Everyday Ways to Share Your Testimony

I grew up going to church and then drifted away during my young adult years. As I gradually returned to church and to listening to God and trusting him – there was this slow courting back into a relationship with him.  I suddenly felt like I missed this huge step because I didn’t have a testimony of how I ‘came to Christ’. There was no epic fireworks moment where I was awe-struck by his love in my messiness.

Maybe you, like me, have had a few misconceptions when it comes to ‘testimony’. I used to think it had to be this gut-wrenching tale of the lost being found. I thought it needed to be monologued to an entire congregation, or pieced out in a novel of redemption. Until I started to look at ‘the mission’ I had for what I was sharing, I hadn’t thought of the little ways we can share our testimony as it plays out every day. I haven’t thought about sharing all the ways I was awe-struck by his love in my messiness every single day. 

What changed things for me was hearing this song…

“To tell of my story is to tell of him”.

I have 33 years of testimony I could share with the world. Some of it I share readily, and some I hold close and quiet only to share with those who need that story. I can think of the big things in my life that God has redeemed; my marriage, making me a mom, pouring his mercy onto me in motherhood, teaching me how to honour my parents, healing my anxieties I carried from childhood, the list does go on. I can also think of the seemingly small ways God’s story is revealed in my life: the energy to get through the day after a sleepless night, holding my tongue when I’m so ready to defend and accuse, dealing with a social situation that I am dreading, guiding me in parenting, giving me grace in how I love others (especially those closest to me). He is in all of it, HE is the story. Every day I ask him to get me through it. Every day he provides. Every day I trust him a little more.

My tongue will declare your righteousness and praise you all day long. Psalm 35:28

Some are shy in sharing their testimony, some are bold. It doesn’t’ matter how you share your testimonies, so long as you do. God designed you just the way you are to share your story as you are, from where you are. All it takes is some authenticity to show the world a little, or a lot, of our mess so they can see how he turns it into a message.

Here are some ways you can share your every day testimony with your online and offline community

  • When you meet a new mom who seems to be struggling, hold how to share your testimonyher baby for her and let her know you struggled too and there is hope
  • Share pictures of your life when it is less than perfect. Your messy kitchen, dirty car, floordrobe to say how you’ve learned that you are loved and valuable and useful to God even when your life is looking messy on the outside
  • Share praise to God for answered prayers
  • When a friend shares their heartache with you, offer them your heart and the hope you have for them all because of what hope has empowered you to do
  • Share praise to God for unanswered prayers
  • Share a picture that signifies a mindset you have triumphed over through your trust in God. Maybe it is anxiety in motherhood, negative body image, perfectionism, an addiction
  • Write about a relationship that you never thought would be repaired but alone by the grace of God is has
  • Show ways that measuring your worth in God gives freedom to those who have their worthiness trapped in this world
  • Share the ways you find yourself trapped in worldly things and how God frees you from that
  • Post about someone special in your life that God has used in your life as a blessing
  • Share about something you are struggling with today but you are giving it to God
  • Encourage others to forgive themselves for something today, something that you yourself have had to forgive yourself for
  • Post about the big dreams that have got you where you are and how you see God’s hand in that
  • Share about your fears and doubts in what God is calling you to do and praise his obedience and grace in empowering you
  • Post about something you never imagined you would be doing but for God. It could be simple like driving a car, planning a social event, or quitting your job and traveling the world in an RV
  • Claim out loud a dream that is in your heart and let others see you seeking to embrace the unique way God made you as you work towards this dream

Wherever you can, open up your time and space to someone else (whether it is coffee at your home, a comment thread on your facebook page, etc.) in order to build the relationships that allow these types of testimonies to be engaged with. 

Families, friends, community, nations – they are all nurtured by stories, our true and honest stories. It is our history, our identity, our arrow we can lift up that points to God. I urge you to share pieces of your story because they are his story. Everything in your life and your day tells God’s story. Share it in subtle or bold ways. Share it to glorify, to praise, to heal, the counsel, to reveal. Just simply share it.

But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” Mark 5:19

 


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5 thoughts on “Everyday Ways to Share Your Testimony

  1. This week I was blessed to hear a friend’s testimony. It has led me to write down my own testimony and share it with women. It can be a bit graphic. I am not brave enough to share this with anyone face to face yet, there are parts I have literally never talked to anyone about. But I hope to be able to one day share openly my story. I don’t know that this fits the “norm” of testimony material. I’d love feedback if possible.
    I am an imperfect constant work in progress. If I was clay being formed into something beautiful I would still be quite lumpy. However, if I died today I know I would go to heaven, lumps and all.
    I trusted my life to the Lord when I was in junior high. I was saved and baptized. Change does not come easy for me, I am a natural at sinning. Making good choices takes a lot of work for me. While I might not have many jewels in my crown, I’ve known since back in junior high that I am a true believer, just sometimes a sorry excuse of one. I live under constant thanks for forgiveness and another chance. Even during my darkest hours I have felt the presence of the Lord. Sometimes the presence has been comforting; when I have been hurting. Sometimes the presence has been frustrating; when I am ashamed. But He is always there and has never left my side.

    When I look back on my life my memories are like season’s. Like season’s in a year my season’s served a purpose in my life, for the good. Even though the bitter cold can be tough to bear it renews the earth in preparation for a beautiful spring. I’ve had some tough winters in my life but spring is always beautiful.

    Homelife
    I was conceived and born into the first tough season of my life. To be fair, both my mom and dad were enduring some pretty bitter seasons of their own. My father is a USMC Vietnam vet who to this day still carries the weight of that war. My mother’s mother had died of a terrible battle with cancer about 2 years before my birth, and really my momma has never recovered from that; she has constantly battled depression. My older sister had already endured more in her life by the age 12, when I came along, than anyone should ever have to, she was molested and abused physically and mentally by her own father. She is also bipolar, but that would not be diagnosed until much later in her life. I don’t remember much from the early years but I know there was fighting, poverty, resentment, and divorce. I know my mom, sister, and my aunts all to this day remember and tell me what an awful cry baby I was…said with love and endearment. We can laugh now, we survived. Even though my mom says there were times we survived on flour and water pancakes. I guess, at least we didn’t survive on squirrel brains like she did when she was a kid!

    By the time I was 3 my mom had remarried, her 4th marriage. Overall, my Poppy, that’s what we called my step-dad, overall he was a good man and I am thankful for him. My mom and he fought a lot. In fact, I don’t ever remember them talking nicely to each other, really maybe ever. My mom was really protective of me. She’s definitely a momma bear and sometimes Poppy would get pretty jealous of that. A jealous person can be pretty hateful and vengeful. One minute he would be laughing and playing and the next screaming and really scary. If he spanked it was out of control and then he and my mom would fight.

    My sister ran away a lot. She was addicted to drugs. My mom put her in a christian home for troubled youth. Many years later that home was shut down for abusing the youth. At 16 my sister was on her own. She had a child and my mom adopted that child, I was 5. My sister would threaten to kill us and my mom would sit up all night with her shot gun loaded. One night my sister came by, I hid behind the couch. That was a pretty scary night.

    I spent some of the time living with my dad in Oklahoma from the age of 3-5 years. I don’t remember at all. But this is important to me because my dad wanted me to live with him. That’s important to know as a kid. That both parents actually wanted you, even fought over you.

    Elementary School
    My mom and poppy had separated and mom and I lived in some run down apartments she managed on a rough side of town. I was 6. I would walk to catch the bus every morning and was chased home from the bus to our apartment every afternoon by a group of older kids. At school, I would hide under tables and cry. My sister moved in with us and in the afternoons she would take me to the park where she would buy and sell drugs.

    Junior High
    Mom and Poppy reconciled and we moved back. In school, some teachers couldn’t stand me. Those were tough years to endure, probably for that teacher as much as it was for me. One teacher liked me, I still remember her name, though I’ve forgotten all the rest. I had a great group of friends and my family started attending a little country church. I attended youth every time they had the doors open. I didn’t see my dad very much anymore or hear from him. He moved to Peru and it would be years before I would see or hear from him again. My cousin and his two boys drowned on the lake one summer. My mom read a lot. Maybe that’s all she did. I stayed outside or in my room a lot. Our house was either quiet or explosive.

    The Bus Ride
    From 6th-8th grade, on the bus to school one of the older high school boys would sexually harass me every day to and from school. He would walk on the bus and my skin would crawl. He would sit beside me and whisper disgusting things in my ear and touch me. I would freeze up, just completely freeze. One day I broke down and told my friend about what was happening and word got around. The next day when that guy got on the bus another big ol’ high school boy ran up to the front and boot stomped him right off that bus. I know that’s not appropriate and probably shouldn’t go in a testimony. But, like I said, I’m still lumpy clay and while I hate the majority of this memory, that last part still gets me. I learned some guys are really truly rotten but some will stick up for you and don’t want anything in return.

    Running Away
    By 8th grade I was sneaking out at nights, drinking, and smoking pot with my friends. I hated my home life, my father had abandoned me, my step-father and sister resented me, my mother ignored me. In school boys were trying to talk me (I’m sure all girls) in to bathroom sex. Well, as wild as I was I had never even had a boyfriend. Did not want a boyfriend and still froze up when these moments came up. In February of my 9th grade year my two friends and I decided we had had enough and would run away. My friend had some people and it was going to work out. So we did zero planning, I packed my school backpack with a couple of changes of clothes and my roller blades. That’s seriously it. Not one snack item, no feminine hygiene products, no cash. Roller blades…seriously. We had a friend pick us up from school in the morning and drop us off at a gas station. From the gas station we picked up a ride from a couple of random men. We stayed the night in their apartment that night. My friend walked up stairs with the bigger guy and then she came back down stairs and told me it was my turn. You know, you may not believe me, being 15 and all, but I didn’t understand. Not really. I think I kind of did, but I didn’t really process it. So I walked up stairs and that same big man had sex with me. I just froze up. In my mind I knew it was what I had to do because it was cold outside and we needed some place to sleep. But this sure isn’t the rollerblading kind of fun I expected with running away. I bled everywhere. So add absolute humiliation on top of degrading humiliation. As I walked back down the stairs to the main floor I heard the group of guys arguing because this one had wanted to get that girl and this guy wanted that girl and they were mad the big guy slept with both of us. The next day they drove us to a gas station and dropped us off. The gas stations bathroom was outside so we went in there to regroup. I threw away my rollerblades. We got a ride in the back of a van with no windows (I KNOW!!!). I am not sure how many days we spent with these people. They supplied us with some strong drugs. All I remember is one particular guy always groping and fondling me constantly for how ever many days it was. I was on my period so I guess that helped me out there. Then they dropped us off at a mall. We walked the mall and found a few more guys that picked us up and we hung out with them for, I’m not sure how many days. They fed us and just kept us safe. We rode around with them but they never tried to have sex with us. One night we were sleeping in the back of the vehicle and a tap tap tap came at the window. It was a cop. I spent that night alone in a cold jail cell waiting while they contacted my parents to come pick me up. My mom was taking me straight to the hospital to be tested for sexual activity. I told her don’t bother, I’d been raped. We never talked about it again. We moved back to mom’s small home town my 10th grade year.

    High School
    I was still the same inner-conflicted youth but I was doing pretty good externally from 10th-12th grade. I was a very active member in the youth group. 10th grade I got my first boyfriend, we had sex and that’s about it because I can not remember any meaningful conversations ever. He graduated that year and we did not continue our relationship. 11th grade I got my second boyfriend, he was 22. He was a bit controlling and we had a sexual relationship also. We dated through the end of my senior year and I broke up with him because I had cheated on him in a one-night stand (I got drunk). From there I had several relations, because if you get alone with a guy they will go for sex EVERY time and I never said no. I’m not blaming men, I put myself in those situations. But I was pretty down on men at this time in my life.

    The Wreck: divine intervention
    My senior year my boyfriend, mom, and I were on our way to a church event my aunt was singing at and were in a head on collision going 75mph. I was in the front passenger seat, not wearing a seatbelt. My boyfriend was driving. My mom was in the backseat wearing her seatbelt. When we collided with the other vehicle I saw bright white and felt soft feathered hands surround me. I walked away without a single bruise. My mom spent 2 weeks in the hospital, her colon was lacerated and her teeth had bit through her lip and chin.

    God Knows my needs even when I don’t
    My roommate asked me to be her wing-man and go on a blind date. Reluctantly, I said yes. The guy was home on leave from the Marines. This would be a safe date, no strings attached. After the first date I told my friend, “It’s a good thing he’s in the military because I could see myself falling for this one.” He came to see me every day until he had to go. I ended up getting pregnant. We decided to get married and we were married two days before our first son was born. I moved with him to his base. Having a baby changed all my priorities. I had a reason to live and be a good person.

    I make a horrible wife
    Married life did not come naturally to either one of us. I knew nothing about being a wife. We didn’t even know each other very well. Our first many years of marriage were so hard. We’d have amazing times and then there were the times I tried to stab him or really thought hard about tying him in bed and beating him with a baseball bat. We screamed and fought, usually just verbally put sometimes it was physical. We had another baby boy. We moved to Japan and still we screamed and fought. Of course some days were still wonderful. You know, I don’t even remember what happened. But something happened and it was the last straw. I knew I couldn’t just move back home from Japan but I would do my time in japan with him and then move back home when the time came to relocate. I spent 6 months not speaking one word to him. It helped that he deployed a lot. But I knew when we got home I was done. One day he came to me and wanted another chance and he started to go to counseling. The counseling made a huge difference and our marriage survived.
    We still continued to fight regularly, verbally not physically.

    Protected Again: another wreck
    We were in a wreck, sitting at a red light and a truck rammed into our vehicle at 60mph. I thought the guy that hit us was dead. Blood was all over the front of his truck. Yet we walked away with minor whiplash. God protected us.

    God Speaks to His Lump of Clay
    Shortly after my husband separated from the military we bought our house and began to settle in. The transition was hard. My husband was struggling with his co-workers and not happy. I was struggling to find a job to help us out financially. We needed two incomes to pay our bills. We were arguing a lot and the stress was really hurting us. One afternoon I was at the house alone and I became so overwhelmed with fear over this new life that I sat on the edge of my bed and just bawled. It was ugly! I told God I was scared and did not know what to do. I prayed and I cried. I closed my eyes and I saw total blackness and then doves flew up from the bottom and as they flew up they carried away the darkness and the brightest glowing white was all that was left and pure peace. I praised God and I’ve known things will be ok because God is taking care of me.

    Change is Hard: I keep trying!
    I don’t know why, but I became convicted about being a submissive wife and I started making changes and I would go out of my way to do nice things for him. I would send him a sweet text. I would fix his favorite dinner. Really clean the house. Just random things. I would ignore something I would normally fuss about. It made a difference in our relationship and it made a difference in how I felt as well. We still fought. I’m still lumpy clay you know. Our last big argument was summer 2016. I hope that many years from now the date of that last big argument will stay the same. We’ve both been working on our relationships with God as well as making a conscience effort in our relationship with each other. We go on dates, even if it’s just a ride. We talk about small stuff, and big stuff like religion and crazy stuff like politics. We plan and hope for our future. We celebrate victories and lift each other up. He’s become my very best friend

    Spring
    We’ve had a lot of bumps along the way. The only thing that has kept us together has been grace. I’ve made peace with my past, with the help of God and prayer. I’ve accepted this guy that I married is actually a good guy, my hero in fact but even heroes have flaws. This season of my life feels like spring and it feels like a well earned spring! I definitely appreciate every sunny day and beautiful flower.

    Lumps and All
    God has carried me all the way. I share the darkest of my days because even those days I want to forget, God was with me, I knew it even then. Even when I didn’t want him to be. I drug him right through the mud. He came, and he held me when I fell and carried me when I couldn’t get back up. He’s always been there and I’ve always known I’m not alone. God is loyal and he protects what’s His. And now my story is His to use because I am strong enough to tell it, even though I’ll probably cry. I am an imperfect constant work in progress. If I was clay being formed into something beautiful I would still be quite lumpy. However, if I died today I know I would go to heaven, lumps and all.

    Jeremiah 29:11

    1. Shelley, what an incredibly tough and brave story to share. I feel like sometimes we’re so close to our own struggles that we become numb to them. Sharing that helps to process and learn through it. This is such a powerful testimony of working through hardships. Thank you for being willing to tell it and I hope you continue to find strength in God in trials to come.

  2. Wow Shelley, thank you for sharing your testimony. The struggles you have been through are…overwhelming. I can’t imagine a childhood like that along with all of those high school experiences. I’m so thankful that you were saved in the accidents (and unharmed!) and that you are committed to making your marriage work. I hope one day you can share it publicly, too!

  3. Shelly, what a rough story you have lived. Yet it is often those who have experienced such turmoil and come through it who help others come into the light. Own your story dear one. It has brought you to where you are and made you wiser.

  4. Wow! That was powerful stuff. I’m sorry you’ve had so much sadness and difficulty, but I can see how God had used all of your past to bring you to this place of peace and willingness to be used by Him.

    I’m thanking God with you for how He’s helping you triumph over all of the “junk!”

    I had a tough childhood, too, although nothing as difficult as yours. And I also have two chronic illnesses. But God has used all of my difficulties to draw me closer to His heart.

    I believe He’s doing the same with you. Thank you for sharing.

    I really liked the way you separated your story into blocks of time. It made it very easy to follow.

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