Recently I was asked if I would be willing to share my personal story of hope at the Festival of Hope, an event put on by Cornerstone of Hope Christian Counseling here in Lima. It was a night designed to raise awareness and support for their office and the work being done in our community. It was a beautiful night at a beautiful farm with some amazing food (seriously…a deluxe s’mores bar and caramel apple bar) and an incredible Gallery of Hope that featured many mediums of art, all of which depicted hope in some way.
Sharing my story through written word is one thing. Sharing it in front of people with a microphone in hand…well, that is another. It makes my nerves jittery, but somehow it feels right. Just a few days before being asked to share, I had attended a women’s conference with Lysa TerKeurst. The main take-away I had from that time was a real sensing that God was asking me to take my roots deeper. He had just taken me through an intense season of healing and repairing of my roots, but now it was time to go deeper…to allow them to penetrate deep in the soil of His Word and His presence. I have an entire other post just about this rolling around in my head, but more on that later.
Going deeper requires a choice of obedience.
I had a choice. I was asked to share with the option of saying no if I wasn’t comfortable doing it. I knew, though. God’s been telling me that it was time to start sharing my story. And so here was an opportunity I was being presented with and choice I needed to make.
I chose to say yes. I was shaking and couldn’t sit still that night. I had sweaty palms and just felt jittery. BUT, even still, I never once questioned whether or not I had made the right choice. Despite how my body was reacting physically, I was completely at peace…not partially…completely. My heart and mind were being guarded with His peace. (Check out Philippians 4:6-7 for an awesome look at where this peace comes from!)
When my time came to share, I was thankful to have my wonderful husband, Andy, on stage with me. Prior to me sharing he had shared about one of Cornerstone’s awesome groups for kids that uses Legos to teach self-regulation and healthy ways to handle big emotions.
Yes, I was reading, but I got lost in the story and it just flowed. I’ve never pegged myself to be one to publicly share my story, but God is good. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I was given to share a piece of my story of hope. Walking in obedience isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.
My heart was full and I was humbled…and I find myself in that spot again as I share it with you.
Below is a snapshot of my story. It’s what I read that night. And while it’s just a snapshot (the good and the bad, our stories are never told in just one picture), it’s evidence of the work God has done over the past nine months. God is good and I’m so incredibly grateful for who He is, the work He has done, and the work He is going to continue to do. So, here you go…my snapshot of hope.
“At the beginning of this year, I found myself in a difficult place. Coming off of a particularly hard season, but not yet realizing I was on the brink of a very different type of difficult—a beautiful, freeing, messy, hard work, healing type of difficult—I found myself in a place where I felt like I was constantly gasping for air. I was feeling utterly defeated, overwhelmed with anxiety, buckling under the pressure of depression, and struggling with a stronghold of fear. I lacked any confidence that things would actually change, and I felt like I was suffocating, fearful of so many things.
And yet, in the middle of the outward and inward chaos, there was whispered on my heart the word “hope.” I didn’t really know what to do with it, and to be honest, it seemed unobtainable. But, in His gentle persistence, the Holy Spirit never let that word get too far away.
That’s when I started going to Cornerstone of Hope. God met me in my brokenness, but He didn’t leave me there. He led me to Cornerstone of Hope, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
My time at Cornerstone was pivotal. It was life-changing. Though difficult, it was a journey worth taking. Through individual and group counseling I was able to work through deep-seeded hurts and experience a shift in some foundational perspectives. For the first time, I experienced true freedom from the fear and the lies I had so long been captive to. John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The quilt that I made for the Gallery of Hope has that passage on it. As a result of my time with Cornerstone, I found hope through the process of becoming free. I had spent many, many years as a slave to fear and the countless lies that came with it. But, because of God’s relentless love I found real, lasting, and life-giving freedom in the truth, who is Jesus. I found freedom from a life of fear, and freedom in being who God created me to be. There is great hope in being set free and for that I am so incredibly grateful!
As I have moved forward, growth continues to happen and God’s promises just keep getting sweeter. The journey is still hard, but I am beyond grateful for the hope and freedom that I can continue to live in.
His truth breathes life into my soul and fuels my passion for seeing others realize that they, too, can have this very same life-giving hope. God used my time at Cornerstone to not only bring personal healing, but also to ignite a passion in my heart to help others experience the same healing. That’s why this fall I began my first semester to get a masters in professional counseling. I want to give back what God has given me.
There are things in life that you casually say, sure, I recommend that. But, then there are things about which you can passionately say to others, I just can’t recommend this enough. Experience this and you’ll walk away changed…and that’s how I feel about Cornerstone of Hope. They have an amazing team of people and the work they are doing is incredible! Not only am I immensely grateful for the impact I’ve experienced in my own life, my heart is full of gratitude knowing others are being offered the same life-changing, hope-filled opportunity that I had.”