A covenant testimony

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By Jennifer Acosta, Cadet –
I grew up in a loving, Christian home, where faith and love for God were instilled in me at a young age. My grandma taught me how to pray, and with her guidance, I remember praying to God before bed every night this same prayer: “Lord, my life is yours. I promise to follow you and serve you with all my heart because I love you.” The more I learned about God at church, the more fervently my little heart would pray it—this simple, yet loaded prayer. While I had some understanding of what I was saying at that young of an age, little did I know the weight of those words that I spoke and how God would hold me to it throughout my life.
My calling to Salvation Army officership was rather unorthodox, but never had I seen God’s hand move so visibly in my life during these past few years as God revealed his greater plans for me…the threading of various life events, doors closing and others opening, stirrings of my heart, and strange yet perfect timings that seemed random at the time—things I couldn’t understand on its own—but in retrospect, were clearly God’s divine interventions leading me onto this path to officership.
These past two years at training college have been an incredible adventure, filled with countless joys, but just as many if not more struggles, which strangely surprised me. You see, most of my life has been smooth sailing. I’m pretty self-sufficient and capable, which can lend itself to this dangerous backwards thinking that life is easy, that I can do everything on my own. But if there’s one lesson the Lord has been repeatedly teaching me during these years as a cadet, it’s that I can’t do everything—anything—on my own.
I struggled with my faith being stretched and tested; being pushed way past my self-imposed limitations; comparing myself to others; and times I wanted to give up and go back to the familiarity of home. The Lord brought me to places where my head knowledge and willpower were not nearly enough, where there was absolutely no way I could get through without relying completely on his strength and grace alone. And as painful as it can be, I thank God as he continuously chips away at the callous areas of my faith and molds me into the best person I can be for him, because I know that he has called me to something bigger and far more important than myself. And this is not a burden, but a privilege.
As only the Lord knows what will come in the days ahead, I take great comfort in knowing that he is perfect in power and love, and that he makes no mistakes. In him, I have wealth beyond belief, beyond what I deserve. I have this incredible, steadfast, unshakeable trust in my God, because, as 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “faithful is He who called me, and He will also bring it to pass.” God faithfully completes everything he calls us to, whatever that may be.
And I know that when my spirit is weak, when my body’s too tired to carry on, when the enemy plants those seeds of doubt in my heart and mind telling me that I can’t do this, or I’m not prepared to do that, or even that I deserve better, something easier than the hand I’m given, the Lord is quick to bring my focus back on him, back to the cross, quick to remind me of the covenant that I made with him as a child, that dangerous prayer I’ve prayed for over 20 years: “Lord, my life is yours. I promise to follow you and serve you with all my heart because I love you.” Because of who God is and in light of all that he’s done for me for eternity, I “bind myself to him in this solemn covenant.” And I’m not one to break a promise!
I admit that this evening, my heart weighs heavy as I reflect on my Officer’s Covenant…and I’m reminded: that’s a good thing. It should feel this way. The seriousness to what God calls me, all of us, to do is not something to be taken lightly. Souls are at stake, and it’s our God-given privilege to usher in his kingdom through the reaches of the Army. I pray that I feel the weight of my covenant with the Lord each day of my life.

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