Simplifying Christianity

We humans tend to complicate every aspect of our lives, especially God.  We want the best worship experience and an emotional message on Sundays.  We overthink God by our works.  All our lives most of us are told that you must be in church and studies to have God in our lives, which in fact, is not true.  Hear me out, I am not saying that church is not important.  I am saying God is more than a church service and group studies.  He is simply about relationship.  He does not want us so busy trying to figure out who He is that we have no time to personally have a relationship with Him.

For the last year, I have been going to one church to another trying to find the perfect setting — is the worship spiritual enough or is the message convicting to bring me to the altar.  I was looking for emotion rather than God Himself.  I was so insecure that I needed to be convicted to speak to God for forgiveness.  And when restlessness and discontentment came over me, I moved on to another church.  Through all the confusion, I caused more chaos in my life.  I caused more disappointment of what the church should be — to my preference.

A few months ago, I decided to temporarily stop attending church and have church at home.  Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night I would listen to a podcast from my iPad and worship God in my own living room. I spent daily in prayer.  In just a month, God showed Himself to me with simplicity and love.  It is not required to do works to find God’s love; He is love, and He only desires relationship with me.  When I complicated God, I was miserable.  The standards I put on myself only made me feel more inadequate.  It was only when I simplified the way I approached God is when I found the true God.  A God who is not demanding but unconditionally loving.  A God who is all comfort not judgmental.  A God who makes me whole when I feel incomplete.  God is complex in so many ways, but when it comes to a relationship with Him, it’s simple: Love God with all her heart and live a life abundantly in His love.  Love God and be a Disciple.  Simple as that.

We need to stop representing a demanding God who is false and scary.  We need to start showing others that God is all about the heart.  He is all about love.  We do not need an emotional message on Sunday to convict us of our sin, but a message of truth.  We do not need to a worship service to sound like a professional concert, but to worship God in purity.  We don’t need an in-depth message every week to tell us who God is; we need to experience God ourselves through group Bible Studies and an individual prayer life.  If we want a relationship with God, we need to pursue Him at church, at home, in our workplace, and with our family and friends.  God is everywhere!

When you seek God in simplicity, you will find His joy and His peace.  When you pursue Him with all your heart, you will find the true God that you have been looking for.  It starts with you — not the church or others — YOU!

After The Rain…

Rain….

It’s necessary for growth.

It allows the old to pass away, and the new to come.

There is beauty where it once was dead.

Life is all about going through a storm so we can see the rainbow on the other side.  Imagine yourself in a garden with plants wilted and weeds grown up in the beds.  The caretaker failed to remove the weeds and water the garden.  It is overgrown and little by little the plants die away.  What once was a beautiful garden turned into shriveled brown leaves falling lifeless to the ground with no hope for renewal.

The only way to grow is to work through the weeds in our lives and to remove what hinders us from God.  As we toil through the soil to determine what to remove and what to keep, we dig up the truths of our lives.  When we reach the root and see it had potential for growth, we just sit there quietly in defeat and wonder why we did not see the potential sooner.  Why didn’t we just go through the painful process of pulling the weeds so we could see our potential?  Why didn’t we water the plants to see them grow and bloom into something beautiful?  Instead of facing the storm and waiting for growth, we ran in fear because of the unknown.  We missed seeing the rainbow, because we never walked through the rain.

Ten years ago I ran from a difficult situation.  I never properly allowed God to heal my heart, and I still struggle today with those insecurities and emotions from my past.  The weeds in my life became overgrown and never tended to in a decade.  New life was never planted.  I tried to bury my past by laying more soil on top of the hurt–the root of the problem.  Recently, I have had to remove the soil to get to the root.  I had to expose the most shameful part of my life to eventually find healing through God.  I am currently vulnerable and transparent for all to see.

As the plant grows bigger and stronger, the root spans in all directions as it goes deeper into the soil.  Imagine the root being every situation you have not dealt with in your life.  It has twists and turns.  The root intertwines with each other. It becomes so powerful that you cannot uproot the plant without force.  It is embedded so deep that it is a struggle to rip it out of the ground.  Life is painful when we grab something by it’s roots and force it to the surface.  But there is good news — when we finally deal with the root of our problems and let the root of destruction die, we will see new growth happening in our lives.  We blossom into something beautiful.

We allow God to mend our hearts as he continues to water the new seeds in our lives.  As the seeds grow in the soil, God enriches it with nutrients.  He sprinkles miracle grow over the plant for a better chance at life.  He brings the rain so we can stand strong and tall.  We have to endure heartache through the rain so we can become a beautiful flower for all to see.  Our roots have to be strong and healthy so we can withstand the winds.  And, after the rain, there is a rainbow full of promises.  The promises of another day.  The promises for what’s to come.

A rainbow represents new life.
It represents a hopeful future.
It represents a testimony of what was.
It represents the new you!

If you want a renewal in your life, uproot what you have not dealt with and find your rainbow.  If you want a life full of promises, remove the weeds.  If you want to see growth in your life, be consumed in God’s enrichment.

What Is A Blessing?

Many people think a blessed person is someone who has it all — lives in a big house, drives an expensive car, has the best job, and so forth.  This way of thinking is distorted.  If we see a blessing just as material things then we miss a blessing in our lives, because we compare our lives to others.

The word “blessing” means “a favor or gift bestowed by God or the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.”  It also is defined as “approval” and “good wishes” (www.dictionary.com/browse/blessing).  A blessing comes in many forms.  It can come directly from God.  Or a blessing can come from family members, friends, or complete strangers through God working in them.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the world was full of chaos and hate.  After the hurricane, we saw people working together.  Complete strangers risking their lives to save others.  As Christians, we need to be watchful on how we say we are blessed.  I am guilty of this as well.  I said, “I was blessed to have minor damage in my home.  A home I can still live in after the storm.”  But, we all have to understand those who have lost everything due to the storm, they are still blessed.  God protected their family, and, in the past three weeks, people have seen complete strangers help them rebuild their home.  In Philippians 4:19 declares that “MY God will supply every need to yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  In Isaiah 41:10, God says “fear no, for I am with you; be no dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  “And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16).  I encourage everyone who is going through hardship to declare these Scriptures over your life.

Many who have lost their homes have asked, “What shall we eat?” “What shall we drink?” What shall we wear?” (Matthew 6:30-33).  They have lost all their belongs.  They have lost all their food.  They only have the clothes on their back.  But, be encouraged today.  God clothes you every day with His blessings and righteousness.  Churches and business have opened their doors to give food, clothes, furniture, and toiletries to those in need.  God put it on their hearts to bless you with items that you have lost.  It may be heartbreaking and difficult to ask for help, but never turn down a blessing.

There may be some who are too broken to see God’s blessing in their lives.  And, that is okay.  Having any kind of loss is devastating and finding hope again may take time.  Sometimes all we can do is get on our knees and cry out to God for help.  Through prayer we all will find “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  Psalm 144:2 is a prayer of declaration in time of need: “He is My steadfast love and My fortress, My stronghold and My deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge.”  This Scripture not only gives you hope again, but it also gives you renewed strength through Christ.  Matthew 5:4 states the “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Let these words wash over you and remind you that you are not alone.  God is ALWAYS with you.

And, always remember that a blessing is not all about material things.  A blessing is simply God loving on us through a prayer being answered.  His continuous protection over your life and family.  A blessing is helping people in need.  We are blessed every day through Christ.

 

“Beautifully Broken”

Recently, I started reading a book called, “The End of Me” written by Kyle Idleman.  So far, it has been an incredible book about the beauty of being broken in the presence of God.  Jesus becomes real in our lives when we are broken for Him.  It is when we come to the end of ourselves that God shows up to pick up the pieces of our lives to put them back together one-by-one.  In Luke 9:24, it states that “whoever loses life will find it.”

In this book, the author portrays a beautiful picture of what brokenness really looks like.  In Luke 7, Jesus is having dinner with a religious leader, Simon.  Simon has disregarded all tradition by not greeting Jesus with a kiss on the hand, washing his feet, and anointing his head with oil.  Simon is rich and the people feared him so he intentionally did not honor Jesus as his guest in his home.  Simon wanted to be the master of his home, not Jesus.  At one point in the middle of dinner, a sinful woman enters Simon’s home uninvited.  She heard through the crowds Jesus was in town and was having dinner with Simon and other religious leaders.  While everyone else looked at her with judgment, Jesus looked at her with unconditional love.  She did not focus on the disgruntled faces around her and allowed Jesus’ love to overwhelm her.  You see, Jesus saw “her as beautifully broken” while the others saw her as tainted and untouchable (“The End of Me”).

The woman kept her eyes focused on Jesus and knelt at Jesus’ feet.   She began to weep uncontrollably and, with her tears, she cleaned His feet.  She let down her hair and dried His feet.  She then took an entire bottle of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet.  In this moment, “she offers all that she has, because He has changed all that she is” (“The End of Me”).  A prostitute, known for our profession, “has become a living embodiment of cleansing” (“The End of Me”).  Jesus tells her that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:48).  Her brokenness is recognized, and she is made whole again.  What an incredible imagery of being made whole in Christ in just one moment.

“Brokenness often overflows with hidden beauty.  It is redemptive by design” (author unknown).  The moment Jesus forgave the woman from all her sins, it was redemption.  She was not ashamed of her past; she boldly walked into a religious leader’s home to have a moment with Jesus.  This Biblical story reminds us to never be ashamed to bear our scars in the church or around our family and friends.  Our past tells a story of redemption–of who we were and who we are today.

If you look closer in the story of Luke 7, we see that Simon is carrying around brokenness as well.  He is so arrogant about his status that he refused to greet his guests with traditions.  He does not respect who Jesus is and only invited Jesus to dinner out of obligation.  Instead of receiving a blessing from Jesus, he received a rebuke from Him.  The sinful woman knew that she was broken and needed Jesus’ forgiveness, but Simon, on the other hand, did not recognize his brokenness.

Romans 3:23 states that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  The truth is, we are all broken people who need Jesus.  We can complete this sentence: “We are the people who _________________________________________” (“The End of Me”).  Who have debt, ignored the hurting, looked down on others, etc.  We are the kind of people who wants to avoid being honest with ourselves.  “Most of us have some conception, in our heart to hearts, that a lot of the pieces never seem to be mended.  But we will go to great lengths to avoid the full, honest embrace of our condition” (“The End of Me”).  “The only solution for being broken is brokenness.  Brokenness is the way to wholeness.” (“The End of Me”).

APPLICATION

When was the last time you recognized your brokenness and knelt at Jesus’ feet overwhelmed by His love for you?  Are you avoiding the brokenness that keeps on pulling you down and telling you lies about yourself?  It’s time to bear your scars and be real with God and others about your past or present life.  It’s time for you to be whole again through Christ.

PRAYER

“God, take my broken pieces and remold them into what seems best for you” (“The End of Me”).  Lord, help me to be vulnerable and bear my scars so I can be mended and whole again.  In Your Name, Amen!

Women’s Insecurities – Week Five

As I bring this series to a close, I felt like it was appropriate to post a declaration instead of a lengthy blog.  It only seems appropriate after we talked about the causes of rejection and how to overcome it though Christ that we declare God’s power over our lives.  Remember that “rejection never has the final say.  Rejection may be a delay or distraction or even a devastation for a season.  But it’s never a final destination.  [We are] destined for a love that can’t ever be diminished, tarnished, shaken, or taken.  With You, Jesus, [we are] forever safe. [We are] forever accepted. [We are] forever held.  Completely loved and always invited in” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).

DECLARATION:  (Written by Lysa TerKeurst in her book, Uninvited)

Whatever rejection has stolen from you, I declare that the deepest desperation you’ve experienced will lead to God’s greatest revelation in your life.

I declare that the Lord will give you relief from your unbelief.

He will restore you, redeem you, and write His story–His glorious story onto the pages of your life.

It will happen.

Doubt and defeat have no place in the sacred sanctuary of your heart.

Bitterness, resentment, and anger have no place in a life as beautiful as yours.

PRAYER:  (Written by Lysa TerKeurst in her book, Uninvited)

From now on when misguided voices or the enemy himself tries to put you down with lies or pull you away from the truth or push you into anything that could derail your destiny, I pray that you will sense the mighty hands and heart of God…

  • Lift you up with truth.
  • Draw you close with His loving tenderness.
  • And shame Satan back to hell with His resurrecting power.

Women’s Insecurities – Week Four

In the last three weeks, we have talked about being honest with ourselves and explaining the common areas that women struggle with on a day-to-day basis.  We have also talked about self-rejection from our past as well as rejection from others.  This week we are focusing on how to deal with rejection and use it to better ourselves rather than allow it to bring us down.

Studies show that rejection affects the physical pathways in our brain (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  Rejection is a deep rooted issue that people face every day, and it stirs up our emotions to make us think negative about ourselves or to something.  It can be defined as not “just an emotional feeling, [but] a message that alters what you believe about yourself” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  Rejection has the power to change who we are as an individual.  It can change the way think about a situation.  It is a physical pain that reminds us of loss and feeling unwanted.  “Rejection can make [us] question [God’s] goodness” in our lives (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).

If we don’t want rejection to ruin our lives, we need to have a new perspective on how we handle rejection.  In the Spiritual realm, we can think of it as a blessing.  Lysa TerKeurst stated that “today’s disappointment is making room for tomorrow’s appointment” (Uninvited).  We do not always understand why God says no to our prayers or requests when we want it so badly, but we do not want to miss God’s opportunities by always remembering the disappointments of our past.  We never move past the disappointment if we always ask “why” questions rather than “what” questions.  “‘What’ questions increase our ability to become more self-aware, while ‘why’ questions only focus on things out of control (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  When we ask “why” we see what we lack rather than what is ahead of us.

So…”What’s a brokenhearted person to do?” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  How do we overcome rejection?  We “praise, seek, and look to God” for comfort.  We “experience, learn from, and draw near to God” in every situation (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  Rejection does not label us, and it is not a permanent condition.  It does not keep us from succeeding in our future; It just means we had a setback.  “If we give [rejection] the power to define us, it will haunt us long-term.  But if we only allow it enough power to refine us, the hurt will give way to healing” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  TerKeurst also states to “not let [rejection] destroy [us but to] use it in good ways to make [us] stronger” (Uninvited).  We need to use it to empower us to become better.  “Don’t let today’s reaction become tomorrow’s regret” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  What this statement is saying is do not allow your emotions to get in the way of wisdom.

Our past rejections do not have to define our future.  It is our choice to change rejection for the good.  Maybe God wanted you to take another path than the one you prayed about.  Maybe God allowed you to experience a hurtful situation so you could understand compassion towards others.  “The enemy loves to take our rejection and twist it into a raw, irrational fear that God really doesn’t have a good plan for us” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  Do not believe that lie, because “God is always at work” in our lives.  “He is a present, loving Father, aware of our deepest hurts and even our deeper needs” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).

Even if you don’t hear His voice, He is there!
Even though you don’t feel His touch, He is there!
Even if you lost your faith, He is there!

APPLICATION

Yes, rejection hurts, but we can overcome it through Jesus Christ.  We are all overcomers through Him.  We do not have to live in defeat by our own insecurities.  Rejection is only a temporary setback to make us stronger.  Our past hurts and failures do not have to hinder our future.  We get up, dust ourselves off, and walk towards Jesus.  Jesus is our Healer and our Comforter.  He is the One who guides us towards our future with confidence and self-worth.

I encourage all of us to remove the labels in our lives and let God redefine who we are through His promises and love.  We live in victory when we live for Christ!  Our success comes from Him.  It does not come from our past.  It does not come from the devil.  It only comes from God.

God Writes Your Story

We try to write our own story and tell God what we want to happen in our lives. We want things done our way instead of God’s way. When we do life on our own, it does not give God the glory. Our lives will not show God’s power to those around us.

What we create out of our flesh will be flawed and mediocre. When we allow God to take control over our lives and work through us, the finished product will be flawless. We limit ourselves when we do not depend on Him. When we completely put our trust in God, we will flourish. We will see more victories when we allow God to lead us.

God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “’for My thoughts are not Your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” This Scripture confirms that we need to depend on Him in every decision we make in our lives. His ways are higher than our ways!

God wants us to surrender to Him so He can write our story. Are we prepared for what He has in store for us? God wants the best for us!  God’s love is unconditional. He knows everything about us. Psalm 139 goes into great detail of how God knows us from the inside out. Why wouldn’t we want to give God control over our lives? He already knows us on an intimate level. Luke 12:7 says, “indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

God’s Purpose for Our Lives

Picture yourself at a desk with a blank piece of paper and a pen. You are writing down your dreams, desires, and needs to God. You are praying for Him to fulfill these things in your life. Imagine God reading through the to-do list you presented to Him through prayer. He picks up a red marker and draws a line through each item on your list. Then, He begins to write down His dreams and desires for your life. As He continues, He writes down the Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11. Jesus says, “’for I know the plans I have for you,’ […] ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

He knows our past, present, and future! His purpose for our lives is greater than we could ever imagine. He writes down the impossible; when we write down the possible. His dreams are so big that we cannot accomplish them without depending on Him.

So here is the challenge that I am giving you that will transform your life forever. Put down the pen and look towards Jesus! I encourage you to seek God’s dreams and desires over your life. God wants you to release everything to Him. He is asking you to give your life to Him.

Here is a simple prayer that I would like for you to pray: “I surrender to Your ways, Oh God! Write my story, Lord! – the most beautiful story ever written. I completely and whole-heartedly trust in You!” 

Application:

Who is writing your life story? Is God writing your story or are you still struggling for control?

What are some insecurities and fears that you need to surrender to God and allow Him to fully work in your life? I encourage you to spend time in God’s presence and ask for His guidance.

My Testimony

My Story Full of Regret, Past Hurts, and Being Unlovable

After asking you to share your story with others, it is only fair that I tell you my story.

The story of my home life growing up was much like a fairy tale. I grew up in a loving and caring home, never lacking anything. I lived with a mother and a father who loved each other and made sure their children were provided for. I was a very happy child who enjoyed life. But, even though I had a fairy tale home life, it does not mean there were not challenges and struggles in my life. My family was in and out of church until I was seventeen years old. We believed in God but, at times, did not devote our lives to Christ. There were many insecurities and wrong mindsets that I was raised in that I had to break away from and learn how to conquer them.

As I continue to conquer my childhood fears, God is teaching me how to be a confident woman in Christ. Recently, I have conquered my ultimate fear. It is the fear of rejection and being imperfect. I grew up with an unhealthy and unrealistic belief that I needed to be flawless to be loved. I did not want to disappoint others so I created a false image of myself. I would try to impress others by becoming just like them to feel accepted. If people were disappointed in me or did not like me, I would be very upset and try to win them over by doing anything to get their approval, even if it meant going against my beliefs. I created an unhealthy approval addiction that lasted over thirty years. I cannot say I have fully overcome these insecurities, but I can say I have boundaries. I allow God to have the final say in my actions and words.

How I overcame these fears was not a simple task. I had to go back into my past hurts and failures to see the root of the problem. I had to relive moments that I was not proud of and work through the emotions. As I was trying to find peace from my past, it brought on more guilt and shame into my life.

Through trying to process these hurts and failures, I became depressed. I hurt my family with my harsh words, lost friendships due to isolation, and missed big events in my family’s life due to depression. I was haunted daily by the fear of rejection and loneliness. The fear became a reality, and I created a life filled with negative mindsets and false accusations. I thought everyone was against me, and I had to protect myself from being hurt again. I tried to look normal on the outside when everything within me was chaotic.

During this time, I broke off an engagement, stopped communicating with my family for almost a year, lost my best friend and roommate, almost lost my job, and left my church due to being judged. Life was falling apart, and I did not know where to go for help. In the midst of all this chaos, the doctor put me on antidepressants and a strong sleeping pill. The prescribed medicine put me into a deeper depression. I could think clearly but did not know what to do with my thoughts. I felt like a zombie with no control over my emotions. I became an angry person, not caring what others thought about me.

One night I was tired of hurting those around me by my actions and words and did not want to live another day. I was miserable and afraid. This was not the first time to think these thoughts, but it was the first time that I wanted to act on them. As I am writing this, tears are rolling down my face knowing that this was a very low moment in my life. I still struggle with the fact that I wanted to end my life. I picked up my prescription sleeping pills off the bedside table and thought about taking just enough so I would not wake up in the morning to another dreadful day. No one was in my home to stop me. Not many people knew I was depressed, because I kept my thoughts to myself. No one would have guessed that I had suicidal thoughts.

God saved me that night. Instead of taking the pills, I fell asleep with the pill bottle in my hand. I woke up the next morning with the bottle next to me on my bed, never opened. Since that day, I have fought for purpose over my life and asked God back into my heart. I am thankful for waking up every day and having the opportunity to share God’s love with others. This is not a moment I want to relive, but that night God brought me back to Him. I am reminded daily of the Scripture, Psalm 30:5, which says, “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” I am grateful for God’s unconditional love for me. Even when I turned away from Him, He was there to rescue me. This happened in spring of 2007, and it has taken me nearly seven years to heal the hurt and shame from these events.

I pray that my story touches someone’s life, maybe even yours. I hope you can see how God loves you no matter where you are in life. Our stories matter, and we need to share them with others. To be honest, it took me two weeks to finally write my story in this blog. I was fearful of being rejected or looked at differently because of my past. God empowered me to write my story for the very first time so I can turn my past hurts and failures into a testimony. Before now, my mother and head pastor were the only ones who knew my story. I have been too fearful to speak it out, but now I am learning what it means to be transparent. I am learning how to completely trust God with my story. It is now time for you to trust God with your story, and let Him turn it into a testimony.

Share Your Story – Part Three

THE IMPORTANCE OF TELLING YOUR STORY

The Bible has great stories of men and women who shared their stories with others. They shared how Jesus healed them and saved them from their sins. These people did not just tell their stories, but they told about Jesus’ miracles.

Biblical Examples

Jesus Heals a Blind Man

In the Book of John, chapter nine, Jesus and His disciples saw a man who was blind from birth. The disciples question Jesus asking Him, “’who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ and Jesus replied, ’neither this man nor his parents sinned […] but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (verses 2-3).

Jesus approached the blind man. He “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes” (verse 6). Jesus told the man to “wash in the Pool of Siloam,” and the man obeyed (verse 7). Jesus gave the man his sight by using spit and mud. Now, this is not a story that many people would believe unless they saw the miracle firsthand.

The man went home and his neighbors questioned whether or not this was the same man who was blind. His neighbors began to ask questions. The man told them about the encounter with Jesus. They brought this man to the Pharisees. The man was questioned by the Pharisees, and he proceeded to tell the story. He declared that, “’[Jesus] is a prophet’” (verse 17).

The Pharisees did not believe that this man was ever blind and asked to speak with his parents. His parents refused to answer the questions and told them to ask their son directly. They spoke with the man again and the man repeated his story for the third time. In verse 25, he declared, “’I was blind but now I see!”

The Pharisees released the man. The man had a second encounter with Jesus and became a Christian. Jesus’ miracle did not just bless the blind man, but Jesus’ name was spread throughout the neighborhoods and to the Pharisees. This man’s story turned into a testimony once he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Whether or not anyone believed him, he shared his story with others and gave God the glory.

The Samaritan Woman

In the Book of John, chapter 4, verses 1 through 42, Jesus was resting alone at a well “when a Samaritan woman came to draw water” (verse 7). Jesus asked her for a drink of water. The woman responded, “’You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’” (verse 7). During Jesus’ time, the Jews and the Samaritans did not associate with each other.

Jesus and the Samaritan woman continued to ask each other questions. The woman observed that Jesus did not have a pail to draw water from the well and inquired about it. Jesus answered, “’everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (verses 13-14). In verse 10, Jesus says He is “living water.”

The woman was eager to receive the “living water” that Jesus was talking about, and He began to speak truth over her life. He revealed that she was not married and was previously married five times. The man she was currently with was not her husband. The woman did not deny Jesus’ statements and said, “’I can see that you are a prophet’” (verse 19).

The woman was instantly changed by Jesus’ encounter. She left her watering jug at the well and walked back to town. She said to the people, “’come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’” (verse 29). The people followed the Samaritan woman out of the town to find this Messiah that she was talking about.

The Samaritan woman brought many people to Christ by sharing her story. In verse 39, it says, “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for two days and continued to share God’s love with them. In verse 42, the people of the town declared, “’we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’”

Why we Need to Tell Our Story

After reading about the blind man and the Samaritan woman, we see the importance of sharing our story. We must be willing to be transparent with others to bring people to Christ. God has transformed our story into a testimony. It is not just a story about heartache and regret. It is a testimony of God’s love in our lives. He has changed our story from something we thought was ugly to something beautiful. God healed us and brought hope into our lives.

When we tell our story, we tell about Jesus! Jesus tells the blind man in John 9:5 that “I am the light of the world.” If we are created in God’s image, then we are to be the “light of the world.” Will you tell your story to the world?

Application:

Telling our stories are important. It helps ourselves as well as others grow in Christ.  I encourage you to re-evaluate your life to see if there are any areas that you are ashamed of or too embarrassed to speak out loud. If you feel comfortable, write down what these areas are and pray over them. During your prayer time, spend some time in the Bible looking up Scriptures for boldness and courage.

Share Your Story – Part Two

Benefits for Sharing Your Story

Sharing our story does not just benefit us. It also benefits others. It helps people grow in their faith when they see how we depended on God to help us through a bad situation. They see our strengths, and how God empowered us to find victory in our lives.

Sharing our story also shows people that we are not afraid to talk about our imperfections. If we are willing to be transparent and share our story, it will bring others comfort that we all have a past. People will feel more comfortable to share their story when we are not afraid to share our story with them.

Sharon Jaynes wrote a book called, “Your Scars Are Beautiful To God.” This is an incredible book that talks about how our past creates hindrances in our lives. Our past can be compared to a scar that we get when we are physically hurt. We may heal from the past, but the scar will remain as a reminder of where we have been and where we are now. Our scars tell a story!

Jaynes said in her book that “when we are not ashamed of our scars, but tell the story of how God redeemed our lives from the pit, people can see Jesus in our lives. He becomes real to them. Suddenly, Jesus isn’t just a man in a book or a face in a painting. He becomes the Healer, the Sustainer, the Redeemer…He becomes real.”

Application:

Do you have a story to tell? What is holding you back from telling your story? Is it shame, regret, or unforgiveness? What is hindering you from turning your story into a testimony?

I encourage you to spend some time in prayer and ask God to give you the courage to tell your story. It can begin with one person that you trust who is not judgmental. It can be a pastor, a close friend, or a family member. Seek freedom from your past. The more you share your story, the more freedom you will receive in your life!