“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:11 ESV
This verse has been rolling around my head since our Women’s Bible Study last fall. Especially the part about, “the word of their testimony.” Every Christian has a story, (1 John 5:10) because every Christian has been saved from something. But what if we’re not just meant to be saved from something. What if we’re actually meant to be saved for something? And what if that starts by simply sharing what God has and is doing in our lives?
Honestly, that’s as far as I got for several months. If you’re like me, when you hear something about telling your story you think that means sharing a polished story from a platform with a large audience. We have all experienced the transformative power of that type of storytelling! I’ve come to realize that sharing experiences from our lives is more than a one-time encounter. It goes far beyond one story to one audience as God uses our story to affect those who are listening. Telling our story starts with a grateful awareness of God’s work in our lives and routinely sharing that work with the people around us as we go.
I also realize there are a lot of hang-ups when it comes to sharing. We are all sinful people. Therefore, we have been hurt by sinful people and, as sinful people, we have done hurtful things. This can make God’s work in us messy and sometimes hard to share. Let’s look at the last part of Revelation 12:11, “for they loved not their lives even unto death”, which is another way to say they chose to set their pride, fear, and comfort aside to be used by God.
Friends, don’t let your past keep you from boldly proclaiming God’s goodness in the present! 1 Chronicles 16:8 says, “give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known His deeds among the peoples.” Share what you can, when you can and, as you do, God will grow this spiritual muscle in you. When Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim his message, he told them not to worry about what to say or how to say it and reminded them that God would speak through them (Matthew 10:19-20).
I’m proposing this thought to you today as a fellow struggler, but also as encouragement. Whether your story is polished or raw, your audience is 1 or 1,000, I want to encourage you to train your mind to focus on God’s continual faithfulness. Practice keeping His faithfulness on your lips day and night, ’til Kingdom come.
1. Pray: Ask God to help you tell your story for His glory (Matthew 5:16).
2. Write it Down: write down 3 things God has/is doing in your life THIS week.
3. Share: reach out to a friend, family member, neighbor, etc. and talk to them.
4. Repeat this process as often as possible!
During this COVID season, I have been filling blank journal pages with lots of conversations to God about how I feel about pretty much anything I can think of. I would usually meet up with friends in person, and talk to them about my feelings and thoughts, but the “shelter at home” forced me to sit alone and be with my thoughts and feelings.
Every night, I would sit on my porch while the sun began to set and rock in my chair… preparing myself to talk to God. I talked to Him about everything that mattered to me. I would ask God, “What do You think about that?” I didn’t get a quick, or audible answer, but I would think about what the Bible says about what I care about.
I also talked to God about my mess-ups, I have learned that He really wants me to bring those kinds of things too…. not just the pretty “neat” things…. but the messy, imperfect things, the things I cringe at. I am not proud of these things, but I believe He loves me despite them. I am convinced that where God is, I am safe. I am safe to be myself and to bring everything to Him and offer it as a sacrifice. The courage, the fear, the sin, and the victories… EVERYTHING!
The point I am trying to make is that God wants YOU, all of you, and He enjoys listening and caring about you.
Allowing myself to be in His presence, unashamed and unbothered, has been so liberating! After each conversation I have with God, I feel safer, and more loved
Truths I know…
- I know He will direct my path (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- I know He will give me what I need (Psalm 23).
- I know He loves me (John 3:16).
- I know His spirit will help me follow Him (Romans 8:26-27).
I know these things, because I choose to believe what He says in the Bible. My feelings may not believe it but I choose to believe despite how I feel.
Songs that Inspired this blog:
Life- Hillsong United
“Take my heart
Take my soul
Take my mind and I will
Give my thoughts
Give my all
Give my life to follow You
Take my hands
Take my breath
Take my dreams and I will
Lift my eyes
Lift my faith
Lift my voice and worship You”
As You Find Me- Hillsong United
“To think You don’t need a single thing
And still You want my heart”
Build My Life- Housefires
“And I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken”
It is not often we collectively find ourselves in the same season as those around us. While we each might be going through the COVID experience differently, all of us are having to find our way through something unexpected, different & new. What we knew is gone. We don’t really know what’s ahead.
Have you ever been through a major, unexpected, life shift before? If so, you might be experiencing some familiar feelings, thoughts or concerns. If you haven’t, welcome to a New Normal. The place and time where things are turned upside down. Where we have to look beyond ourselves and our plans to find understanding, direction, comfort and security.
During this season, I have dived even deeper into God’s truth. He has reminded me that He is still with us and still at work. He’s brought my attention to five scripture passages to encourage me. I pray they encourage you too.
• Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
• Isaiah 43:18-19a “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?”
• Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
• 1 Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
I love how The Passion Translation says “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.”
• James 5:13a “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.”
As I am walking into my new normal, I hear God saying, “I am here! What you’re going through isn’t a surprise to me. There is no need to look back. Follow me into what I am creating. Don’t be afraid, I’m here with you. Tell me what you’re thinking and feeling. I promise it will help.”
As I listen to God, I write my prayers to him. As I write, I find new perspective and I am strengthened.
Sweet friend, as much as we long for it, I don’t know if getting back to “normal” is God’s desire for us. As we walk into the future there will be more transition and transformation. Our circumstances won’t be the same, and neither will we. Thankfully, we do not walk alone! I pray as you walk with God into your new normal you are filled with peace from the unchanging truth that you are a daughter of the one true king, and are loved beyond measure.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was a made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
I don’t know about you, but some days I’m a mess! The struggle to control my thoughts, words, and face is real!! But on my worst days, I’m grateful for the words of this Psalm – the reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God. Did you get that? I’m not wonderfully made simply because I strive and work hard to be wonderful. Rather I’m the work of a loving Father who has a plan in which I’m invited to be a part.
I don’t know if you have ever knitted before or watched someone else knit. But if you have, you know that the fingers of the crafter touches EVERY SINGLE STITCH and not one stitch happens by accident. In the same way, you and I have been carefully designed and are strategically being perfected. Not something just thrown together with a hope for the best. But something that is intimately and tenderly held in the fingertips of God and being beautifully formed. The Amplified Bible says, “as if embroidered with many colors”!
So submit yourself again to Jesus. Fall into his loving hands with complete abandon. All your days have been ordained by God – including this one! So as you face this day remember: you are loved and you have value. You are His colorful masterpiece!
At the beginning of every day this week, surrender your day to God and ask Him to help you submit to His work in you. At the end of every day, carve out a few minutes before you fall asleep to reflect on where you saw God at work in you.
> How did God convict me today? This is God teaching us a better way to live.
> How did God help me today? This is God giving us the ability to do what He’s asked us to do.
Then, fall asleep knowing that you are a beautiful masterpiece held tenderly in the hands of a loving father!