I want to challenge you today to think about your story. What makes it special? How were you raised? How did that impact you? When did you decide to let God take control of your life? How has it made a difference? All of these questions are things that you can share with people. It's your story. And your story matters. God wrote that for you. He planned it all out and he knew what you were going to choose. As your life has panned out, you made decisions, you chose your road, so how has it shaped you? Your story could change a life. It just needs to be told.
My story is simple. I grew up in a Christian home. My parents were new Christians so they didn't get it all right all the time, but they gave it a good effort. God protected me from a lot. I never really struggled with much. I wasn't into drinking or drugs. I was set on saving myself for marriage. And, I couldn't have cared less how many friends I had because I had my best friend and that was good enough for me. I lived my life for God and I didn't really falter (this was not on my own power but God's). I truly believe that God protected me from a lot of sins that I could have committed. He took away the desire. That's not something I could have done on my own.
As I continued to go through high school, life was going pretty well for me. Come graduation, though, the story changed. My sister was diagnosed with Leukemia, as many of you already knew. My faith was tested in this moment, but, you know, it's interesting looking back on it now, it was really a blessing. Here's why:
While my sister continued to undergo treatment, I realized that telling your story is nice, but how you live it speaks much louder than words. My parents were Christians before my sister got Leukemia, but they grew in great strides in their relationship with God after her diagnosis. I never told them this, but watching them grow in Christ and seeing them lean into Him as my sister was going through treatment was probably what helped my really take on my faith as my own. I was a Christian and I was walking with God before, but watching them grow, gave me that extra push that I needed to really start living it out loud instead of in the shadows.
A little bit after Rhea was diagnosed, my dad started taking people under his wing, so to speak, and started helping them out in life. He wasn't always in the mood to help that person some days, but I think he knew he had to because he was the only one there for that person. My dad can be tough sometimes and maybe difficult to talk to at times, but his heart is huge. He loves God so much and it shows in everything he does now. It didn't used to, but, man, it does now and that has changed my relationship with God so much! I want my life to speak as loud as my dads. I want to show people by what I do just how much God means to me. My dad showed me how much he loves God through the way he began to treat people. His life spoke so much louder than anything he could have ever said.
Like I said, my story is simple. I accepted Christ one night and never looked back. But, the fact that my parents lived out their story and really made their faith their own was what makes my story so special. Watching someone live their life can be more impacting than the words they speak. My parents taught me over and over again to love the Lord, but it wasn't until I saw them live it out that I really started understanding what they meant.
So here's my challenge to you. Want to change a persons life? Start living out what you speak and start acting upon what you say needs to be done. And, maybe, just maybe, someone will see your life and start to look to God. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be a challenge because more often than not, we let our human side come out and we become hypocrites. It happens to all of us. So, stay strong. Be bold. Live out your story. It's going to change a life someday. It's already changed yours.