Welcome, Sweet One! I am so glad you’re here! I am both nervous and excited to share what God has been speaking to my heart over the last little while. He began by revealing a fascinating aspect of His character – that He is a God who absolutely loves stories. Does that truth captivate your heart the way it does mine?
Can you imagine sitting at His feet someday, and listening as He shares stories of our time on Earth – perhaps explaining the abundant blessing that poured out of our hardships, although we could not recognize it at the time? Imagine Him smiling fondly at you, and asking you to share about a time you were faithful – simply because He is so proud of you, and wants the others listening to hear! These thoughts fill my heart with anxious anticipation of that day!
I love the Old Testament story in Joshua where God led His children safely through the dangerous waters of the Jordan River, and commanded them to build a stone monument in remembrance of what He had done for them…
When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’”
…Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River. Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:1-3, 20-24 (NLT)
Why the need for a pile of stones? You see, our heavenly Father knows our human limitations, part of which is our propensity to forget. Especially to forget God’s faithfulness in our lives, and the countless ways He has blessed us.
The stones of remembrance were erected as a visual reminder of how God miraculously intervened in the lives of His people. The monument would bring glory to God, and would inspire faith for generations to come.
As children saw the stones and asked about their significance, they would hear stories of God’s faithfulness. They would learn that He could be trusted, and that they could expect to see His hand at work in their own lives as well.
God has been faithful in our lives too, dear friends. But how often do we acknowledge His hand at work, especially in the midst of circumstances that are particularly painful and difficult?
Do we share our stories with others, erecting our own ‘stones of remembrance’?
When these stories go untold, we are prone to forget, to focus on our problems, and to lose hope. We can become consumed by the negatives – the ways we’ve been hurt, or the times we’ve felt abandoned or neglected by God. We have the audacity to question Him about why He doesn’t answer our prayers in the ways we expect. We may be angry, somehow feeling He owes us more than the wondrous gift of His only Son.
The amazing thing is, He welcomes the honest cry of our hearts. He knows how we truly feel, and we are free to complain, argue and even question Him. David is famous for this, just read the Psalms. Some of his statements are pretty harsh, yet he is referred to as “a man after [God’s] own heart”. (Acts 13:22) Isn’t that amazing? There truly is “no condemnation”, only a loving God who longs for intimate encounters with His precious children.
So, this God of stories, what does He require of us? We are instructed to “always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have.” (2 Peter 3:15). Although this verse does refer to sharing the gospel as our ultimate hope, I believe we are also to share the reason why we have hope in specific situations, despite our circumstances.
How can I, a victim of childhood abuse, claim that God is redeeming those despicable acts for good? What makes me so sure that God will heal my broken heart? How can I possibly see hope in the midst of my brokenness and pain?
It is because of His faithfulness in my life. The things I have already shared here. The degrees of healing that have come. The encouragement that I can share, and receive, from others who truly understand. Our stories have tremendous power to change lives.
Abuse knows no boundaries…it can affect anyone. By telling our stories, we break down barriers, such as stigma and shame, and help others understand our pain. By telling our stories we can also experience freedom as we build strength and self-compassion. We can help others heal, when we tell our stories. (Violence Prevention Council)
God has been prompting me to invite you to share your story, and the way He is working to bring healing into your life. So many people suffer in silence, thinking they are alone. The stigma of abuse often silences us. We may minimize what we have experienced, thinking it wasn’t that bad compared to what others have been through, and that we should just get over it – but these are lies of the enemy who seeks to keep secrets hidden in the darkness of shame.
As we share our stories, and expose them to the light and truth of Jesus, healing can begin. We can help others understand that they are not alone, and help them find the courage to face the past. We can encourage one another to persevere through the difficult times, and praise God for the breakthroughs that come as we take His hand and walk into our healing.
I shared at the beginning of this post that I am both excited and nervous about extending this invitation to you. The evil one has tried to discourage me, telling me that no one will take me up on the offer, and that I will end up looking like a fool. But God has gently whispered to my heart, “Trust me”. And I choose to listen to His voice, even though I have no control over the outcome.
So, dear one, will you share your story here?
This will be a place of safety, where you will not be judged. Only encouraging comments will be permitted. You do not have to be ‘healed’ in order to share – I know that I am still a work in progress, and may always be! My only request is that your post be truthful, edifying, and honoring to our heavenly Father.
For those who are interested, please email me and I will send you more details. You do not have to have a blog in order to share your story, and you may post anonymously if you prefer. Let us glorify God, for the great things He has done, and for the many wonders yet to be revealed!
May God richly bless you as you shine His light into a world desperate for hope,
Photo credit: Kai Gradert