How do you put into words the importance of a good story? For me, stories are my most favorite way to explore the world and all it has to offer. When I was a child I would sit at the feet of my grandmother and I would listen to the tales of a Naval Officers’ wife in WWII and how she worked as an elocutionist on the radio to make extra money for her family. I used my imagination to place myself into her stories which allowed a child to relate to something so far out of context. As I have gotten older, and experienced so much more that life brings, my perspective of her stories has changed drastically. Instead of envying her position and occupation, I feel the weight of separation from her husband and fear for his life and the constant stress to make ends meet. Quite plainly, the rose colored glasses come off when the innocence of childhood is lost. That being said, the strength and tenacity of my grandmother that I can now see in her stories as an adult, inspires me to be strong and brave in spite of life’s curve balls.
And isn’t that the point of sharing our stories? To feel connection? I believe that through our shared experiences, despite the details, we find commonality that transcends all language and cultural barriers. There is something deeply comforting to look into the eyes of another human, share a hug, and know that they too understand both tragedy and triumph.
Today I was given the opportunity to share a part of my story that is full of both extreme pain and extravagant hope. The long term team we are here to support knew of the amazing things God has done in my life and felt a deep desire to have me share with a Spanish evangelical church in Barcelona in order to encourage the body with a story that tells of the miracles of God. As I have shared at Existence in the past, in 2015, I was healed in my body, mind and soul from paralysis, depression and a true crisis of faith. As I shared, one of our team leaders translated, and the feeling in the room was absolutely community at its finest. We laughed, we cried, and though we could not speak each other’s languages, the transcending love of Christ filled that place and brought hope in a way that only He can.
Directly following, another team leader gave an invitation to the congregation to come to the alter and receive prayer for healing in whatever form it was needed, and the response was overwhelming. Dozens of women and men came and poured their hearts out in a language I could not understand and yet as I prayed with them, those things fell to the wayside and the presence of the Holy Spirit was tangibly felt.
How does that even happen? How is it possible? Well, here is what I know… our God is the God of this universe who transcends all space and time. He does not need Google Translate. He does not need our help. But He loves to use His children and it is my greatest honor to be used by Him. Galatians 5:13 tells us that “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” As we share our stories, we are able to walk in our freedom in Christ and love one another well.
What story is inside of you that God wants to use?