Yesterday during worship the Lord whispered in my ear that I must share my story. I know that the Lord has given me a testimony to share. I started the non profit What Is Beautiful as an avenue for that. I am slowing (and too slowly at that) writing a book. I have shared my story early on in this blog. I have shared with people who have asked. But during worship the Lord was clear, that the time is coming that I must share my story. I am not sure what that looks like. During prayer after worship the pastor asked us to pray for something that the Lord placed on our heart. I prayed not for provision, which we need badly, because when I started God said "I already said I would provide". I started to pray for my children, God said "I already said I would take care of them". So I prayed for what felt urgent in my heart and that was "how to tell the story of how God restored me so others could be restored".
I had to work in the afternoon yesterday (Sunday). On my break I got out my journal and begin to write a few notes:
Stories: God used stories. The Bible is full of stories of people. God used peoples stories to share wisdom, lessons, pains, hurt, triumphs, redemption, and their journeys so that we could learn and have guidelines....so that we had an example of how He wanted us to live or not to live...so that we had a way already forged out....so that we could learn.
God used stories to tell the good and the struggles...not just the good. He shared restoration, redemption, strengths, weaknesses, guidance. God used stories. Jesus used stories.
God showed us David...He could have just shared the little Shepard boy David who faced a giant with three stones and won. He could have just shared how David was favored by the people and made a great king who fought and won many battles. But God showed us more. He showed us his affair and how he handled that mess and in the end a person died...and then his own newborn died...God showed the struggles his sons had and how he wasn't the perfect parent. But he also showed us David's heart and how he loved God...sought God...even through the heartache and the sin...even when David seemed far from God, we got to see the restoration. And there are so many others...I could list out so many times God showed restoration...all parts of people's stories so that we could know how to live...so that we could know that there is a promise of restoration in the Bible.
On any page of God's Word we can find a story.
So I love that this morning I read this blog post http://www.marlataviano.com/ ....about telling stories. The title of her blog..."wanna share your story?" Love...when God speaks something to my heart (I want you to share your story) and the next day I open my email and someone says "wanna share your story?"
My then events in my story are many...events that stole my identity...but God...He restored and redeemed my life. Alcoholic member of my family brought secrets, fear, and a stripping of my voice. Rape as a teen brought more secrets, fear, shame, and guilt. Searching for love and identity in relationships and my outward appearance. Eating disorder. Abortion not once but twice. Date rape in my twenties. A marriage ending in divorce. An immoral decision that brought so much shame and guilt, I wanted to die. The eating disorder...it almost took me there. Treatment center, hospital stay (psych ward). But God...He never took his eyes off of me. He placed people in my life that never gave up on me. He never stopped holding out his hand and when I took it He never let go. Healing. Restoration. Redemption. Forgiveness. Joy. Peace. Love. Still hard many days...but my eyes they have to stay on Jesus...I have to stay in the Word. I have to stay connected to those who love Jesus.
That's my story in one paragraph.
Thank you Jesus for your saving grace.