I spoke at a retreat a ways back and though I touched on quite a few points in the two talks I gave, one of the topics I broached was one of my sin stories. I think I have this thing with just telling complete strangers all the details of my life and then letting them deal with the ugly fallout on their own. I was even thinking on the way home from the retreat that my job, basically, is to go through really hard stuff in life and then I get paid to tell people about it. Crazy and weird and soul-baring, but I’m not complaining.
So one sweet woman comes up to me after the last session. She came behind my book table for a hug and then I asked her to sit down, as she was tearing up. (I had quite a few of those…sorry for bringing out the sad, ladies!)
She told me that my sin story gave her the courage to share one of her sin stories even though the stories were completely different. She told me that she had only told one other person of this sin even though it had happened years and years ago, until that day, when she shared it with her small group. A small group of random women put together by the color of their name tags. A group of women who didn’t necessarily know each other well before that morning had started. But because I had been authentic, it gave her the courage to be authentic too.
Not only was she met with grace and not only could I visibly see relief on her face, but she told me the best part was that she had been thinking for a little while now that she would love to serve in some capacity in the area of her sin struggle to help others walk through the pain that she had walked through, or even better, to help even one other woman prevent that same pain. So when a woman in that small group told her that she volunteered at a place nearby that needed more help and was exactly what this woman had been looking for – and they exchanged names and information and promised to contact each other later that week – she knew that she was supposed to show up that day and hear my story and then tell her story and meet this woman.
Oswald Chambers said, “Then that very (sin) itself, and all that you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way that you will never know until you see Him to face to face.” My sin story happened about fifteen years ago now and I’m still seeing the redemption that has come from what it did in my life and what it is able to do in others’ lives.
All this to say…open up. Tell your story. Someone needs to hear it. Someone out there needs to see you be real. God will connect the dots and bring redemption and use it, and you will find healing upon healing and grace upon grace along the way.