Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Story Worth Living

My Story is one of faithfulness, which I have personally come to love in the last few months but which I honestly did not see any value in before then.

When I was 17 I went on my first mission trip to Mexico with my youth group. It was a week of hard work in 115 degree weather, ministering to sweet families and children. It was the first time I really saw the face of poverty. I still picture those faces and can remember the names of some of the children.

That week changed my life in many ways.

That week, we were at the evening church meeting. It was a tiny church, no A/C, rickety pews, an outhouse for a bathroom.

A girl in her early twenties came in and the pastor asked me, since I spoke Spanish, to speak with her and minister to her.

I had never done anything like that in my life! I was terrified!

Though I spoke Spanish, it was not well enough to share the Gospel message…or so I thought.

I love that about God. You think you don’t qualify. You think there isn’t anyway you can get outside of who you “think” you are in order to do what He desires of you. 
All he requires of you is to say yes to Him and He fills you to not just enough, but to overflowing.

That evening, I introduced myself to this girl, who was known for walking the streets and was only a few years older than I and I presented the gospel message…in Spanish!

And let me tell you…I never knew I knew some of the words I used!

It was amazing.
I felt the Holy Spirit come over me and overwhelm me and I spoke without any fear, without any hesitation.

Ya’ll that’s not normal. I have spoken Spanish all my life, but I don’t speak it often at all and so my vocabulary is very limited, but not on that day.

She came to know the Lord that night. I don’t know what happened to her after that. She was supposed to come and get baptized the next day, but she never came.

I can still see her face. If we could go back in time I could find her among the crowd. And sometimes, even 15 years later, I think about her. She was the first person I ever led to Christ. Actually, she is the only person I have ever led to Christ other than my children.

That sounds a little pathetic and I’m a little embarrassed about that…I’ve been a believer all my life and have only ever led 3 people to Christ, two of those being my children!
That same week, on the last day of our trip, the leader of our group asked me if I would give my testimony.

I said no.

Not because I was nervous, of course I was, but I knew that God would speak through me like He had the night before. No, it wasn’t nerves, it wasn’t fear either.

I didn’t have anything to say.

As far as I knew, at 17, I didn’t have a story to tell. 
What was I going to say? 

My story of being a good girl and loving Jesus all my life wasn’t going to move anyone to repentance. It wasn’t one of those, ‘look what God has done in my life…look what God has brought me from,” kind of story.

He encouraged me and said, 'God will speak for you and He will use your story.'
I said no. 

I didn’t have a story to tell.

A few years later, in my college dorm room, again surrounded by believers whom I loved dearly and who came from all walks of life and had so many different testimonies were telling their stories.

And again, I had nothing to say.

Girls my age, barely 19 had stories to tell. They had stories of being saved from witchcraft, of finding Jesus in the midst of parents who walked out on them and living life in a drunken and drug induced stupor.

What was I suppose to say in that tiny room? I cried with them, I laughed with them, I encouraged them…and then it was my turn.

“I really don’t have a testimony. I’ve been a Christian all my life and the worst I’ve ever done is disobeying my parents. I really don’t have a story to tell.”

I’ll never forget this, but one of the girls said to me, “That’s one of the most beautiful stories you could tell. You have been true and faithful to God and He has loved you and protected you because of it. You have a story to tell, and that story is one of purity.”

As I write those words, sitting in a corner of Panera, I’m tearing up because I remember clearly, I thought, “That’s sweet…but whatever!” 

Now looking back at my life she was so right. 
And 19 year old me had no idea.

A few weeks ago, I read someone’s story and it was one of those stories that make you catch your breath and cry and ask God why people have to suffer so and then praise God for His rescue.

I heard that voice…the voice that told that 16 and 19 year old from years past. 
Your story isn’t like hers. 
Your story, it won’t bring people to tears or move anyone. 
Your story just isn’t powerful like that.

I cowered a little bit. As I write this…part of me still believes that.

What does a good girl have to say?

But I have to believe the truth.

The truth is I don’t have just one story. I have a lot of stories.

I have the story of being good and faithful to God despite the world around me and the peer pressure and angst of adolescence.

I have the story of walking in faithfulness to God and in purity before Him in my 8 year courtship with my husband.

I have the story of being saved from fears that tormented me for my entire life.

I have the story of walking through pre-and post-partum depression, losing my faith, yet being reminded of God’s love and faithfulness.

I have the story of being a totally, messed up, imperfect mom and wife and walking in His grace daily.

I have the story of realizing that I can do none of this life well and so I surrender my life to Christ and whatever He has called me to daily.

I have the story of coming to a point that despite my desire to be perfect and “good,” I am imperfect and not good enough, but He loves me despite my imperfections and is more than enough. He is faithful and He calls me faithful.

Maybe you don’t think you have much of a story.
Maybe you don’t think God could use your story.

He can. He will. He wants to.
And the best part is, your story isn’t finished. He is still writing it. 
He has the pen in his hand and he is writing a story that is worth sharing.

He is writing a story that is worth living.

Your story is worth gold.
Your story was worth the son of God coming to earth and dying on a cross for you.
Jesus knows your story is worth sharing…He wrote it…He died for it.

Tell your story. Tell all of your stories.

You are His beloved, 

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HisPrincessWarrior said...

wow. Sis Andrea???
This post was SO me... IS me. *I* am that "good girl" who grew up knowing and loving and trying her best to serve and please Jesus.
The one who thinks she doesn't have a testimony (or much of one, anyway) that God could really use.
This post hit home today :) I teared up a bit lol.
God is using your story. Thanks so much for posting this :) <3 (((hugs you))

Pamela said...

OH, a beautiful testimony! We certainly don't understand in our teens. Sometimes not for a while afterwards. My husband says God saved him from drugs and other substance abuse, pornography and other sexual sins. He was saved at six years old and saved from ever having to experience it. Keep that beautiful testimony -- it will bless so many.
Joyfully, Pamela

Deb @ Counting My Blessings said...

Oh Andrea, this is really beautiful! His story in our lives. Sometimes it feels hard to tell, but not if we allow Him to tell it. Thanks! I needed this!

Andrea said...

Thank you ladies. You are all so encouraging! Blessings to all of you!

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