My favorite time at our annual women’s retreat has always been Sunday mornings. The whole weekend is filled with rich Bible study and encouragement. This final session however, is powerful in a different way. It’s testimony time. Mothers, teens, toddlers and infants settle down to hear what God had been doing in each other’s lives over the past year. It really doesn’t matter if the account has a direct connection with something happening in our own lives or not. Every story simply celebrates the things that God has been teaching us. The narration of each situation affirms our own confidence in the Lord.
Sharing the good and the bad
No, testimonies aren’t only about the good. The reality is, life can be hard. Women share about whatever is on their heart. Broken marriages, challenging teens, auto accidents, financial ruin, miscarriages, and death of a loved one. Sometimes the retelling is solemn and heartbreaking. We weep for one another as women pour out their heart and admit their own challenges and dependence upon God. Some stories are not finished, they are still being unfolded. We stop and pray for our new dear friend in Christ as our hearts are knit together.
There are other times that hearing how an event played out is comical, such as a friend who shared about her surprise unassisted birth . One year we rolled with laughter as Hannah told us about crawling through the hallway throwing objects up at the cupboard to knock towels out for her to use as she felt her baby’s delivery draw near. Then, as she recounted her children guarding the locked entry door when the paramedics arrived we all pictured our own children’s possible response to a situation like this. Ultimately, we cheered as the paramedics made it into Hannah’s room to find mama holding her sweet newborn. And then, her husband arriving home from work just after the entire event. It is through her story we celebrate the miracle of life and God’s hand of protection. (My retelling does not at all do this story justice!)
Most of our stories are not earth shattering but a simple testimony of God’s continued faithfulness. Recounting what He has done, feeds our souls and gives us hope for the future. When we share, we often open ourselves to rich friendships with others who are walking in the same road or even with someone who has already been there.
Why should we share our personal accounts?
The Word of God is quite clear that we are to speak about the things He has done. I am certain that only He knows the depth of the purpose of each trial. When we get to heaven I wonder if we will find out more. I wonder if we will see all of the connections as to how our stories influenced the lives of others? The tapestry of relationships that He has woven. There is no doubt that Scripture has a clear directive to simply tell of the things God has done.
- My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. Psalm 71:15-16
- I will tell of your name to my brothers, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you. Psalm 22:22
- Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. Psalm 35:28
- Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16
- “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. Mark 5:19,20
- Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! 1 Chronicles 16:8,9
- We will not hide them from their children but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:4
Look for opportunities
My good friend Nancy Campbell often says, “Things don’t just happen, you have to make them happen.” I believe we need to be purposeful to speak of the things God has done. Let’s not just sit around waiting for opportunities. (Though if one just happens to pop up, seize it!) I would like to leave you with a challenge and one for me as well.
How can you purpose to share what God has done in your life? Maybe there is no women’s retreat to share at this year but you can still take a moment to testify to the goodness of God. The more we speak, the more we have eyes to see what is going on around us and see the hand of God in our daily lives. Post on social media. Send a text or call someone. Get out a notecard and a stamp to mail your testimony to a friend. Maybe you would even be brave enough to come on my podcast, “The Mom Next Door, Stories of Faith” and share your story. No matter what, be listening to God and He will show you opportunities. When He does, go for it! You will never know how far His blessings will flow when you walk in obedience to Him.