A couple of weeks ago, I heard Naomi Striemer’s testimony. Striemer is a singer/songwriter/author/speaker who visited our church to share some of her story. She’s a beautiful young lady, and our family was drawn to her freshness and transparency. You can certainly learn more about her if you would like, but I am going to focus on her song, “Untold Story”, which she sang for us.
We all have an abundance of something. Sometimes, our abundance has been forged in pain–whether through our fault or through someone else’s. Our experiences–and the lessons we have learned from them–are part of our abundance. Remarkably, most of us are living our lives in fear of sharing this abundance. We are so concerned about what other people will think, will say, will do as a result of our transparency, that the fear of the unknown causes us to clam up and remain in a form of spiritual and emotional bondage to that fear. And, often, our fears are somewhat justified. The Church can be a nasty place to bare our souls. Ironically, that nastiness originates in the same spirit of fear that keeps us from ministering to others from our own painful experiences. God will deal with every heart that lives in fear if we will only allow Him. In my opinion, there are far too many secrets among the Body of Christ. The weight of maintaining the images we are trying to maintain–wearing the masks we are attempting to wear–is too heavy a burden for our broken hearts. It’s time to share how Christ has redeemed us in spite of the ugly He found in our lives.
Some of the stories I share with people are not comfortable stories to tell, but there is value in sharing them. Sometimes, to be honest, I don’t want to tell my story. Maybe I’m speaking to a larger group than normal, or maybe there’s someone in the audience whom I personally know, or maybe I just didn’t intend to share what I now feel the Holy Spirit urging me to say. At this point, every time, I have a choice to make: To play it safe in my silence or to obey in the power of the Lord.
Through my fear of not being liked, through my fear of being raw and open and brutally honest about some of the paths I have walked, I hear God whisper to my heart, “Do not be afraid, my child. This is our story. I will waste nothing if you will let Me use it.”
Is this kind of obedience comfortable? Nope. Is it safe from the judgment of my peers? Not really. BUT, I’ve given that to God. He knows what to do with it–how to redeem the yuck into something that is beautiful. He is guarding me–even when I cannot see His hand. He has prepared me for service to Him–for giving Him glory–whether it is in the highs or in the lows of this life. Some day, I will be able to watch the film of His protection over my life–the way He preserved me, protected me, picked me up and held me, when I was too weak or too tired or too small to see Him.
Here is a lyric video of Naomi Striemer’s song. May it be to you the encouragement it has been to me.