At a recent women’s retreat, my small group leader asked the women, “What are your spiritual stories?” My first thought was, “Goodness! You have just asked a bunch of women who don’t know each other to tell stories! This will take all day!”
The leader directed us to ponder the question for about ten minutes and reflect on a concise way to answer. She gave us these prompts: “Did you grow up in a loving family, a dysfunctional family, or an abusive family? How and when did you come to know the Lord? Were there any significant spiritual things that caused you to grow in your walk with God?
As we went around the circle, I listened to the women share their stories. Some brought tears to my eyes, some joy to my heart, and some belly laughter. Some of the things the women shared were things the Lord had also done in my life, but in different ways. I realized the importance of remembering our stories and sharing them to encourage one another.
I enthusiastically shared the moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I also shared significant times of victory, such as our daughter’s successful battle with cancer—and how that experience grew my faith. But I also shared about the loss of our infant baby, which taught me the power of God’s grace in the midst of our sorrow. I also shared how becoming the caregiver to my dying sister who passed away in my arms was only possible with the Lord’s strength.
Have you had a situation where you either lost a loved one, or someone close to you and saw God work in that situation? How did God meet you in the crisis? God has a story for you to tell.
When George had cancer, the Lord gave me a promise in His Word. I trusted in that Scripture until the danger passed. Have you or a loved one experienced His healing power in ways you can share with others? God has a story for you to tell.
When we had a massive home fire which resulted in the loss of most of our possessions, the Lord was present with me every day as I sifted through the debris. Every day, I expected that He would be with me, and each day I experienced miracles and the sprinkling of peace. He often gave me a song or a Scripture to hold onto, reminding me that He was with me in the rubble. Have you experienced a great financial loss or loss of irreplaceable personal items and received His peace while you went through it? God has a story for you to tell.
Sharing our stories reminds us of the growth in our walks with Jesus and how we will continue to grow until He takes our hands and leads us to the place He is preparing for us. “Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God and there is none like me” Isaiah 46:9 (NLT).
The command to “Remember” is used about 240 times in the Bible. Remembering is an important directive so that we do not forget God, His ways, and all He has done for His people. It is a reminder to look back and ponder the good, the bad, and the ugly, and remember all God has accomplished for us. That is why I journal and encourage everyone to make notes of what God is doing in their lives. All of our experiences teach us who God is and serve as a witness to those who need them.
What are your stories? Every tear-stained page, every smile, laugh, answered prayer or even unanswered prayer is an acknowledgement of trusting in His goodness. Don’t forget all God has done for you. Your stories are your testimony and transformation. Write them down as reminders of His love, grace, mercy, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and closeness. Tell your stories; there are people who need to hear them.
“The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. . . .” —John 19:35
“Many samaritans form that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.”
Lord, as I sit and ponder the past and what I thought my life would look like, I can see Your hand on it in so many ways. I praise You for your guidance in the hard times and in the great times. Even though many of my stories are laced in sorrow, I thank You for restoring me and teaching me who you are. Lord, I know there are more stories to come, whether good, bad or ugly, but with You holding me or laughing with me, anything is possible. I ask for Your continued guidance in my life. You are a wonderful, magnificent God and I am humbled by the life You gave me. Amen.