Why Your Story Matters

Sharon JaynesRenewing your mind with the Truth, Trusting God, When You Don't Like Your Story 42 Comments

Poor Daddy. He just couldn’t shake it. Shame weighed him down like a dead body strapped to his back. No matter how many times I told him that God loved and accepted him just the way he was, he couldn’t believe it. That kind of grace was unfathomable, unthinkable, unbelievable . . . especially for a man like him. I wonder if you know someone like him…or maybe have been someone like him?

As I think about my dad I wonder, how does a body get so low he feels there’s no getting out of the hole he’s dug? How does a soul see beyond the wrong done to him and through him? How does a pierced heart heal when the knife still turns in tender flesh?

In the past, I’ve shared how the home I grew up in was lashed with angry outbursts, violent arguments, alcohol-induced mayhem. My dad was an emotionally active volcano with occasional periods of dormancy. He had many vices. Alcohol, pornography, gambling, and illicit relationships with other women—all common knowledge in the small town where we lived.

Six years after I came to faith, and three years after my mom followed my lead, he agreed to go to church with us, but felt God could never forgive him for all he’d done. In that sixth year, my father was on the verge of a nervous breakdown because a business deal had gone awry and he was headed for court. But God dipped His pen in the inkwell and continued writing one of His best stories ever.

One day, in a panic, Dad drove 400 miles, from NC to PA, to try to find my mom who was at a business meeting. When he couldn’t find her, he stopped by a church and asked if the pastor was there. He needed prayer.

That particular pastor wasn’t there, but the receptionist sent him to another. She grabbed a scrap piece of paper and drew a map. “Why don’t you drive on over and find him? I bet he can help.”

Dad jumped back in his car and drove to a church out in the country where he found a man with a hammer in his hand and Jesus in his heart. For several hours, Dad sat with a fellow builder and told him all he had ever done. When my dad finished his confession, the pastor placed his strong arm around my dad’s shaking shoulders and said, “Now, Allan, let me tell you what I’ve done.”

The pastor pulled back the curtain on his own dark past and followed with the subsequent unfolding of forgiveness, redemption, and healing from Jesus.

The way my father explained it to me when he came home was: “That man told me his story. He had done everything I had done. And I knew that if God could forgive him and he could be a pastor, then he could forgive me too.”

That is the power of our story. The Bible tells us, “They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11 NIV). Think about that. Your story has so much power it is in the same sentence with the blood of the Lamb!

The words “testimony” and “to testify” in a spiritual sense mean to tell how you came to Christ or to speak about a specific work that God has done in your life. It’s not hearsay but a verbal display of what you experienced firsthand. Your testimony is your story.

What turned him around that day in the woods of Pennsylvania? Well, for sure and for certain it was the power of the Holy Spirit that quickened his dead spirit to life. But there was something more. Because this pastor wasn’t ashamed of his story—he wasn’t afraid to tell about his past—Dad saw the healing, forgiving, grace-filled power of Jesus up close and personal. His gaping wounds met the balm of grace through a man who was willing to reveal the most despicable parts of his own story, and how God forgave him. Dad had finally met a man just like him.

Your story is living proof of Jesus’ redemptive power here on earth. When we are not ashamed of our stories but tell how God redeemed our deepest, darkest, dirtiest places, we give hope to desperate sojourners who feel all alone. Suddenly, Jesus isn’t just a man in a book or a face in a painting. He is real.

God, help me to never be ashamed to tell my story but use what You’ve done in my life to help other people see Jesus. In His Name I pray, Amen.

In 2-4 sentences, share how God has taken a difficult part of your story, healed the broken places, and then used it for good in your life or in someone else’s life. Click comment and let’s share.

What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories? I know that they can! Check out my latest release, When You Don’t Like Your Story and see how your messy pages can be transformed into beautiful masterpieces. Learn how the worst parts of your story, once healed, can be what God uses most. Let’s not waste the pain of our past, but use it to help others see Jesus.

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Comments 42

  1. For years, I’ve struggled with poor self image, overwhelming anxiety and despair. But Jesus transformed my heart and elevated me by the Power of the Holy Spirit and messengers of hope. I’ve overcome an eating disorder and shame from past transgressions. Hallelujah!

  2. I think it so brave go share the worst parts of your life with others. I’m ashamed of things I’ve done, have prayed for forgiveness; believe I have been forgiven but find it hard to forgive .myself. I need to confess and share this feeling because I know God has forgiven me but I haven’t. Please pray for my ability to share and release. In Jesus’ name I pray.

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      1. I share Naomi’s feelings. I can’t seem to forgive myself either. I pray for all these feelings but it gets no better! I mostly feel that others still see my past as my present!

        1. Hi Ronda. I know where you’re coming from. For years I struggled to forgive myself for my past and felt like I wore it like a cloak that everyone couldn’t see past. I know it is so much easier said than done, but I encourage you to let go of how others may look at you and cling to how God sees you- His Masterpiece, redeemed by His blood, chosen, forgiven, loved (and that’s just to name a few!) Don’t let anyone else’s views define how you see yourself- God’s opinion is the only one that matters! And He loves you completely ❤

        2. I struggle with this, too. It doesn’t help when others also continually bring up my past failures. I’ll never be ‘good enough’ in their eyes which affects my own self vision. But in God’s eyes I am made new, so I continue to cling to that hope. It’s a daily endeavor. Do t give up, you’re never alone.

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            Here’s something you need to practice saying…”I’m sorry you feel that way. The past is the past.”

      2. Despite a christian upbringing and example, my daughter chose to live a life of sin. She drank, had multiple relationships with shady and sinful men and brought to this world two girls without their fathers. She even tried to abort the last one but it didn’t work. To say that I was heartbroken is an understatement but Jesus did not give up on her. He is writing a new story and her life has changed for the better. This week she bought clothes for a crisis pregnancy I volunteer at. I see my daughter walking in His perfect path and will for her life. Praise our Lord!

    2. Naomi, I’m just like you. Everytime I read about forgiveness, its for what was been done to you, not what you did that hurt others, especially the people you love. So like you, I have asked for and received God’s forgiveness, as well as forgiveness from most of the people I’ve hurt, my children, family, and friends. My husband passed away in very difficult circumstances and while we were separated, so its too late for him to forgive me now. And even though all who could forgive me have forgiven me, I still can’t forgive myself.

  3. Thank You Soooo Much for your honesty and using it in your Ministry.
    May God continue to Bless You and others through this ministry.

  4. Please Pray For Me!
    My home is in a shambles since a storm in Ohio last Wednesday. I need a new electrical box and two electricians tried to rip me off! One of them, plugging back in my old refrigerator that stopped working during the storm and he was determined to prove to me that it worked by plugging it back in using an extension cord into a living room socket and it blew Freon all over my kitchen. I feel that God has continued to allow not so good things to happen to me. Why Lord!
    I have been trying to do what is right.
    Help ! And most of my friends have backed away.

    1. Patti, you are not alone. I understand the feeling of not knowing why God would allow bad things to continue happening when you feel as if you’re trying to love Him well. But one thing I know is this – through the fiery trials that Satan sends our way, we are made only stronger. And He is with us in the fire. Continue to praise Him in this storm. Look toward the hope of heaven, and you will see beauty come up from the ashes! God bless you. I am praying for you

  5. I was married, unfaithful, and also broke up another marriage. I was married again but still seeking other relationships, and even sought a psychic to ask what the heck was wrong with me! God brought me a verse through a friend: Jeremiah 29:11-13… Through His Word and by the healing through a relationship with Jesus, I have been forgiven. I am loved! Praise God for His power in my life and His faithfulness to me!

    1. Debbie, that sounds like my story. Little by little, God placed people, scriptures, devotionals and conferences in my path. I am forgiven, as well and I thank God for all the blessings I now have every single day. Bless you, girl.

  6. My oldest daughter was killed in a very violent manner by an ex-boyfriend. My heart was broken piece it’s not a word I would have used to describe myself. But through the love end guidance of godly people I knew interested I began to heal. In memory of my daughter and to keep her alive I am now a facilitator for a parents who have lost children’s grief group. I am empowering people to learn to grieve with joy.

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  7. This is so good. This spoke to my heart in so many ways. Please pray for me and the healing of my family.
    Also, strength for me. God knows. I need peace and clarity.
    And thankful to Sharon Jaynes writing. Thank you Jesus❤️

  8. How can I forgive someone who have wrong me and hurt me deeply? Not until I see I am the same as that someone who have wrong Jesus and put Him on the Cross. Jesus paid the penalty for my sin. He forgives me so I can forgive myself and others.

  9. As an incest survivor I felt shame and guilt. What was wrong with me? Years later as a therapist I worked with other survivors and was able to share support and encouragement in an authentic manner. I was also able to share my forgiveness experience.

  10. All my life I looked for the Love of a man. The man who would love and accept me and all my stuff. When I was a child I would pretend to be an adult like Cinderella with a man who loved and adored me. This search brought me in many wrong roads with men who only looked on the surface to scheme and manipulate their way into my heart to get what they wanted. This compromise left me feeling lonely and vulnerable. I did things which I never thought I would do . Things I am so totally ashamed of. The road to real love was only found through Jesus Christ who bore all my sins and filled my heart with His assurance of unconditional love.
    Today because of poor decisions I am married to a broken fragmented man who has narcissist tendencies and really is unable to love me even being a “christian”. But my story isn’t over because God is still writing the ending . I feel more love and acceptance than I have ever felt by Jesus! My emotions don’t trap me anymore by the Grace of God to forbidden places. My heart is comforted by His presence and I have stopped looking for that LOVE from a human. Jesus is enough! While I intercede in prayer for myself(strength and wisdom) and my husband”s salvation I am assured that He will not keep back from me any good thing that he has for me as I walk in His ways (Grace). Jesus has given me a new song. Isaiah 54:5 For your maker is your husband -the LORD ALMIGHTY IS HIS NAME!

    1. I so understand your pain and journey, i am currently on one of my own so similar. Thank you for your story and how Jesus fills your thirst and soul, I know he continues to write our story and brings us to redemption. Thank you!

  11. I really enjoyed reading the story I’m so glad we can come to God for forgiveness I’m going through a situation with my oldest granddaughter I helped raise her but now she turned her back on me she won’t call me or text me or anything I don’t understand why my other grandkids won’t have anything to do with me because of their mom it really hurts I’m praying but it seems my prayers are not being heard

    1. Your prayers are being heard. God loves you but He wants you to love your grandkids. If they don’t call then you call them just to see how they are doing. Send them birthday cards or wishes on Facebook. Show them God’s love. God will change their hearts. Don’t mention the bad things just show them love. Let them know that you still love them. I always call my grandkids even if they don’t call me. I have been where you are but God has changed our relationship.

  12. Great share – God has been so good to me,
    My husband of 25 years and I divorced and are now back together and doing great!
    God is a way maker and miracle worker for sure!!
    Prayers for my Grandson’s first day of school in almost 2 years – I am praying he enjoys and will find good friends!

  13. My first child was in intensive care for two weeks after birth due to breathing problems.
    It was so hard to patiently trust God when I had waited 8 years for this child. He pulled through and became a strong, healthy son.
    Now my niece has a sick baby in intensive care.. and my heart aches for her as I pray for her first child.

  14. I was promiscuous when I was younger and had a daughter. I became a single parent fast. I lost track of my daughter’s biological father and now that she is older, she is now asking questions about her father. She lives Southern California and I in upstate NY. I miss her terribly and she is not willing to see me at this point. And, also, I’m having trouble praying.

  15. I grew up in a faithless home. No church or temple. I had a dysfunctional family to say at the least. I was adopted in a Jewish family who never spoke Jesus’ name. I was so alone but somehow new there was something greater out there. After college a friend told me about Jesus. I fell in love with jesus about a month after struggling to believe Jesus could love me! I’ve been on fire with sharing what Jesus has done for me for almost 20 years now. God is faithful with who He puts in your path for His glory!

  16. I believe we all have similar stories and some are afraid to tell it. I am one of those who lead a private life and only tell bits and pieces of my story for fear of being judged because my life has not been pleasant in the past. If it had not been for my children I probably would have lost it but I had to be strong for them. They are adults now with their own children and still don’t know half of what their dad put me thru and I don’t want to tarnish their image of him. He has since past but I just want them as adults to remember him the way they choose to.

  17. Thank you Sharon. God bless your heart. Today’s word is timely and I believe in my heart that as believers in Christ Jesus, we need to share our testimony to save a life as they are going through the realities in life and need someone who has gone through that to reach out to them. Olovu from Papua New Guinea

  18. I am in awe. Thanks so much for sharing your story, now it’s time for me to share mine. I have starting writing and then stopped because I was ashamed.

    This has definitely inspired me to keep going.

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  19. I was raped in college. I was led to believe it was all my fault. The school just had me take a self-defense course instead of actually giving me any counseling. However, God has used my situation to help other women to realize it isn’t or wasn’t their fault. I am a pastor now. I have spoken to churches, sociology classes and even in communities about the crime. God still loves me I know.

  20. This touched my heart so. It brought thoughts of my Father and all he went through and did. I’m so glad to say that he said the sinners prayer years before he past . I know that he is with Jesus. I didnt reconnect with my dad till I was in my 30’s , I was suprised to find that he had a bible , because we were raised Catholic. I had about 17 precious years of my adult life to reconnect with my Father . it was such a blessing to hear him say how proud of the women I had become . This brings tears to my eyes. As for the first 7 years of my life I didnt have a father who gave a hoot about me. When I found Jesus he wiped that all away and reunited me with my Father. What a blessing !

  21. I trusted my sister for years,because that’s what my mother wanted before she past away in November 16th, 1991! That’s what she wanted for us to ❤ one have a better relationship than we did . I believe that’s why my mother found peace with God ,and let go of her worries about us !That’s why I felt , sadness, upset in August 2020.My sister is so vain,competitive,,proving, irritating to me , and my children, and even jealous, envy took apart in our relationship!Like Galatians 5v26. That made realize stop trusting man. Trust in God! Don’t walk in the flesh. Walk by faith not by sight! The devil does not like family ,or love. That’s why we have to thank God for every day he wakes us up in the morning, and gives us widsom knowledge, and discerning spirit!

  22. I feel so blessed. God used my failure and turned it into a blessing. I got divorced and was unfaithful to my dx husband, using his alcoholism as an excuse. By God’s grace, forgiveness and favour, I am married to man that has treated my children as his own and loves us all very much. Thank you God for nig turning your back on me. Amen

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