Prepared Through the Pain

hillside Testimony

“And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.””

1 Samuel 17:37

 

Since giving my life to the Lord, I have felt a pull of the spirit telling me to look back at my life and write down every painful detail of my testimony. Believe me, it is not what I wanted to do… So I kept putting it off. For days, which turned into weeks, which turned into months…and crept shamefully into years. Recently He began to stir in my heart an even deeper need to get it all out which I could no longer ignore. I kept thinking, “This is all so pointless. I probably just made up this feeling anyways! There is no way this is the Spirit convicting me. There is no logical reason to write it all down at all! No one will ever read it because it’s sad and painful and WAY too long of a story… It’s a complete waste of my time.”

So I did it anyway.

One day I sat down and said, “Okay, God. I’ll trust you even though this makes no sense to me at all.” I didn’t look over to the long and growing list of things I had to get done that was sitting on my desk. In fact, He graciously gave me an unexplained peace around that. I felt no obligation in that moment to turn away from my God-given task at hand to meet a deadline. (If you know me, you know that’s a big deal for me.) I sat down and prayed for strength as I put to paper every excruciating thing I have walked through, whether by my own choice or uncontrollable. Y’all. There were a lot of tears. Towards the part of my story where I finally came to God asking for Him to be my savior, I began to run out of words…Because what I felt when I experienced the truth of the Gospel in my heart was too overwhelming for any words I have ever known, but also because I had spent the whole day writing and this thing was getting LONG. I needed a break. And something in me was saying I had done what God had wanted in walking through my life before Christ and recording that. Of course, in my flesh I thought, “But I’m not done yet… this could be written so much better. It’s not perfect yet. I’ll go back to it and edit it a few times and find the right words for the rest…” How foolish. I couldn’t see that writing any of it down had nothing to do with God’s use for this action. So I went ahead, not knowing what God was going to do with this, and I set it aside, thinking I would revisit the joy-filled, redeemed, reborn, child-of-God part of my testimony another day… so people could really understand how great God is through my story and my words, my perfect-choice in words… HA!

Even after I finished recording that large part of my testimony, I still questioned why He had me do it. Because there was absolutely no part of me that when confronted with an opportunity to share my story would want to shove a 6 page, single spaced, unfinished, poorly written story at a person. But I had an unexplained peace amongst the confusion in that moment that only He could have given me for abiding in the uncomfortableness.

 

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The next day I met a girl that I have been lifting up in prayer for months. I had never met her but I knew her story was a painful one, much of which mirrored my own, and I knew her desperate need for a savior. I had been praying for her for such a long time, that God would make a way for me to find her, or that He would bring her into my life. But I was always unable to find her. That day, the Lord brought us together, in His perfect timing, in a beautifully broken way. Conversations were hard. We cried a lot. We prayed a lot. And I listened.

I listened for hours.

Difficult, painful, tragic things that are hard to even imagine. And in those hours I began to understand why God had made me walk back through my own story in all its tragic beauty. He prepared me for this. This moment. The one I had prayed for. The one I had asked time and time again, “Lord, why won’t you let me help her?” Because I wasn’t prepared for it. I couldn’t have been. I wasn’t ready to enter into her story without remembering what God had done in mine. He prepared me so that I could feel the compassion deeply that I would need to extend to this lost and broken girl amidst the storm. He looked after me and equipped me to be His hands and feet to care for her. It wasn’t easy, but He is so good. He is showing me how to step back and see how He provides for me and allows me to be part of His plan. He is also showing areas of weakness in my own life through that situation with loving guidance so that I would come back to His feet and lean on Him for strength and growth. It’s rough and overwhelming. But I am constantly reminded of how incredibly loving and full or grace He is through it all. Because He loves me so much that even in serving others, He is looking to see me grow as well. Writing more pages in my story and hers.

Sharing this side of the story is not from a place of selfishness. You may be thinking to yourself, well what happened to the girl? That story is not mine to tell. But I can assure you with full faith; God’s hand is all over it.

Your story is not a mistake or coincidence. I write these words not only to bring it to your attention but also to remind myself of this profound truth. Through the story you have been graciously given, God has prepared you for the work that He is calling you to and will continue to call you to in your lifetime. Do not be ashamed of your past, celebrate what God has done in it. It is a priceless gift. Whether or not you feel prepared for the Lord’s work, God has worked every single aspect and event in your life up until this very minute for good. And He’s not done yet. He has used every opportunity to grow you and draw you close, so that you can know His love and continue to seek Him through going out and doing His work. Our testimonies are a powerful blessing that allow us the serve Him in His plan, for His glory. All praise be to God! He takes the broken things that this world labels “nothing” and uses them for His purposes, His plan, and His glory. I pray that we abide in the ways He invites us into His plan, with full faith in His perfect plan and his work in ALL situations for good. I pray that we love truth more than we fear pain. Fear can be paralyzing, lying to us and telling us that we don’t need to move forward. Lying and telling us the Gospel is not worth it. When we look back at our lives we can see His hand clearly. But where the biggest growth came, we can see that it was often painful and uncomfortable. Our response is to fear that pain and resist growth; ignore the call. But when we take that step in faith, knowing His plan is perfect and He lives and works in us, we can rest assured that we have been prepared and equipped for all things He puts in our path.

I pray that you would not ignore the conviction. That you would not put off the call to action. I pray that you would not keep the things the Lord is doing in your life a secret. I pray that He gives you the deep desire to share those things. To see how He uses the pain to grow you, prepare you, equip you, and encourage you. To see how the gift of testimony can be used in serving others. We would love to hear the story He is writing on your life. Take a step in faith and abide in whatever His will is for you, here and now. He made you for it.

 

Dani Hamilton