*For those of you following me here and at The Church Blog please forgive me for posting this in both places. I am trying to figure out where to post what but this is important to me and I wanted it in both places. Thank you!*
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a conference that a dear friend of mine, Sibi, was speaking at. You can read more about her ministry and our friendship here, here, here, and here. I have heard her speak before and because we have been friends for several years, I know much of her story.
Her story is a but God story. The type of story that brings you to tears each time you hear it because it is just that heart breaking…but God. God took what man did wrong and used it for His glory.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in
order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
All the heartbreak and brokenness man heaped on her God healed and rebuilt. Because she now shares this, her testimony, many lives are saved… changed for eternity. Women find hope in her story because if God can do such a radical transformation in her life what might He do in their own!?
I had this moment with God not too long after meeting Sibi. As she would share pieces of her past, I would be shocked at the fact that I could not see any residue of that left in her. She was not the broken person she had been, she was whole, full, and overflowing to others. God used this to open my spiritual eyes to some brokenness I still had. Brokenness that I wasn’t even aware of. I thought the effects of my brokenness was just apart of who I was, my personality. But God… He had other plans, plans to trade beauty for ashes and to rebuild the devastated places.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
I pushed in close and dug in deep. I allowed God to reveal some ugly and broken places in my heart, places where full forgiveness had never been offered because I had never allowed myself to fully explore the pain that had been caused. And until I allowed myself to fully feel and view with hindsight the full amount of damage caused I could not fully forgive. As I went through this, there were days, I didn’t want to leave my bed because the weight of it all would be so heavy but God showed up day after day. Eventually, as I started to forgive things got lighter. So light, one day I was shocked. I was shocked by the change. There was no more anger, no more hurt. My responses to life started to look different. I was operating from a full and overflowing place and no longer from a place of brokenness.
Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:22-25
Seeing who Sibi is and knowing all that she has gone through was what God used to open my eyes to pain I was still carrying. I dug in deep and allowed God to rebuild my devastation and now I share my story with others. One night last week my friend, Suzanne, used the words spiritual mentor to describe me. I know that I could not be full enough to overflow into her life had God not healed me. God used a testimony to start my healing, to change my life and the life of those around me.
Share Your Testimony!
Your Story Matters!
Who is the One You Should Tell Today?
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and
considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
Has God ever used someone's testimony to change your life?