentionally with the fatherless, widows, naked, and hungry.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV)
As I continue to pursue my degree, I am encouraged to find a sustainable solution to fight alongside the oppressed.
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