Stories can change your life
Stories have the power to delight, to teach, to explain, to thrill, to remember and to bring healing. They bring us from one reality to another. They open up our world.
Stories change the world
When someone tells you their story, both of you change. Something profound happens to the storyteller – and the listener; perhaps it is because the dark, hidden places are no longer so scary. Maybe, it is connecting with someone who can encourage and comfort you. In fact, our story-telling can release forgiveness, joy, and growth. Listening to someone tell you what’s important to them, their hopes and dreams and perhaps even their pain and sorrow is a mysterious gift.
Everyone has a story to tell.
Everyone is on a journey.
And we need each other.
We need to listen, and we need to talk.
Likewise, I found that when I shared my story of the armed robbery, people would connect with me. They would hug me, cry with me, empathize with me and sit with me as I worked through the pain. When we feel afraid and allow fear to hold us captive, we resist telling our story.
I’d like to share two stories with you: Let their courage spur you on to tell your story or to even listen to one.
How a teenage girl conquered her giant one step at a time
“I am an 18-year-old teenage girl from South Africa, and I have battled with the fear of not being good enough and being rejected for many years. For years, I felt this way, probably a consequence of being bullied at school.
Recently, I realized that this giant was lying to me. I am valuable and precious. When I move closer to God and let Him take control, then I can conquer this giant. I choose not to believe” the lies that fly into mind. I always remind myself when I’m having a terrible day that I am made in the image of God Himself, the Creator of everything and that everything He has created is good. That includes me!
Let your light shine
I really like this saying, ‘Don’t dull your light to suit other people. Just hand them some shades and let your light shine.’ It is still a learning curve for me, but with the help of God and my mom, I am learning to conquer it.
For this reason, I am so thankful that I was delivered from the fear of rejection through the awareness of what I was facing, through praying with my mom and practically changing the way I think and live.”
Fear within and outside the home.
“As a young girl, I grew up with an alcoholic father who lost one job after the other, brought home strange friends, or didn’t come home at all sometimes. Add to that the fact that he was unpredictable and very quick to get angry, cars that often broke down on the side of the road, multiple burglaries where our house was stripped bare, and so the list goes on.
Fear became a close companion. Firstly, there was the fear of not having enough food. Secondly, there was fear of another drunken car accident, another break-in, or another threat of my father wanting to burn the house down out of anger.
Fear grew in our home
Finally, one evening my mother had had enough. She took all the bottles of alcohol in the kitchen and threw them out in the courtyard. All I heard was the sound of smashing bottles, and then the shouting started. My sisters and I ran to the kitchen to find my father on top of my mother, hands around her throat, strangling her. Somehow she managed to get free and locked my sisters and me in a room with her.
She often locked us in a room with her when she got scared and then she would start singing hymns to calm us. Fear continued to run rampant in my mind and heart. It even grew to the stage where I was afraid of my friends finding out that this was my life when their lives seemed so simple, so safe.
When I was about ten years old, I so vividly remember how I would fall asleep to the sound of my dad raging on, verbally abusing my mother, doors slamming or clamoring noises coming out of the kitchen. I would often feel a strong, unsettling force – which I imagined to be an invisible spirit of sorts climb with me into my bed when the atmosphere in our house was like this. It would get so unbearably hot that it felt like something was burning me under the covers. I would already be asleep, but somehow remember trying my best to wake up and rip my sheets off so this feeling would go away, that this “thing” could escape, but I couldn’t wake up. I would feel trapped, and this feeling would often roll over into recurring nightmares which I somehow just learned to cope with at that age.
Healing takes time
As a family, we have had to endure many things, and with a stubborn, hard-hearted, bitter father it has not been easy. My parents are still married. I can see that they really do love each other. And even though my dad is still a functioning alcoholic, his anger has subsided and little by little we can see God working in his heart and life. We’ve experienced the faithfulness of God.
Since putting my trust in Jesus’ hands, fear’s power over my life slowly started dissipating. After many years of struggling with all sorts of fears, by the power and discernment of the Holy Spirit, I can now smell it a mile away and fight it head-on, because Christ has already overcome it for me. He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”
I’d love to hear your story. Please make contact with me either via the comments below or email me.
PS. These stories have been shared with permission and the story-tellers will remain anonymous.