I woke up with some energy today. So, I got ready and took off to go walking. My mind rolled as it does, but seemed stuck on one word, ‘Survivor’. I did not think much of it, I am a survivor, not a big deal. I made my way to the lake, and a half mile later, God spoke.
One word. “Warrior.”
God knows me, right? Then, he knows I am not a big fan of the word warrior. Women post memes relating to being a warrior all the time, but not in a way that I find appealing. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Their intent is I can do all things through me who strengthens me. This word irritates me.
So why did the Holy Spirit shake me up using that specific word? It stayed on my mind throughout the day.
We moved back to Colorado nine years ago. It was a difficult time for me, as I was leaving a place of peace, comfort, and amazing spiritual growth in the Lord. Colorado is my home state, but Florida became my home, and the church family I gained was a family, a strong faith-filled one. I had the privilege of meeting mighty men and women of God. The goodbye broke my heart into a deep depression.
Ahead of our move, one of our friends and his family took their ministry to Texas. He gave me a special book before they left, and had a distinct word for me.
“Miss Lisa, I would like to leave this book with you. This is you and you need to know who you are. You are anointed and called my friend.”
The book, “God’s Armor Bearer”, was powerful. I remember thinking, “No, that’s not me. I am not strong enough, good enough, anything enough.”
I read it, and like many things in my life I do not understand, I placed it on the bookshelf and sat in my sadness. Occasionally, my mind goes back to it, but never felt like it fit. I do not deny I had a special connection in Florida. God was working on me and using me, but I was not armor bearer material. As I moved back to Colorado, found a new church, and did all I could to plug in, something was always missing. It’s yet to be found. That ‘connection’ has not happened with anyone at my new church. Maybe it wasn’t meant to.
I have contemplated the word warrior all day. Tonight, as I sat down to write this, God led me to do a simple internet search for warriors of the Bible. The first thing that came up was the difference between an armor bearer and a warrior.
At that point, I felt it. The crawling of the Holy Spirit from your heart and mind through your whole body. I love that feeling! God was stirring my soul.
I threw my phone down and walked over to the shelf and fetched my book. As I fingered through the pages, I prayed boldly, “What do you need me to see, Lord?”
As I reread some of the passages I had previously highlighted, I was beginning to understand. As God opened my eyes, I even dropped a few tears.
To my ‘boss’, Reverend Joel Kershaw- our time together has been priceless. A few months ago you said something to me that made my heart smile and my head bow in humble gratitude. You said I think like a pastor. Is it a pastor or God’s Armor Bearer that I think like? I have kept a specific distance until this past year, and now I know why. All warriors of distinction have such a person in their life. I never thought that was me (especially as a female to a male), but as I reread this book, I see now. it is possible. While it is my great privilege to come alongside you in ministry, I know God is preparing me and the first step has begun. It is your leadership in my life God uses to slowly bring me back to Him in deep relationship. I am stubborn and chose to tread water tirelessly to stay afloat.
God is ready for me to dive in, and he chose you to drag me to the deep end. Thank you. To get me to the next level, He needed me to step back, and step in to serve…you. (no, this is not a resignation. It is a recognition.)
To Raven… I pray you are aware of all God has done by using you in Joel’s life. Because of you, God reached Joel, and then God reached me.
To my Pastor Barry- when I made my Abraham move to Florida, God led me to you. At Northside, God led me straight to the pew behind you. When God led me to a meeting that tested us all, God said, ‘you follow me by following him’. As we opened the doors at the “Casino Building” to experience our first Spirit-led service, God urged me to pray for you right then and there. I had never reached out to lay my hand on another soul in prayer without permission until that day. I’m not even a big hugger! I felt the stirring of the Holy Spirit flow from me to you, and Freedom Community Church began. As I look back at our short time together, I now know why brother Al gave me that book. Today, in 2019, I see what he saw all those years ago. God called me to serve..you.
You and Sandy were instrumental in changing my life and helping God prepare me for the tumultuous years to come. When I moved, I allowed Satan to drag me down. I would stand once again, and he would pull me back. This has gone on for years. The battle seemed to be lost on many occasions. The very thought of you two reminded me who I was, but warrior was never a word I would use. I was strong because I was a daughter of the King. I was a survivor in multiple ways. Survivor. Survivor. Survivor. I hear Barry in my mind, blue eyes wide, standing like he’s Goliath (comparison intended), finger pointed directly at me, “You are a warrior for Christ.” I hear that voice, the power, and the boldness as I type. As I embrace God’s message today, I felt Him in my being.
None of this is to say I am fully aware of what God has planned. This is simply a note to say thank you for allowing me to be who God needed me to be in your life, at His perfect time. I was specifically called to be a prayer warrior for you- which is why I could embrace the call. You both have great men supporting you in the role of armor bearer, I am in your corner in a different capacity. I get that now. As the book says, “If you adopt this attitude (of serving) your pastor, there will be a knitting of hearts between the two of you.” God specifically sent you to me to do His work with the guidance of your leadership, as my warrior. As I continue on doing what He asks, I know He is at work in our midst, and I am being pruned for the assignment to come.
May God lead your ministry to further His kingdom, and may I always remain humbly by your side, in person, and in spirit. God used you to raise me.
Thank you for being willing to accept His call.
Your friend in Christ.