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51. It's More Than A Story - Laura Smith

May 27, 2022

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I’ve been reflecting lately on how thankful I am for all the women who have come on this show, who have put their hand up to share the parts of their story they probably didn’t want to be the part that they shared publicly. But through doing so, I’ve been so encouraged and spurred on by. 


When I ask a woman to come on the show, I usually get one of two responses;

“I don't feel like my story is that interesting?”

“I’m really scared to tell everyone that!”. 


What a normal response to have - I feel the same! 


At first glance, our stories (our - being, christian women, or everyone who listens to this show) often feel like they don’t offer much. After all, we’re just living life like everyone else. We’re not all that special? We don’t have anything amazing happening. 

And if we have a story to tell, can’t we tell the good ones? Or the ones that paint us in good light? “Let me tell you about the bible and show you how I’ve studied theology” - something that will look really good. 


The stories of our redemption or sanctification though? Mmmmm I don't know about that! 

More often than not, they’re full of our sin, or loss, or our failures. The things we’re embarrassed by. The things we were wrong on. The things we did when we knew we shouldn’t. The things we couldn't control. The parts of us we struggle to control. The secret things we do or say or watch. The secrets. All the secrets. 


Some of these stories we don’t like to tell. 

Some of these stories we swear we will never tell.

We push them down, lock them so deep away inside us and do our best to convince ourselves never happened or that we were capable of.


I’m pretty convinced that as christians, our stories are keeping us trapped, keeping us from having the freedom we are wanting. We see these not so attractive parts of our stories as obstacles. Things that trip us up and make us fall short. 

The things that stop us from truely believing 

- how many of us have the head knowledgy of forgivenes and grace, but are still weighed down by guilt and shame, not quite believing that God is bigger than all that we’ve done 

- that in every place we’ve failed and fallen short he’s extended forgiveness.

Does he actually really forgive all of me? Everything I’ve done? Everything I do? 


These part of our story are crucial to the gospel. We see them as a barrier to our relationship with God. But aren’t they a key part to coming to Jesus? Owning and revealing our broken stories, by asking for forgiveness and handing over our sin to Jesus is how we surrender to him, how we accept the gift of freedom? 


Our stories, ESPECIALLY the parts we feel shame and guilt about, are the ones that shine Jesus. They show the beauty of the gospel. They show Gods promises of what he can do with our sin and rebellion. That he TRULY forgives us, all the parts of us! 


I really believe our stories are powerful and God uses them to show how amazing he is. Take our bible for example. God, being God, could have his holy word be a list of rules to instruct us. He could have handed over lectures that teach us about him and his character. 

But he doesn’t. He uses the stories of hundreds of people. People just like us, battling their ego, their trauma, emotions, problems. Their poor decisions, their rebellion. These stories do more than show these people’s sin, but they showcase God’s good character. They are stories of his faithfulness. Of his promise keeping to us. 


We see this in the stories of our own lives too. We might see the mess and feel much guilt and shame and fear around our sin, whether is was our abortion 10 years ago, or the porn we watched last night or the way we chose to serve ourself before others just this morning. We fear the reaction of the people around us, I’ll chat more about this another time, but if we can look at our stories in a different way, we can see a faithful God. 

Yes - we grieve our sin. 

Yes - we fight the good fight and we put it to death. 

Yes - we seek forgiveness and repent to God. 

At the same time, I think we like to wallow in our grief and shame. We like to punish ourselves for our failures. 

Our guilt and shame are right, because we do need to seek forgiveness. 

But when we do seek forgiveness, God forgives. 

There is no now condemnation in Christ. You have been forgiven. 

If we could look at our failures and stories a little differently, we can see a record of Gods faithfulness. 

We can see him loving and forgiving us through some really unlovely and what we see as unforgivable things. 

His pursuit of us is inescapable. 

Can see you see the beauty of God in our stories? And if not your own, can you see it in the women who have shared on this show? The power of Gods forgiveness to provide freedom? The stories these women have shared - God has been working to mould these women to be more like Jesus. Through sin and suffering, these women have been used by God to showcase his glory! Seen beautiful things about his character - his kindness and care and protection over these women. 

My genuine prayer for everyone listening to this show is that we might be women who are brave enough to look inside at all the things we’re afraid of sharing. Those secrets and failures and choices we’ve stuffed down deep and look at them through the lens of the gospel. How can we use our story and offer them to the world as a testimony of redemption, of hope. 


We want to use the parts we like about ourselves to point people to Jesus. 

We want people to see the good and think, “I want to be like her”. 


But what if, what if we use the bad and ugly. The stuff that showcases how deep and wide and great Gods love and forgiveness is. 

Isn’t it those things that will be the beacon of hope to a world that feels hopeless? 

That if someone who has done THAT can be forgiven, then they can be too?


Let’s show people how great our Good God is.

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