My friend Shannon Guerin is joining us today and reminds us how important it is to share our bold stories. That is what the #BeBoldGirl series is all about. If you have a bold story you’d like to share, contact me and let me know!
It felt as though I was convulsing on the inside. The anxiety was crippling as it twisted back and forth in my belly. The words I had practiced over and over in the wee hours of the morning threatened to stay locked up tight where safety ruled. The urge to bite my cuticles was overwhelming because it felt like the only relief that was available to me at the time.
It was the moment of all moments. The moment I would tell over 200 women about the skeletons that laid so neatly in the closet of my heart.
What would they think about me? Would they see me differently?
It’s a story that typically is not told. From the world’s point of view it’s shameful and private. Something to be kept secret. It’s full of drama. Heart wrenching, yet inspiring. I won’t go into all the details here because that’s not what this article is really about. It’s not about my story.
It’s about the fact that I was bold enough to tell it.
I closed my eyes and breathed deeply; hoping and praying for solace and confirmation from the Lord about what I was about to do. Even though He’d confirmed it before time and time again, in that moment I felt I needed more.
I was teetering between two very different thoughts. The first was how exciting it was going to be to share God’s miraculous story of how He saved me and my marriage. The second was what in the hell was I thinking in telling people about my past?
“Lord, I need you, please help me” I whispered.
As I closed my eyes I felt something like I’ve never felt before. It was like Jesus took a warm blanket and wrapped it around my frail and freezing body. I looked around me and saw dear friends who had loved and supported me. One friend smiled sincerely at me and I knew that it was God telling me, “it’s going to be okay, I’ve got this.” I suddenly felt peace like a river rushing wildly inside of me.
I walked on stage with my Bible in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and began to tell my story of God’s amazing grace and His beautiful redemption.
After a brief opening the words that paralyzed and shamed me for so long came spilling out of my mouth.
“About 9 years ago, I gave my heart to a man who was not my husband…”
After I spoke those words I distinctly remember feeling my whole body tingle. It was as if I was having an out of body experience. I will never forget those feelings. Even though God had already confirmed to me that I was in His will, in that moment I knew beyond any doubt why I went through all of the shame and all of the pain. I was suddenly very confident in what I was doing. The words that flowed out of my mouth were not my own.
I was honest, vulnerable and the mask was gone.
When telling your story, you must strip off your mask because if you don’t, your story becomes a watered down version of who you are, and it becomes impossible to connect with your audience.
They grew quiet, and you could barely hear a pin drop. I saw tears rolling down the cheeks of many. I saw soft smiles of love and support. There was a beautiful, silent connection within the audience and I realized that I was not alone.
When we share our stories with each other disconnection dissolves. The minute we discover that someone is suffering just like us, or that someone is experiencing healing just like us, we realize that we are all connected. The “oh, you too?” phenomenon happens and it’s something that is extraordinary.
As I closed, I could hear audible sobs. God was working inside hearts, including my own. It was heart wrenching but very healing and freeing at the same time. Many came to me afterwards to tell me their own stories that were very similar to mine.
I don’t know what God did in the lives of others that day. I’ll probably never know. What I do know is that something amazing happened. Satan was crushed and defeated. The Enemy was trampled and shame was blotted out.
I’m so glad that I followed the call.
I’m so glad that I didn’t let shame and worry stop me.
But mostly, I’m so glad I realized that sharing my story had nothing to do with me, and EVERYTHING to do with Him!
Be bold and share you story!
Shannon is fun-loving and authentic. She loves big and she loves fierce. At the top of that love list is Jesus, her husband John and her two daughters, Alex and Averee. She’s a woman who has been rescued and restored. Shannon believes every woman has a calling and she has a passion to see women everywhere rise up into who God has designed them to be. Although a book is in her future, you can currently read her blog and her story at www.shannongeurin.com. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram