How sharing my heartbreaking story SAVED a person’s life—still humbled

how sharing my heartbreaking story saved a person's life

Are you curious about God’s purpose for your life? Do you wonder if it’s possible to discover it? You may even be wondering if you’ve missed it somehow. I totally get that! Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could know for sure that you’re totally in God’s will for your life? You’re not alone.
All over the world there are people just like you, wondering … and wandering. At times you question why you are here on earth. You have no clue what difference you can make. You want to be a person who can make a difference in the lives of others, but how can you do that when you have no idea how to even help yourself? Deep down you have an inkling that the Bible has the answers, but you wonder how an ancient book can help with today’s problems. Friend, I understand, and I’m here with good news for you! We don’t have to figure out the whole plan for our future. We simply have to read God’s Word and do what it says … and it’s there we find our purpose.

I’d like to share with you an example of doing just that. It’s an excerpt from my book Walk It Out. This is an amazing story of what can happen when we step out of our comfort zone and dare to follow what God is asking us to do. In this case a life save. I’m still amazed by this story!

A Story Worth Telling 

an excerpt from Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time

 

Years ago Robin Jones Gunn, an author and friend of mine, came to Montana to speak at a women’s retreat and to visit me. The night before the retreat she, our friend Joanna Weaver, and I were staying at a condo that offered a few special amenities. We decided it would be fun to soak in the hot tub as we gazed over the snowy landscape that surrounded us. The problem was, the hot tub didn’t work. Joanna called the condo’s owner, who was a friend, to notify her of the problem. Since it was already evening and a repairman couldn’t come right away, the owner suggested we use the hot tub at her house instead.
“I’m out of town but I’ll have the caretaker meet you to let you in,” she told us.
The caretaker was waiting when we arrived, and we soon discovered he’d brought his wife and son with him.

Robin and Joanna entered the home first, while I parked the car in the snow. As Robin entered, a darling strawberry-blond toddler trotted over to her, lifted his arms, and allowed her to scoop him up. His surprised young mom told Robin his name was Toby. He was eighteen months old and not usually that friendly with strangers.

That’s the scene I entered into—Robin holding this adorable toddler. As I walked through the door, Toby’s mother turned to me and froze. In a shaking voice she said, “It’s you! You’re the one who spoke at the luncheon two years ago.”

I nodded, even though I wasn’t sure what event she spoke about.

“Do you remember how you shared your story? You talked about being a teen mom and that you prayed that God would send you a Christian husband?”

I nodded.

“I don’t know if you remember my telling you this after the luncheon, but I had just found out I was pregnant.”

As I peered into her beautiful face, it all came back to me. This was the young woman who had stood to the side and waited until everyone had left. Her eyes had been wide and filled with fear.

“I remember you,” I told her, reaching out my hand to take hers. “But I can’t remember your name.”

“Kelly,” she reminded me. “I had an abortion scheduled just a few days later.” Kelly gazed at Toby cuddled up in Robin’s arms. “But after I heard your story and what you said about how God answered your prayers, I cancelled the appointment, and I prayed for a husband, just like you did.”

Her smile widened, and tears formed in her eyes. “I always wanted to see you again so I could tell you that God answered my prayers. He brought an amazing Christian guy into my life. Dave loves me, and he loves my son. We’ve been married for almost a year. When I think about what my life would be like right now if I hadn’t heard your story and done what you suggested …”

By then we were all hugging and crying and hugging some more. Toby climbed into my arms and received my cuddles and kisses. It was such a beautiful moment. Light and hope seemed to fill the room.

That night, I thanked God for the miracle encounter. And it was a miracle. It “just so happened” that our hot tub hadn’t been working. It also “just so happened” that Dave brought Kelly and Toby along for the ride. The place that Kelly and I met the second time was over one hundred miles away from where we met the first time. God used this encounter to remind me of the power of sharing our stories—not just the good parts but the pain and the heartache, too.

THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE …

 

Kelly’s story likely would have turned out differently if I’d kept my story to myself. I speak a lot these days, but I never wanted to be a professional speaker. My passion has always been writing! As a young Christian the only public speaking I’d done was for my college Speech class, and each time I spoke in front of the group my knees quivered so much the teacher asked me if I needed to sit down.

Yet through the years as I studied God’s Word and grew as a Christian, I knew that the transformation in my heart wasn’t something to keep to myself. God made His directive clear in His Word:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16 BSB)

I can’t imagine any child who’s grown up going to Sunday school not knowing the song, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna to let it shine.” My Sunday school teacher explained letting our light shine meant sharing Jesus with those we knew, so even though I was a timid child, I invited friends to vacation Bible school. I understood even then that the world was a dark place that needed Jesus’s light. And I liked hearing stories about how Jesus changed people. I remember listening to church members and visitors tell their testimonies about how God had saved them from drugs, sex, and cults. (It was the early 80s after all.) I can’t remember many sermons I heard growing up, but I do remember when people talked about how God saved them, changed them, and was now using them.

But in the early years after I became a Christian I resisted telling others about what Jesus had done for me. My sin was so dark. The last thing I wanted to tell people was that I’d had two teen pregnancies and an abortion. Yet I couldn’t share about my soul’s transformation without revealing where I’d been and what I’d done.

When I finally started telling my story, I spoke in smaller settings, like the teen mom support group. Whenever people suggested I share it with larger groups I brushed their comments aside. When Pastor Daniel asked me to speak in front of the church I told him I’d think about it. Still, God wouldn’t let me shake the feeling that I should do it.

In my daily Bible reading, I kept running across passages like this: “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” Ephesians 5:8 (NLT). It wasn’t a suggestion, but a command. To live as a person of light was to spread the Good News of Jesus—the light—through the world. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine,” my children would sing, piercing my soul. The conviction grew that God was opening a door for me to share my story in a wider context, and that I needed to walk through it.

What has God done in your life? Where has He healed you, forgiven you, protected you? That is the story you need to share. Our stories assure others that we’ve been where they’ve been. That we understand. They also offer hope that healing and change is possible.

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