I woke up to a WhatsApp this morning from a friend in a faraway land.
“Dee Dee…” We often start our conversations like this to alert each other of the need to talk. I saw that she had sent it at about 1:00 am. So, I replied quickly to signal that I was online and that she could continue the conversation. “Did you once share about your journey as a Compassion child on Facebook?” She asked. I replied with an affirmative answer and quickly follow-up with a why. In my head, I was trying to figure out where this was going? Why was she asking after all this time? What followed next was a pleasant surprise that turned me into an emotional wreck and got me back to this blog to complete it.
I have been writing a lot about my life this year. I have also obtained a lot of freedom in sharing my story. But this has not always been the case. In fact, many that knew me in my younger years get shocked at the audacity I have now to speak. “What really changed?” They often ask. Well, to be honest, it has taken (and still is) a lot of hand-holding by God. God had to first, help accept my life story and then to see the power in sharing it. It is a journey of tears and laughter. One of the things about growing up as an orphan in Africa is the label that we get from people around us. Even well-meaning family members tend to treat you differently from the rest. People create a sense of sorrow around you that you learn to also live by. Then there is the pressure of trying to live in a way that does not offend anyone lest you lose the help that is coming or could come from them. So, you learn to smile and be grateful for all of it even though you know there are things that you could have wanted better. To protect that little sense of security, you learn to keep things to yourself because your opinion could cost you and your siblings. As you advance in years, you learn that to relate without strings attached, you must keep that part of your story a secret to avoid the pity faces and treatment. Then it becomes too difficult to even embrace your true self. You realize you are living a life that you don’t really like.
For my case, God used my study of Psalms 139 to break this. I learned that He knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb. And because He knew me, nothing about my story is a mistake. Nothing about it is something to be ashamed of. I am His masterpiece and He has all the days of my life ordained. I then started the journey of self-love and acceptance that is still ongoing. I realize how significant my husband has been in this too. The way he has affirmed over these past years together has contributed a lot to the package you see today. How cool is that!
After some years of work, it was time for me to allow God to use my story to free other girls or individuals who have had similar lives or are having a difficult time accepting who they are. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I freely share about my life. Not to get likes or ‘’Awws” or whatever you may choose to call it, but to impact other lives and helped people see the power of God’s love. Okay by now, you have either moved on from the story at the start of my blog or you are curious to know what happened next.
Never be afraid to share your story. There’s freedom for you and others.
“For some reason, your story stayed with me. And then a couple of weeks ago, I did something crazy. Now I am scared about the responsibility. You inspired me. I thought you should know.” She wrote.
I was filled with tears reading how she had just signed up to be a sponsor to one little boy. I told her not to worry about the responsibility because the blessing outweighs it.
“Thank you so much for sharing babes. Because of it, I’ve stepped out on another adventure and I get to be a part of my child’s story and his family. You have changed both my life and theirs.” Wow, compassion may never know of this, but I surely know that God is smiling at me today.
You know what, even as I write this I realize that nothing about my story is solely about me. It is part of God’s grandeur plan for humanity and that goes beyond my fears and insecurities. Friends, never be afraid to share your story. If you do, you may miss out on seeing how many lives God can touch through your story. Friends, never be afraid to share your story.
To my friend, thank you so much for reaching out today. I am amazed by your obedience to God’s call. I pray that He tangibly shows up in every area of your life and that you truly enjoy your new adventure.
Filled to be emptied.