I Am Not Alone

“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” 
1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)

Searching and searching for something to watch on TV while my youngest napped, frantically trying to find reprieve from the day of giving and giving, just for the brief moment of quiet time…Netflix, nothing. E!…nothing. Bravo…nothing. Ok, ok, I hear you, Lord. I turned on Right Now Media and watched a Bible study led by Jennie Allen of If: Gathering. She, along with three other incredible Godly women, sat in the midst of the dramatic backdrop of Israel, right where Jesus taught, ministered, fed, and healed many. Bianca Olthoff led this video session about Jesus healing the demon-possessed man in Mark chapter 5, verses 1-20. I had heard this story many times, but today, it hit me different.

“They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him.Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened.And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs.And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. (Mark 5: 1-20 ESV)

No one had the strength to subdue him. This man, often bound and tied down, was so possessed, so consumed, that he would cut himself with stones, was crying out, living amongst the tombs, half naked, loud, and unclean. However, even though he was possessed and lost all control, he saw Jesus. He saw Jesus coming and he ran to him. He asked Jesus to help him, and Jesus, with just a few words, ordered the demons to come out of the man. The people of the city then saw the man that was possessed, sitting, calm, clothed, peaceful. What a difference! The man begged to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go and tell what the Lord has done. 

Go and tell.

Simple words, but hard to do sometimes. For me, going and telling means I need to set aside my shame, fear, doubts, insecurities.

But the great commission is just that, to go and tell.

God works in our lives and sometimes we do not even see it. Like when we are stuck in traffic and agitated that we were late. I believe that God is using moments like those to mold us. Or to save us. I remember taking my toddler to preschool one day and we were running a little behind. Sure enough, as we approached the only train tracks in the area, a train goes by and we are stuck at the blinking wooden blockades halting us in our tracks. As soon as the train went by and the arms went up allowing us to continue, I rushed on to our church to drop my oldest son off at preschool. After kissing him goodbye and giving hugs, I scooped up my baby and headed back to the car. I got our littlest strapped in and we headed back to the house. Less than a mile away from our church headed home, an accident happened just seconds before we got there. A car got severely rear-ended and the police weren’t even there yet. Immediately I was brought to tears. I thanked God over and over for protecting us and pausing us at that railroad tracks. If we hadn’t been held up, we would’ve left church and headed home a couple minutes earlier and that could have been us in the accident. I was humbled. I was thanking God for using that one moment to protect us. 

So why is it important to share our stories? Why is it important to point our lives to God and show what He has done in our lives? 

Everyone has a past. Everyone has a story. Everyone’s story is unique and God has shaped us and molded us and is guiding us to be more like Him. 

The devil doesn’t want us to share our testimonies. I remember being in a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting and we were given time to share our testimonies. After sharing mine, the ladies at my table were so sweet and told me that I had an incredible testimony and life story. To me, it doesn’t seem that great. Nothing special. But that is the devil working to keep us quiet. 

The pain I have endured losing my mother at a young age, or watching my child struggle to breath with RSV and pneumonia, or learning that I was a product of artificial insemination from a donor and one day finding blood siblings, to health battles, to guiding us to our home that ultimately led us to our church, where I was later baptized and accepted Christ into my heart…God has used it ALL to mold me and shape me and to use my voice and my story to lead others to Him.

I am NOT perfect. I do NOT know it all. I am constantly learning and struggling and lack confidence in sharing the Word. But I am learning that it doesn’t matter. I can share my story and point to God and He will do the rest. It is not up to me. It is up to Him. 

I pray that wherever you are today, that you know you are loved. You are redeemed. You are forgiven. You are perfect in God’s eyes and He created you for a purpose and a plan and you are loved.

So why share my story? I often asked myself this question. Then a sweet friend stated, “If it points just one person to Jesus, isn’t it worth it?” 

Yes. Jesus is worth it. Jesus is my Savior and my Redeemer and my Father. My journey to overcome the sting of death, the release of fear, and knowing that I am not alone in my story. I am a sinner. But I am loved and forgiven by a Father who unconditionally loves me. And loves you, too. I am brought to tears thinking how forgiving our Father is, one who gives us chance after chance to be faithful and yet everyday I fail and he still loves me. He still forgives me. His own son died on the cross for me. For you. I am so humbled and in awe. 

And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.”

So feel free to go and share! I will be sharing my testimony occasionally on Lifestyle with Lauren, but I am also writing it all down for future writing endeavors. I pray that though my sharing, you will feel safe to share as well.

If you don’t know Jesus and want to learn more, I am always here to talk. Feel free to message me anytime.

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