I have thought several times since I've been here, "Man, I wish I could share my story with these girls." But I don't know when exactly or how, so I have just let it be. I'll share some things here and there with my devotion group or with one of my small groups, but that has been the extent of it.
This morning, the Rock Harbor church team (they are here for 2 weeks helping in one of the townships and teaching some classes at the academy) led the Sunday morning service. At one point, they had people stationed throughout the room if you wanted prayer...and my heart started speeding up and I started getting warm and I felt strength start draining out of my body. Again, God? What are you up to this time? So I walked over to one of the girls and asked if I could pray with her. "Anything specific?" "Nope." *Smile awkwardly* Well, at least not that I know of yet. And then right after we finished praying, they opened up the floor for anyone who wanted to share a part of their testimony. One of the grade 12 girls got up and shared hers- and it was beautiful and powerful. And then my heart starting RACING, I began sweating, and nearly all the strength was now gone from my body. Okay, God, I get it. But I have NO IDEA what I am going to say up there.
That's okay. Just obey. I'll give you the words...I always do.So one girl from the team shared briefly, and then I walked on up to the front, frankly telling them that I wasn't sure what God wanted me to say yet, but I was going to be obedient, so we were all going to find out together!
I ended up sharing the parts of my story which are closest to my heart, yet I typically choose very carefully who hears them. I shared about making poor decisions in a past relationship which eventually covered me in SHAME for years. And I shared about how I then tried to nourish my aching soul with food. And I shared about the freedom and victory God has given me, yet also how I have voluntarily turned back to it since. How the temptations are still there, and it is a daily battle, one I plan on winning. We all just must drop our chains. A dear friend once described it to me like this: we are chained down by sin, until Christ comes and breaks us free. But then we just stand there, holding onto our broken chains, crying for help and for freedom. We actually hold onto shackles that are not actually holding onto us.
I have already set you free! Drop your chains and run!
It is for freedom Christ has set you free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 6:1And I shared about how beautiful life is living in freedom, in the redemption of God's grace. The absolute beauty of freedom.
Believe me when I tell you that I was not planning on sharing all of that, at least not with the entire school plus some of the staff plus an entire church team. But you know what? O it felt so good to share! It felt so good to stand before a crowd and declare his faithfulness. O proclaim it to the rooftops - God is faithful! And God redeems. And God longs for all of us to be free.
I do not know what all God did with my story this morning. I do know that one staff member and one Rock Harbor team member approached me and told me that God had spoken to them through my story. Hallelujah. And I know my God, that he is so much bigger than I can imagine. So I know that he spoke to more than just two. I know that this morning was also for me. And also for him - for his glory to be proclaimed yet again.