Spirit of power and love.

in october, i was invited to share my testimony at church. this meant reciting a prepared four minute speech three times in front of hundreds of people. i would share much about my past that many did not know. the thought itself is nerve racking to say the least. when i received the email asking me to do this, my brain became like a jackson pollock painting. it took 15 minutes to calm down (no joke). but during this time, i heard the Spirit tell me to say yes. “Yes, Child, this is the opportunity you’ve been praying for. Go.”

i had been desiring to be able to present my full testimony sometime in july and began praying about it. at reality LA a few weeks later, they announced “share your story”, an opportunity to literally share your story. the process entailed submitting it online but also knowing that not everyone is going to be able to do it. at first, i only wanted to submit it if it was certain i would be able to share. “i have a rad testimony why wouldn’t i have this opportunity?” i thought. i then realized that my heart was in the place. my thoughts then turned into “what if i do get chosen and have to talk in front of MILLIONS of people? i don’t want to do that!” i realized that my heart still wasn’t in the right place and didn’t submit it right away. finally, when i understood that my story (and yours) needs to be shared, not for fame, not for recognition, but simply to sing praises to the Lord, i then clicked the submit button.

as soon as i knew i was to speak, i began telling friends. not out of “i’m amazing, you need to hear me talk” but rather “i love you and i want to share this piece of my life with you.” this is very different than how i usually operate. i operate in secret; i like not telling people things because i want to be “humble”. but in living a life i thought it was humble, i realized that keeping to myself is not that definition of a good friend. friends want to invite others into their life, not keep them out. i’m still learning that.

october 19th was a whirlwind (the good kind of course.) in addition to telling others what i was going to do, prayer was a vital part of preparation. prayer as soon i found out that i would be sharing. prayer on my bike ride to church. prayer right before, prayer during, and even prayer after sharing. i prayed for the gospel to be clearly preached, that my words would glorify the Lord, and that the Spirit to stir hearts. i wanted people to be moved. i ultimately prayed that the Spirit would empower me with a courageous and calm heart.

during the four minutes i spoke, i was beautifully overcome by the Spirit. He enabled me with boldness and confidence i would not have been able to muster myself. a few friends mentioned that i looked and sounded confident. i told them that speaking in front of people gives me anxiety and they were surprised. the most confident i felt was when i was reciting Scripture which is incredibly rad!

but i must say, the greatest part of the day was the response of others. i am prone to shrink back from attention and deflect any spotlight on me. it was nearly impossible to do that. strangers recognized me and simply said thank you. friends hugged me and told me they were proud to know me. the abundance of love enveloped me like a warm blanket. even months later, i am still experiencing kindness and joy from those whose hearts were stirred by my words. i am still learning freedom comes from genuine vulnerability. i am still understanding that there is nothing to shamefully hide.

there may by lingering scars and wounds from our past, but together, side by side, as we choose to expose them with one another, we invite love and grace into the healing process.