A Story worth Sharing
I’ve realized that I’ve never shared my story with you all, even though I’ve thought about it here and there and it has been requested a couple of times. I haven’t been inclined to share it, not necessarily because I am ashamed of my past but mostly because I deemed it as “not as important” as other stories.
Let me explain
Nothing crazily traumatic has happened to me. I didn’t struggle with drugs or go through abuse or anything of that nature. In my mind my testimony was just a simple story of how God came into my life. But… there is nothing simple about it.
My story, Your story… they’re stories of redemption. Stories of how a JUST God loves the “other”, stories of how the HERO came to die for the villain (Andy Mineo reference), stories of how my (our) sin had a man killed and that man CHOSE that destiny because he wanted to live in closeness with us.
Our stories tell of His glory, love, mercy, faithfulness, grace.
They have the imprint of God written ALL OVER THEM (no matter how big or small they may seem)
My Truth, His glory
So here’s my story, its one for the books, as is ALL of yours:
My story is a story of redemption, one of how God took the ashes of my life and decided to make something beautiful. And continues to do so everyday.
I met Jesus at an early age. I was always very sensitive to the Holy Spirit and although I did not live in a household where my family regularly attended church, I did have a strong conviction that God was definitely real. My parents did not serve God but I can say that I grew up in a very loving and supportive home. I lacked nothing and everything that I needed was always accessible to me.
For as long as I can remember I had a void that I could not explain. I felt empty and worthless, was shy beyond measure and lived in constant/crippling fear.
I was afraid of everything!
of the dark, when I was small.
of authority, growing up
of voicing how I felt or what I thought
Fear had found a way to creep into every aspect of my life and I had willingly accepted all of it’s lies. I remember barely being able to pick up the phone to order Chinese food because of the crippling fear of stumbling over my words.
And for that reason
I was the QUIET girl that would often go unnoticed.
I felt as if I could go through life and no one would care enough to get to know me or to love me. I honestly don’t know where these feelings stemmed from because as I said before I grew up in a very loving home. But I adapted this mentality and went about my life in this way. I didn’t understand what I was feeling and even more could’t explain it, so for the majority of life I just kept shut about it. I figured that people wouldn’t understand because well…I didn’t understand. I learned to silence myself, to diminish my voice. But every so often my pain would bubble up and come to the surface (as pain usually does). While I was a professional at faking a smile, there were times where I’d burst out in tears wherever I was (this mostly happened while I was at school). This was a result of stuffed down pain and issues that I didn’t understand how to deal with, so I would dismiss them instead. At the moment it seemed as if I was crying for no reason at all but years later I’d come to understand that I was actually trying to release the pain that I was holding onto through those tears.
The overwhelming weight of my emptiness and fear led me to entertain suicidal thoughts and while I never acted upon them I found myself trying to work through very dark moments, on my own, and faking a smile to not have to deal with people’s questions that I did not have the answer to.
I felt powerless.
The only time I remember feeling at peace was at church (my older sister would take my brother and I every time she could), this is probably why I was the one little kid that absolutely loved spending the whole day in church if I had to.
I was in about third or fourth grade.. This was the time that I discovered that I liked to write and that it can be therapeutic. So I found a way to semi cope with what I was feeling.
But by the time I got to High School I had decided to completely abandon the two things that gave me peace and didn’t make me feel what I had been carrying for so long. I left church and stopped writing.
In this time I longed to be likable, I longed to fit in, to feel worthy and known, to fill whatever void I had felt for years however I could.
I started to take on little parts of other people’s personalities that I thought were likable. I thought this would make me feel worthy or get the attention I longed for. I’d find myself in situations that I didn’t particularly care to be in or reacting to things in a way that I wouldn’t normally react. I’d torture myself by going home to analyze every little part of the day and how I could’ve reacted differently or said something cooler in order to fit in more. I’d lie to my parents, I’d cut class, I’d have some secret boyfriends here and there, I struggled with pornography, I couldn’t shake the sadness I felt, I just kept sinking deeper and deeper into whatever hole I was in.
The more people I was surrounded with, the more alone, insecure and scared I felt. And the less I understood what was going on.
I remember getting home one day and spending the whole night crying, I wanted to give up, I wanted to feel better but I felt as if my efforts weren’t enough. This ritual followed for about a week or so and finally my sister called me to invite me to a weekly gathering at her house. I’d show up every Friday desperate and hungry for the word of God that was being shared and although this group was full of married people and I had no one that was my age there to connect with, I felt as if I was at home there. Shortly after that I made the decision to officially run back to God.
Redemption looks Good on You
When I came back to Jesus, I could see all the ways in which he was actively pursuing me. But I didn’t feel worthy of it. I was working through everything that I felt, everything inside of me was screaming “Run Away” but my heart tugged towards the things of God.
I had to make some very real decisions. I had to cut people off, break off a relationship I had, and CHOOSE freedom from the prison that my mind had turned into.
Slowly but surely I made my way back to the father and I was embraced with so much overwhelming love. God strategically placed people that would love on me, message me at all the right times, speak life into me, and remind me of my worth. He knew exactly what I needed and tackled the very thing that I was struggling with the most first; IDENTITY.
I always retell this story and some of you may have heard it before but the very first time that I felt God was at my first woman’s conference at church. My beautiful and fierce pastor had finished preaching a lovely message and went on to make a calling, I do not remember exactly what the calling was but I remember wanting to go up and being afraid. I had invited a friend and asked her if she wanted to go up, she went up and i went “to accompany her”. I got to the front and completely broke down. I cried my eyes out and had absolutely no idea why I was crying so much, I’m sure my friend probably thought I was completely insane at the moment, but I didn’t care. I just knew that I desperately needed something different and that I could find that in His arms. I walked to the back of the church feeling disoriented and curled up in a corner trying to process my emotions. Alone in my seat, in the back of a crowded church was where I first experienced the presence of God. I can vividly remember feeling so overwhelmed by His sweetness and love ( as if He was being ever so careful with me). I let this feeling consume me and it felt as if something was being poured over me. Then I felt my shoulders get lighter and something being placed on my head. I remember asking God what it was that I was feeling and being so afraid to move or open my eyes because I didn’t want this moment to end.
A couple of seconds later a woman, whom I had never seen in my life, asked if she can pray for me. The first thing that she said was that God was placing a crown on my head ( the thing I had felt about 10 seconds earlier). She mentioned things that I had been feeling until that exact moment and spoke of struggles that only God knew I faced, things that I hadn’t ever shared with anybody, she called out lies that I had been believing (such as the lie that I wasn’t worthy) and spoke truth and life over me instead. It was soothing to know that God wasn’t the distant, “hands off” God that I had put him out to be and that He truly understood every part of my heart.
That was my turning point, my AHA moment, the moment I realized that I don’t want a life outside of His presence. That day I decided to be ALL IN with God and haven’t looked back since.
When Coal turns to Diamonds
I handed God my baggage and started to walk towards healing. I realized that there were many things in my heart that I was unaware of. Things like unforgiveness, rejection and shame were eating away at me. With the help of the people around me I was able to tackle the things that were holding me back from experiencing and living out the fullness in which God called me to live in.
And little by little I began to breathe again, to fill the void with what it was begging to be filled with in the first place, the only one who can actually fill the emptiness. GOD.
I have seen God take my absolute mess and make a statement with it, one that says that He turns everything to good, one that proves that he can turn desert areas into blooming gardens.
I am a testimony of His grace.
And there’s no other life I’d rather live than one fully abandoned to Him. Because it IS worth it.
Speak your truth
So speak your truth and shout it out because the world needs to hear of His goodness through your story. It doesn’t matter how big or small your testimony is, if God has done something in your life it IS worth sharing.
And if you feel empty like I once did, trade in your mess for His love (try it out, He won’t disappoint). I’d love to chat with you so hit me up, I’m here to talk❤️