Lord, Do a Mighty Work
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2019 Jul 23
“Lord, do a mighty work in me so you can do a mighty work through me.”
I remember uttering those words early on in my divorce journey. I had been listening to a sermon series on Elijah by Craig Groeschel, and it was a phrase that simply pierced my heart. In all honesty, I didn’t think I was that bad of a person and so I didn’t think there was that much for God to do in me. I was more interested in what He could do through me.
Oh, how wrong I was!
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:2-3
I remember days where I just collapsed in tears as I saw the true condition of my heart. I saw how God provided for me each and every day. I saw how He tenderly cared for my heart and my children’s hearts. And then, as He began to use me, I collapsed in tears in awe that He had chosen me. I can truly see the mighty work He began in me, and it is so much fun to see the mighty work He has begun through me.
Then came 2016. It was an incredibly hard year for us. The kids lost their dad suddenly, and then Cassie was given a life-altering diagnosis of epilepsy. It was if our lives were crashing down around us, spiraling out of control. But as we walked forward each day, I reminded the kids that God uses our trials to do a mighty work in us so He can do a mighty work through us.
Cassie suffered the hardest in those days. While the boys were terrified when they found her having a gran mal seizure and they feared losing their sister, Cassie struggled hard with the why. Why me? Why do I have to deal with this pain? Why am I losing my childhood? Why am I losing my freedom to be a kid? Why do I have to carry medication with me? Why?
So many questions and so few answers.
Every morning, I would pray over her as I dropped her off at school Lord, do a mighty work in her so you can do a mighty work through her. Every night at bedtime, I would cover her with prayers as I tucked her in, reminding her that the trials of this life are used to make us like Him. Every day, we repeated the phrase together: Lord, do a mighty work in us so you can do a mighty work through us.
And do you know what?
I see God’s faithfulness in answering this prayer!
If you follow me on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve seen this amazing young lady in action. God has blessed her with an amazing voice! Wherever she sings, she makes an impression. But even more than her beautiful voice is her amazing heart. She loves people like no one I’ve ever seen. She loves God with a faith that is mature way beyond her age. She has an ability to come up with incredible word pictures that communicate Biblical truths at a level her friends can understand. She exudes the love of Christ everywhere she goes.
To what do I credit her amazing transformation?
She has embraced the motto of Lord, do a mighty work in me so you can do a mighty work through me.
None of us likes the pain and trials of this world. We don’t rejoice when life gets hard, when we are struck with illness or the loss of a loved one. We don’t look forward to these painful circumstances that are part of the human experience.
But when we can keep our mind set on the goal of becoming more like Him, of allowing Him to transform us so we can be used by Him, it changes our outlook on life. It keeps us humbled before the Father, seeking what He has for us in the midst of the pain. It allows us to look for purpose in the pain and to recognize our pain is not in vain.
Scripture teaches us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) and to focus our thoughts on things that are lovely and noble and true and right (Philippians 4:8). We are taught that when we keep our mind focused on God, we will experience His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Isn’t that what we are doing when we ask God to do a mighty work in us so He can do a mighty work through us? Isn’t that what we do when we keep this mantra at the forefront of our minds?
What does the mighty work look like?
Intimacy with God. There’s no doubt God will draw you near as you ask Him to use your circumstances for your good and His glory. He tells us He is near the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). He tells us He rejoices over us with singing and quiets us with His love (Zephaniah 3:17). He holds us close as we turn to Him for healing.
One of the most beautiful things Cassie has said is that with Roy, she finally has an example of the truly unconditional love of a father. For the first time in her life, she understands the love God has for us. Despite all of the pain she has experienced in her life, she has found the beauty in the midst of the brokenness.
Daily provisions. Just as the scripture above pointed out, God provides for our needs when we are in the wilderness. He could give us everything we want. He could provide in huge ways. But instead, He daily provides for our needs—exactly what we need and exactly when we need it. In this way, He keeps us walking close to Him, dependent upon Him.
Humbling us. I think one of the hardest things for me was to see just how much pride I harbored in my heart. I had always lived a good life, looking to God as my Provider. And He had always been so faithful!
Sadly, because I had lived faithfully, I now realize just how prideful I was. I knew about God’s gift of His son, but that was for everyone else. I was just fine! It was while I wandered in the wilderness that I realized the condition of my heart. I thought I was above divorce, that because I loved my husband well there was no chance of adultery. I now realize but for the grace of God go I. This life is not a result of how good we are—or even how bad we are. It’s about our response when the storms hit. It’s about the grace of God that spares us some pain but allows enough pain to keep us humble and dependent on Him.
Opportunities for service. God uses our pain to give us a passion for Him and a love for others. When we begin to see God’s work in the midst of our pain, we can share how God has changed us, how He has loved us through it. That’s called a testimony, a story of God’s grace and love.
Cassie is so open about her story. She tells everyone about the pain she has lived through and how God has carried her through. God has given her a passion to speak and write, and she befriends those who need her encouragement.
Expanded territory. Scripture tells us that the one who is faithful in little will be faithful in much (Luke 16:10). When we are faithful to let God begin to work through us, we see Him open doors for bigger ministries. Remember, He desires to do more than we could ever ask, hope, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
My ministry has only just begun. I desire to buy homes and let single moms live in them while they get back on their feet. That’s definitely a God-sized vision! But I believe God will honor my heart and give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).
I don’t know where you are. I don’t know what pain you are facing, what loss has stolen your life. But I do know my God. I know He desires to do a mighty work in you so He can do a mighty work through you.
Keep that in your mind. Remember this time is only a season, and God can work in you and through you. Ask Him to do a mighty work in you so He can do a mighty work through you.