You may be familiar with a story in the Bible known as “The Woman at the Well.” If not, turn to John 4 to find Jesus and the Woman of Samaria, and you will be so glad you did. Something I love about scripture is that we can read it so many times and yet something completely different can speak to us each time we read it. Recently while reading this particular story, I marked up verse 39, which reads, “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” I wrote in big bold letters on the side of the page, “Share your story.”
I have found myself in a situation several times in recent years where I’m asked, “What’s your story?” Or testimony, or however one chooses to word it. If I’m being completely honest, I usually find a way to leave parts out or make it sound a little “simpler” than it actually is. Some parts hurt and my insecurities creep up begging me to not put it all out there in case people would think differently of me. I also am so quick to not believe it has the power to impact anyone. I found myself in this kind of situation this past summer. I was leading on a camp trip, and at one of the leader meetings we were asked to write a few lines explaining our testimony. They would then choose a couple to put on pieces of cardboard to share with high school students later that week. My immediate thought when given these instructions were “this does not matter because mine will not be chosen.” Well, my few lines were chosen to be put on a piece of cardboard to share in front of the whole camp later that week. The lies I believed that my story was “not powerful enough” or “not good enough” were quickly challenged.
After sharing my cardboard testimony at camp, a high school student from a school I was not a leader at approached me. She appeared rather nervous, but asked if we could talk. I was stunned, but overjoyed and agreed to do so. We went and sat in a corner far from everyone else, and she asked for every detail of my testimony, beginning to now. I told her it all. I don’t think I have ever experienced someone listening to me as that girl was in that moment. It turned out she was going through some experiences that I had gone through during my high school years. On the last day of camp, her leader came up to me and asked if the high school student could take my piece of cardboard home with her, per her request. The back of the cardboard reads, “at rest because Jesus is enough.” The fact that that girl gets to look at those words everyday brings tears of joy to my eyes. I now not only see, but also believe the power in all of this.
This may be just one example, but I encourage every person who has been changed by Jesus to share your story with as many people as you possibly can. Someone out there is going to connect. Someone is going to relate. And someone out there needs to hear it. Time of reflection has led me to seeing how I use to be ashamed and scared to share my story. What I have come to learn is that our story or testimony is not solely about our painful past or hardships we have gone through. It is about so much more than that. It is about how the Creator of the Universe has completely changed you and made you new. The story leading up to it is just a piece of evidence for those around us. It is a witness. Like the woman at the well.
In a book called “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by W. Phillip Keller, he says, “…. only those who have been through such dark valleys can console, comfort, or encourage others in similar situations.” He goes on to say, “The one who can best minister to a broken heart is one who has known a broken heart.” My friends, this is why it is worth sharing. This is the beauty the Lord can bring out of brokenness. Every time I meet a Christian I can’t help but to long in curiosity about how it happened. How Jesus changed them. What led up to their eyes being opened. And what is so incredibly special is that we get to be part of others’ stories. I dream about Heaven a lot, as I’m sure you do too. And as we know, it will be just grand. We will get to worship God, we will get to enjoy great fellowship with others. However, something we will not do there is share with someone the good news of Heaven. Everyone there will already be singing praises with you. Only here on earth for this short time you have left will you have the chance to help others in this way. So go and share your story. It might be what helps others to believe there is a God powerful enough to change them too.
words by Megan Sauers and photo by Gretta Sheehan