“You probably don’t remember me…” her letter began. Over the pages that followed she poured out her story of heartache and redemption and how a brief afternoon encounter spoke into the depths of her heart, penetrating areas she had closed off when she’d opted for an abortion. I didn’t know her story at the time, but I had offered her part of mine. I told her about the heartache of being told our baby might be born with Down Syndrome and about the faithfulness of God to hold us close when we were in pain. I let her hold our infant son and asked her if she would ever consider becoming a mom or if the desire was in her heart. Three years later, I read her letter with tears streaming down my face. Even while not knowing her story, sharing mine and sharing the joy of our baby with her had spoken far more than I realized. She told me of how that was the first time she’d held a baby since her abortion. She told me how God used it to speak to her about being forgiven and about being worthy to be trusted with a child. This young woman is still healing but is now empowered with grace and filled with expectancy and joy for her future. She’s named her child in heaven and looks forward with hope to meeting her one day. We all have a story to share. Just like my story had touched her, her story now affects me. She reminded me that God’s faithfulness to us is far greater than we can see – He’s always moving behind the scenes, always making broken things whole, and always going about the work of making all things new. Are we willing to open up our lives to others so that they may see Jesus more clearly? “Be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt others to open up with God.” –Jesus (Matthew 5:16, MSG) Friends, let me encourage you to share your stories – the hard ones, the ones where you’ve failed, the ones where you’ve been brave, the ones where God’s shown Himself faithful, the ones where you’ve had your heart broken and then saw Jesus draw near, the ones where you’ve stretched and grown more into the woman you were meant to be. In sharing our stories, we help give permission for others to share theirs… and we spur one another on to open up to God. These words of Jesus are true. I’ve seen it over and over again in my life: the more I’ve been willing to give voice to the work of God within me, the more others open up and give voice to the work of God in them. And as that happens, our stories—bathed in the sacrifice of Jesus—actually overcome the darkness (Revelation 12:11). We belong to each other, and we need each other’s stories to birth hope and faith in the midst of our lives, whether we pant for water in dry desert places, look for light in dark valleys, surrender our fight in lush meadows, or shout for joy from the mountain heights. “Keep open house; be generous with your life” (Matthew 5:16, MSG). This, friends, is what I purpose to do. I hope you will, too. The world needs your story. ------------------------------------------------------------------- A small portion of this post originally appeared here.