So excited to be doing the A to Z Challenge for the second year in a row! I will be posting each day (besides Sunday) this month. I'll be posting things I've learned throughout high school.
I used to be incredibly afraid of telling my stories.
I didn't want to relive the pain that I had experienced through certain events and I didn't want to make people upset. For most of high school, I didn't really tell my stories-- at least, I didn't share the ones that were hard to communicate. And a lot of the time, when I did share, it was in a really gossipy way.
That's another big thing I've learned in high school. If you're hesitant about saying something, don't say it. It is so, so, so easy to fall into the trap of gossip. I'll be honest: I like excitement. A lot of times, in high school, gossiping provided that drama rush for me.
What I was really looking for, in all of the gossip, was for someone to understand whatever it was I was going through. But the thing is, the excitement fades. And sometimes, people said really great things in response...but it was never the perfect thing.
A reoccurring theme in my high school story seems to be me trying to use people to fill my heart, rather than God. It. Just. Doesn't. Work.
Anyway, I was all about telling the superficial stories of "did you hear what she said?!" and "I can't believe he did that to me!". I talked all about things that didn't actually matter, in the long run.
Understandably, it was hard for me to talk about real, meaningful experiences. I've written before about the insecurity brought on by being bullied in grade school. I felt like when I shared my stories, I did it to be validated. Sometimes, that is what happens. But when I wasn't validated, when I didn't get the reaction I was looking for, it devalued the story. So, mostly, I just shut up.
It really wasn't until this summer that I really began telling my stories: sharing my testimony of discovering Christ's love for myself, talking about moments of extreme pain, and communicating the wonderful joys that I have experienced.
What caused the change?
Within the span of two months, I went on an incredible retreat and then attended a life changing summer camp (more on both of those later!) and I realized that I was not alone. My mindset was that I was alone and I messed up and had to just work at it on my own and God could help too. But God used these people's love to bring me closer to His love and heal my heart.
I came to see that other people had experienced similar sufferings...and that our stories have power. I know I've already written a post on that, but it is SUCH a powerful topic that we need to understand. Our stories are nothing to be ashamed of, but are evidence of God's grace working in us and through us! THEY ARE THE KEY TO DEFEATING SATAN! Just take this verse:
"They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony." --Revelation 12:11.
Our testimonies are powerful. I'm going to go out on a limb here and be totally original and non-cliche: with great power, comes great responsibility. I think that there is a time and a place for our stories and what we share with some people might be different than what we share with other people. And that's okay. To everything there is a season.
That is why, friends, we need to give our stories to God and stop thinking of them as "ours". In reality, our stories make up a much bigger one. His.
When I started telling my story of beginning to let God love me, I never could have imagined the wonders that He would work out of my brokenness. Recently, I was helping to lead a retreat and I gave a talk on discovering my identity as a daughter of God, where I shared a more in-depth version of this story.
Later in the day, there was an opportunity for prayer ministry, and this girl came up to pray with me. What she said gave me chills...she told me that what I had talked about was exactly what she was currently going through, in feeling not enough for God and trying to be filled with other people. WOW HOW INSANE IS THAT?!
During our time of prayer, the Holy Spirit was so present. He just came upon us and I could feel Him opening this girl up...I am so excited for what He continues to do in her life. There was another part of my story that I have only shared very selectively that I talked about that day...and another girl came to pray with me who, again, was struggling with the same exact thing.
I literally felt breathless while having the honor of praying with these young women. I couldn't believe that God was using me to bring them healing, to bring them closer to His heart. Wow. I'm literally freaking out just writing about it.
Like...God is using me. He's using my story. My pain. My brokenness. The Creator of the universe...He thinks I'm important. I am His daughter...like what?! And you're also His child. So of course what happens to us is important! And, of course, God will want to show it to the world, looking on with proud eyes, beaming: "That's my child."
There were so many different stories I was praying about telling at this retreat...and the fact that I told the one I did was pretty crazy in itself. But that's what I mean by giving God our stories...we have got. to. surrender. He divinely appointed me to share what I did to who I did when I did. He is totally and completely in control and has a plan!
"It was not you who chose me but I who chose you, and appointed you, to go and bear fruit that will remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give you." --John 15:16.
God has chosen you. What you have experienced, you've experienced for a reason, and God WILL use it when it's surrendered. Not only that...but your efforts will bear fruit. Sharing your story is not pointless and stuff will go down.
Y'all, there are a whole lot of people living in prisons out there, thinking that's what they were made for. Let us not talk about pointless, worthless things but rather, let us share for the glory of God. I'm going to tell my stories.
Let's tell our stories.
I'm praying for you always.