Sharing our {Re}Story

Great is Thy Faithfulness! These words have been cycling through my mind constantly over the last few days. John had selected this as one of our hymns for Sunday, and while I ended up not making it to church on Sunday, I had practiced and prepared and this song had lodged in my mind and heart.

I woke up this morning with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety. Today had been on the calendar for weeks as "ReStory Day". As I said to a friend this morning, "While I am so thankful for all that God has done to bring us to this point, and praying that God will use this to bring others to hope in Him, it's also a little scary..."

"Scary" for lots of reasons. Scary because 10 years ago, we would never have dreamed that we'd be sharing this story publicly at all, much less to such a wide audience. Scary because we know there are those who won't understand or agree with our sharing. Scary because it's painful on a lot of levels, for us and for others. Scary because sexual abuse and the devastation it brings to everyone touched by it is such a huge weapon of the enemy in our day, and we know from experience that when we share our story of hope and God's glory, the enemy steps up his attacks.

But we are so thankful that our God is greater. Greater than all the scary. Greater than our own hesitation. Greater than the worst trauma we can imagine. He is faithful and true and sovereign and sufficient and GOOD, and He loves us with an unfathomable love. He is Wonderful Counselor and Jehovah Rapha, the God Who heals.

When our world exploded a little over a decade ago, I tried to find resources to help families seeking to deal with this type of trauma in a Biblical way. There was very, very little available at the time. I remember crying out to God for tangible help and hope, and clinging to Him as "Wonderful Counselor" (Isa. 9:6) He has been so faithful to show Himself to us as Wonderful Counselor all along the way, and to send people and resources to help.

One of the first people He sent was Mary DeMuth. I ran across a video clip online of her sharing a bit of her testimony of being molested as a five-year-old girl and the work God had done and continued to do in her life since. It was one of the first glimmers that there was truly hope in our situation. I emailed her later and shared a bit of our story and thanked her for sharing hers and allowing God to use it to minister to us.

Over the years, I've been on launch teams for several of Mary's books, and at one point had a guest post on her blog about ministering to abuse/trauma victims and their families in the church. Her books and ministry have continued to minister to me and to our family.

Earlier this year, Bayley shared her story on her blog. As I was sending the link to some who'd asked for it, I thought, "I should send this to Mary DeMuth and say thank you again for allowing God to use her in ministering to us through her story." I didn't know if she would even remember me or our story, but I prayed over it, wrote a note of "re-introduction", and sent the link.

Mary did remember our story, and after we had messaged back and forth a few times, she asked if Bay and I would be willing to be interviewed for her ReStory podcast.

I was reminded immediately of this blog post, where I shared about God changing the desires of my heart dramatically in the area of sharing our story. That post shares some important things about one of my long-time favorite verses, Psalm 37:4. Here's an excerpt:
God has worked a complete 180 in my heart...from praying that our story would never be public to praying that nothing about our story would be wasted...that we would "steward our story well", as Mary Beth Chapman says.  My heart's desire is that God would get every ounce of glory possible out of our situation, and that He would use us to comfort and help others, as He provided comfort and help for us.  Some time ago, I began to actually pray that God would give opportunities for me to share for His glory and to minister to others.
I talked to Billy and talked to Bay, we prayed about it, and then said yes.

I was reminded again recently of this quote from John Piper:
"If we are comforted, it is for your comfort." 2 Cor. 1:6. Don't waste your comfort on yourself. Sweeten it by spreading it.
God has comforted us in so many ways through these years, and He continues to as we continue to deal with the lifelong effects of this particular trauma and other hard life stuff. As I said in the Psalm 37:4 post linked above, He showed us early on that we couldn't comfort others with the comfort He has given without being willing to share our story.  As much as that was not in any way our natural inclination, He has changed our hearts and allowed that sharing to minister to others even as it has been a huge part of our own healing.

Today, on "ReStory Day", He has again shown His faithfulness in so many ways: in the incredible sunrise as I took Billy to work this morning, in the words to the hymn with which I opened this post, in the message from a friend this morning saying she didn't know what was going on with us today, but God had put us strongly on her heart and mind and she was praying for us (isn't God SO INCREDIBLY GOOD????? And so thankful for friends who listen to His promptings and obey and then share! *bigheart*), and in being reminded of His work for His glory and our good through listening for the first time to the ReStory interview this morning.

You can listen to the interview here.  (Please feel free to share this post and the podcast link via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, etc., especially if you know someone dealing with abuse or other trauma. You can also follow the blog via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68, or sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.)

More resources on child protection, finding hope in abuse and trauma, and dealing with suffering can be found here

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