“This morning I was reading in Mark chapter 9. And I was like asking the Holy Spirit to help me to see how this relates to my life or what I need to see from the passage, but there are instances in the passage where Jesus asks questions. Jesus asking questions really confuses me but then I realized that one of the questions he asked was in reference to this boy who he was about to heal. He asked the father “how long has blah blah been happening.” And I was like oh crap, all of this crap we’re doing is Biblical. Like Jesus wanted the story behind the pain not because he didn’t already know but because he wants us to go there with him! I’m sure there are more stream line examples of this in the Bible but it’s really been hitting me how he wants to go back into every moment where I believe lies about myself. I just had to tell y’all bc my friends in college really don’t get any of this stuff. It’s hard bc I kinda feel like they’re so rigid and forget that God is so much bigger than anything we could ever imagine. I miss y’all and how open y’all are to just doing into deep, scary places with Jesus!! Being sexually assaulted and perverting sex sucks but today I feel so loved. I feel strength. I feel parts of myself I thought I lost return. I feel a piece of freedom in my body again. All of this has allowed me to make my faith, my life, and voice my own with Jesus. I know I’m gonna have to go through this book again because one time isn’t enough, but I haven’t felt this hopeful in awhile. It’s sweet. It’s growth.”
This a message from a young woman (I asked her permission to publish) in a group text that I’m included in from our Her Held Heart class which is a class specifically designed to address the wounds from past sexual abuse. This small group of women is journeying together for the year, healing from the pain of sexual abuse in all the many forms it has taken in our lives. We are sharing our stories in safe community, discovering the lies, moving through the pain because THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH!
There’s so much I could say about this sweet text from this beautiful young heart –
Her feeling of safety…
Her brave in the face of scary things…
Her love for community and safe, sacred space…
Her willingness to go deep…
Her awareness of herself and her own courageous steps…
BUT for this post I want to focus on her discovery in Mark chapter 9…Jesus’ desire to hear the story. I have been hearing much about this topic as of late. One of my besties, in the trenches with me on this journey, turned me onto a podcast named “The Place We Find Ourselves” hosted by Adam Young. It is an honest look at the power of story –
of standing in the gap as story catchers to hold others’ stories
of choosing to embrace and bravely share our own stories of pain, tragedy, loss, disappointment, brokenness, invisibility.
It has touched me deeply as I have listened.
I have known for a long time that I am a story catcher of sorts and also that I am a brave soul sharing my own stories…I have known it was healing to catch and to pitch the stories of our lives, I know our stories are important to the Lord but I don’t think I recognized the deep significance until this text, these podcasts, this moment.
In our coaching classes we teach and repeatedly remind our students about the “gift of listening” and the healing value of this skill. You know how you know something but you don’t really KNOW something until you KNOW it! Sometimes it has to smack you right between the eyes for KNOWING to be KNOWN!
Mark 9:21-24 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
An all-knowing God already knows the story…why did He ask?
Because I believe that we have to tell our story…Jesus knew this…telling our story heals us-
body: the brain is physically changed by making connections when we tell our story
soul: the heart feels seen and heard, emotions metabolized to move past trauma when we tell our story
spirit: connects us to the Author penning the story, the Savior who died for all of it when we tell our story
THE POWER OF STORY
We have a deep need to be known, to be seen and heard, to feel connection and this all happens when we intentionally see each other – really see – the heart behind the stories of our lives that drive behavior, create the beliefs, distort the perception. The stories that broke us and shaped us, that changed us and rearranged us, that forever rerouted us onto paths unintended and sealed our need for a Savior to make all things right.
Each story, a treasure to hold for another in safe, sacred space so healing can begin!
He wants to hear all the stories and go to those deep, scary spaces with us.
He is not afraid of the tales hidden in the dark.
He is not afraid of all the emotions threatening to emerge and drown.
He is not afraid of of your anger at others or at Him.
He is not afraid of any of it.
Your story holds the key to greater intimacy with Him. Engaging your story invites Him into the honesty, the horror, the hideousness of humanity that must be explored so that this story’s hold can be loosed, shaken off and resurrected. Inviting Jesus gives us the capacity to feel all of it, unearth the lies, and own the behaviors that destroy us. Inviting Him into our story gives us eyes to see clearer that little girl/boy broken in our story by careless others. Inviting Him offers a compassion to our own hearts that we are worthy of love, to be seen and known.
This is why He asks that soul shaking, waking, quaking question – what is your story?
Your story is important, every one of them!