by Captain Shannon Martinez

I blame my mother.

No really, I know we’d all like to blame our mothers for how or where we’re at today, but my prayer warrior momma sure does hold some responsibility for these red epaulets on my shoulders. At the very least she was the one to pray, “Oh Lord, use my daughter to grow your Kingdom…but just don’t send her to Africa.”

Roughly 25 years later I would board a plane to Malawi, Africa, and a couple months later venture over to the Republic of Georgia where the Holy Spirit would clearly instruct me, “Say ‘yes’ to what God is calling you to do.” Six months later my husband and I would find ourselves settling in for the 730 days at 700 W. Brompton Ave. (the College for Officer Training) in Chicago.

I glance once again at my shoulders and sure enough—red. How in the world did this happen?! Oh yea, I said “yes” to God. And I keep saying “yes” because He knows what He’s doing and because the alternative never pans out well.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (CSB) says, “Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask orthink according to the power that works in us—to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”

God definitely has done “above and beyond” what I could have ever asked or thought. I liken it to requesting an apple and receiving an orchard. As humans we have a habit of thinking small, dreaming small and envisioning a much lower and limited plan for our lives. We hand God a postcard size image of what we would like to do or be, and our heavenly Father smiles and shakes his head. Showing us grace for daring to tell our Creator what His creation should do, He hands us back a breathtaking mural filled with scenes of constructing, laboring, serving, preaching, evangelizing, and joining hands with countlesspeople who come from all backgrounds, languages and talents but with Christ as our unifying center.

So, thanks Momma. Thank you for saying a daring prayer that although at first glance seemed limiting (Africa was amazing!), it was those continued prayers, actions of faith in God and courage to trust He had a greater plan that pushed your only child to do immeasurably more than she ever thought possible.






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