Monday, July 30, 2012

Cardboard Victories

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a church service with about 25 members of my extended family. We gathered to hear about a mission trip to Costa Rica that four of them just returned from. We sang songs in Spanish, watched video and looked at pictures from their trip and heard personal accounts of their experience there. They testified.

Testimony tends to be a really churchy sounding word and therefore it can freak people out. There have been many Saturday Night Live style skits mocking testifying in church that has left the whole practice seeming strange and laughable to many folks who weren't raised attending church. But to me testimonies are amazing, inspirational and life giving.

By definition a testamony is evidence of a fact; it's proof. Proof of something good, proof of a hard won victory, proof that none of us has to be alone in life. Proof that someone has our back and knows our path. Proof that life is meant to be good. Proof.

Near the end of the service the fourteen mission team members gave proof of the goodness in life. They stood on the stage, each holding a piece of cardboard.  On that cardboard each team member had written one thing they struggled with, things like fear, anger, doubt, themptatin and feelings of inadequacy. On the flip side of the cardboard they wrote their victory. Words like strong, protected, peace and free filled the stage. It was amazing to see a snap shot view of the 'wins' each team member had had.

As I watched them and celebrated their success with them I thought about what my piece of cardboard would say; what my proof of victory would be. What would I proclaim to give hope to others?  That's the point of testimonies, to give hope, to light a path and inspire perseverance.  So, what would I declare so that others may find hope in their lives?

Result of an unplanned pregnancy ... Sense of purpose and destiny.
Dorky and awkward growing up, friendless ... Loved by My People.
Worthless, inadequate, quitter,  fraud ... Worthy, whole, healed and inspired.
Diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at 35 ... Cancer free and ALIVE at 36.
Imprisoned by my own mental garbage ... FREE!

I could go on but you get the point. For every struggle I have had, every heartbreak I have endured and every set back I have experienced I have also lived a victory. I have survived. I have become stronger. I have trusted more, learned more and basked in peace more. I have way more wins than loses.

I haven't done this on my own, though. I have My People and I have an incredibly faithful God. That's my cardboard testimony ... What's yours? What have you overcome? What is that one thing you can declare so that others may have hope?

I invite you to write your testimony in the comments or on the wall of our League of Extraordinary Women ... Let's build a cyber monument to the fighter in all of us. Let's proclaim 'we are stronger than'!

The world is full of suffering but it is also full of overcoming it.
~Helen Keller

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