Hey You, beautiful girl, the one who’s lived and loved and has stories to tell.
We need your voice.
We need your words.
We need you to open up the door of your heart and invite us to see the treasures within.
I know that’s hard and scary. The questions come so quickly: “Am I good enough?” “Will they like me?” “Do I have anything to offer?” We let those question marks cover up the exclamation points our souls are made to express. And when we hide our stories, we all miss out.
It’s easy to look around the online world and feel like it’s all been said before. But here’s what’s true: It hasn’t been said by YOU. Wise King Solomon said long before any of us came into being, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” But there’s always, always someone new under the sun. Because there has never been and never will be another you. And we have not heard all of your story yet.
Will you share it with us?
We want to hear the broken parts, the happy moments, the things you never expected, the desires fulfilled, the longings still tugging at your heart. Most of all, we want to hear about Jesus in and through you. You’re created in the image of God and there’s a part of who He is that we only get to see through who you are.
We can tell our stories in so many different ways. We can share it with a friend over coffee. We can put it in a blog post online. We can speak it from a stage. All of those make a difference.
Fear will always tell you to keep quiet.
But love will always ask you to speak up.
So that’s what we’re doing here in this place. We’re asking you to have the courage to share your story. With one person or many. Because your words have more power than you realize. Because your life echoes through eternity. Because you are the only one who can do the telling.
Pull up a chair, friend, lean in close. Then speak the words that your heart has been holding inside. We promise to receive them and hold them too–with love, grace and hands reaching across the table to grasp yours. We’re all earth-dwellers and story-tellers. Messy and glorious. Living out our syllables and chapters. We’re all part of the same book. The unending tale of God’s love.
And we need your story.
Enter to win a $100 DaySpring gift card by sharing your story on Facebook or Instagram before 11:59 p.m. CST January 31, 2016. To be entered, tag @DaySpring and use the hashtag #mystorymatters in your post so we can contact you if you’re the winner!Leave a Comment
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I’m all signed up and ready to go. I have not heard anything, however, from the meet-up host from our area? It may still be early…Thanks (in)courage for giving us a platform to share and encourage others in our stories.
Crystal Stine says
Bev – thanks so much for letting us know! It’s likely they’re still getting all the details in order, but I’ll be sure to remind all our lovely hosts to connect with their guests!
aly d. chase says
I am almost through brandon cox’s book, rewired, and he talks about silence too. thanks for reinforcing that point for me. remaining silent doesn’t come from a place of love. it is like choosing solitary confinement while going about our daily routines. needed the encouragement! thanks friend.
Holley Gerth says
So glad to have your words and voice here, Aly!
Yes and Amen, thank you Holley. Just last night I was tempted to throw in the towel on my book idea. I lamented to Hubby- “Who will read this anyway?” “No one cares about this kind of stuff?” It is scary to offer ourselves but, if it can help even one, it is worth offering. Thanks for this important and beautiful reminder.:)
Holley Gerth says
Keep writing, Katie! Only you can share the words God has placed in your heart. He doesn’t have a plan B for you…or your book.
I was reading through the comments and yours stuck out to me because I have been there! My book is still in the very beginning stages as God slowly yet surely reveals what He wants me to write about but I understand your sentiment completely. Be encouraged, sweet sister in Christ, that if He put it on your heart, He has a reason. Your story is unique as is mine and they just beg to be shared!
You are such a beautiful writer! I can tell you must be a beautiful person. Thank you
Holley Gerth says
Thank you, Sandy!
Jessica Wolstenholm says
Holley, this is so encouraging! It does often feel like there’s nothing left to be said but our unique voices DO matter and are needed. Thank you for this reminder. So excited about our meet up in Nashville!! Thank you girls for leading the way in this community!
Holley Gerth says
Yes, you matter SO much and we need your voice! Have fun at your Nashville meet-up!
I’m really looking forward to it! :).
Holley Gerth says
So glad you’re part of (in)RL, Jennifer!
Crystal Stine says
I woke up this morning in a fog of discouragement – I love how God uses your words, in this space, to hug my heart. Thank you for living a life of encouragement 🙂
Holley Gerth says
Hugs right back atcha today, friend!
Maria @ The Good Life says
I am totally excited about this year’s (in)RL. Last year I was not able to make it because of a family death but his year I am all in. And this shy girl follow a calling in her heart and I am hosting a meetup. Yikes! talk about going outside my comfort zone!
Holley Gerth says
Woo-hoo, Maria! As a fellow shy girly, I can relate to what a big step of faith hosting is. Cheering you on!
I’m sharing all my short stories. My journal really. You are most encouraging Holley. Thanks for the encouragement. You are most kind. And patient.
Lisha Epperson says
I really needed to hear this today “Fear will always tell you to keep quiet. But love will always ask you to speak up. And we need your story .” I wrote a really transparent post recently and cried and prayed over it because I thought my honesty would come with a price. Generally it was well received and I’ve connected and responded to many comments. But that girl inside me still struggles with the sharing of the hard stuff. I keep hearing Jennifer Lees words #preapproved and I press forth with the telling…even when it’s hard. And then today these words gift me with such peace. Thanks.
Holley Gerth says
I’m so glad you pushed past the fear and shared the hard stuff. Your words make a difference and help us be braver, Lisha!
That line spoke right to my heart, too Lisha! Thank you for being a “brave word warrior” and sharing your voice with us.
Holley, thank you for the encouragement to push through the fear and “to keep not silent” but to open up our mouths, and speak with boldness like Esther. For we are called to the kingdom for such a time as this. 🙂
Susan Shipe says
As an encourager and a writer, I share my story often. Just as you said, Holley, God doesn’t have a plan B – this life we live is His plan, His perfect plan when we surrender our lives and our wills to Him.
Holley Gerth says
This line rings so true: “We let those question marks cover up the exclamation points our souls are made to express.” Yes, we’re made to share our stories and express God’s love. Blessings! Nancy
I love to write but have not reached the point where I feel comfortable sharing my story and there is much to be shared. Asking GOD to give me the strength and courage to do this one. It needs to be told to help others and myself. I just love reading what you write Holly. God has definitely given you that gift. Stay true to your words and his gift 🙂
Ava Sophie says
I just read through the comments, searching for an answer to a question of mine, but when I read your comment I immediately felt like praying for you. I have many difficult stories to tell, and some I’ve told already, some I haven’t. On April 24. I am sharing some of my story locally, and I am scared to death, and I really want to just back out of it, but I want. Because it really really matters to me to change the world. To change the world so people don’t need to sit alone with scary thoughts or scary stories just because “it’ not something we talk about” or because it is something we think the world can’t handle. I am particularly scared of sharing this story because it is something many people I know will attend to, and I am scared what they will thing about em after that. But, what about changing the world. The world need someone to step up first, and this time it was my turn. I need to be brave and tell my story so others might dare to tell theirs and, perhaps as a result more people will be brave enough to talk to someone about those things “one should not speak about”… This is not meant to pressuring you. I mean it as encouragement. I was once the shy girl than didn’t even dare to say no when someone wanted me to do something I didn’t want to. Now I am speaking up. Because God has changed me, He’s changed me so I can be more like Jesus, and so I can be more like God intend me to be, to be a better me:) You shouldn’t share your story before you’re ready, but if you’re waiting for the moment when it is not scary at all, I can tell you right now, that moment will probably not show up 😉 I want to pray for you(hope you don’t mind. And remember, no pressure):
“Lord, I lift up Paulette to you! You see who she is, and you know her better than anyone! I pray that you give her the strength she needs, when she needs it, that you give her courage and bravery, but also show her that she is already braver than she thinks! Please give her your peace, and let her know when you want her to share her story, and how, so she can be sure when the time is right, and also have peace with it. Thank YOU for your love for Paulette, and I ask you to show her how much you love her, to show her how YOU see her, and show her what good thoughts and plans you have for her! Than you, Lord Jesus. In Jesus name, Amen”
Paulette, you are already strong ac brave to tell just what you told here. To be honest about our insecurities and fears are something of the bravest things we can do, because by doing that we confess our weaknesses and let God do his work in us! I’m glad to hear you love to write, that alone tells me God has given you a gift to share with the world. Keep up the work, it matters! =0)
Thank you so much for your prayer and input in what I wrote. You will never know how much it meant to me. God has been dealing with me on this matter for some time…
Holley, thank you so much! Can’t tell you how often God shines through your words straight into a hurting spot in my heart. Thank you for allowing Him to!
Susan M. Scott says
How Jesus made Himself real to me
At seven years my big toe on my right foot became infected. My dad’s answer to any infection
was to puncture the infected area with a needle sterilized by putting the point in a match flame
then squeezing the area to drain any puss. I was avoiding this procedure at home by keeping my
feet covered in socks or shoes and socks, particularly when my father was around, lest he see the
At the same time this was going on, I was in a swim class down at the local public pool.
Television was in its infancy. Local interest stories were just that, very local. A reporter from
WRR-TV in Dallas came to the very ordinary local public pool where I was. He liked the way
I swam in the class, consequently invited me to be interviewed as a guest on the Julie Bennell
Show. Yes, I was to wear my swim suit, 9 o’clock this coming Saturday.
Mother was ecstatic that I was to be on television, so hastily accepted the upcoming
interview for me. I was not as ecstatic. I reasoned that all of the WRR television audience would
now see my infected toe including my father, therefore the dreaded squeezing would ensue.
How to get out of this jam? I did not know to ask Jesus to heal the toe. At church the
service was read from a book. Hmmm. However, I was very focused when the Bible accounts
were read. Jesus seemed very real to the surprised folks no matter what He was doing. My
decision was made. I would bargain with Jesus. If He got me out of this jam, then I would
believe He was real, that the Bible was true and I would follow Him all the days of my life.
Another something had happened earlier. My brother and I grew up in Texas. All little
boys and girls wanted cowboy boots. Mother thought the pointed toes would misshape our feet
so no cowboy boots for us! That is, she promised, unless the boots came with rounded toes. It
just so happened that while we were strolling downtown after church one Sunday passing one
display window after another of the department stores. There they were! Rounded toed cowboy
boots! Purchases were made the very next day. I loved mine. I wore my black cowboy boots
Mother ran late. Speeding to the WRR-TV station on Saturday in my swimming suit with,
my now, very scuffed black cowboy boots on my feet covering my toe, I dashed into the
broadcasting room. I remember the set was pink, Julie Bennell was pink, her dress was pink, she
smelled pink. I was enveloped into what felt like an enormous miasma of pink cotton candy. She,
none-the-less, was a very gracious woman, who exclaimed to me upon my arrival, “You must be
Susan! I simply love your cowboy boots! You must wear them on the program!”
I beamed. Yes, Jesus had gotten me out of my jam! Yes, I believed He was real. Very
real. The Bible must be true and yes, I would follow Him all the days of my life.
What a joyous adventure my life in Him continues to be.
Humbly submitted by Susan Scott
I love this reminder, every story is unique but there really is nothing new under the sun. However, my story and struggles are special because they’re mine-and as I tell them I can encourage others in a new way. Sometimes, as I write, I wonder if it’s all been said before. It probably has, but it hasn’t been said by me and it hasn’t been heard from me. And so God gives us his stories to encourage the rest of his children in ways that are completely unique and different. And he’ll use them if we’re brave enough to tell them.
Thanks for the encouragement to share the stories.
Thank you Holley.
I am currently in a Bible study of Habakkuk and the title of the study is “Your Story Matters.” Love the connection to what you write here.
For years I have encouraged my friends to tell their story. We called it “Your Story, God’s Glory”. We thought about compiling the amazing stories into a book. Life got busy and we never did. But I believe in story and God using it for His glory.
I will check out the RL site. I am heading into a four week program to recover some of the missing pieces of my story. To pick up some tools I never had or lost along the way. Please pray for me as I seek to recover some joy that was lost along the way. It will be good to share more when my journey of healing is complete. Bless you for being God’s instrument of hope for our stories.
Had my email wrong on the last post so this corrected it. Spelled my own name wrong! But God knows my name. 🙂
Debbie Dillon says
Wow – I DO have a story to tell and I’m living out the “happy ending” each day. I’ve never shared it publicly, but I do see now how it’s ALL been necessary, how it’s all woven together. I just need God to help me find the words to tell it. 🙂
Ava Sophie says
It’s so encouraging to hear all you have figured out about your story, I’m so glad to hear you are living out the happy ending! I’ve often experienced that in order for God to work, we sometimes just need to star, to get going, and then he shows some of the path so we know where to steps. I often have no idea what to write, before I actually start writing –then the words come even though I have no idea how it happened. But I know where they came from…God! Sometimes we need to take action in faith, and God gives us all we need to complete the task. But God has aslomany ways to do things =0)
Elisama Lucena says
Hi everyone! I live in Brazil and have been passing through hards time struggling with OCD. It makes me suffers a lot. But I`m OCD. I`m me. I ask God everyday to remember who I am, specially in Christ. I wish I can do a lot of things in the same time, because I`ve lost so much time with this battle. I surrendered to Christ, so I`m in better hands. I love making new friends and since I have a problem to deal with people just went away from me but Christ is my best friend so I`m more than happy.
Ava Sophie says
Hello Elisama! Yesterday I read this blog post: http://michelecushatt.com/the-truth-about-who-you-are/ . I realized this one is for the times I forget my identity, the days my whole self is shaken by someones comment to me, or if I am turned down in some way. I often struggle with thinking what people say or think about me is true, but the only thing that is true is what Jesus say about me! The same thing goes for you 😉 Michele Cuscatt gives us a great reminder of who we are in Christ, and just like you say — That’s what we need to hold on to!
I want you to know that even though you struggle with OCD, that’s NOT you. It is NOT who you are. You are LOVED –you are God’s BELOVED. You are a CHILD of GOD. You are DAUGHTER of the KING of all Kings, and you are His heir! You are beautiful, and YOU are precious to Him. In all of your struggles, and even though you feel the limitations in your life, God is SO much bigger than that! He can and will use you to do His work with or without OCD. I Understand some of your struggle, though I haven’t been through the same, I know about being ‘controlled’ by anxiety and depression. And it is hard, but God leads us out of it, and God is the one who bring healing. Like you say, you’re in the best hands!
I want to pray for you:
“Lord Jesus, I lift up Elisama Lucena to you. I thank you for creating her, for showing her the way into your comforting hands, I thank you that she has surrendered to you. I Thank you for being the life-giver. I thank you for being the light in our lives, and I thank you for being the love that drives fear and anxiety away. I don’t know much about OCD, but I know it is not one of your great plans and thought for Elisama’s life. You have great things in store for her, you’ve made her unique so she can give something to the world and honor you in a way no one else can! Please show her who she is in your eyes and please help her remember her name whenever she forgets it –the name you’ve given her. Please free her from the OCD, and break all of her chains, so she can dance and sing for joy to you! I thank you for always leading us onto the righteous path, no matter how much we astray, I thank you for always leading us into you beautiful plans for each and every one of us! Lead this girl out of the claws of OCD and into your healing, mercy, peace, love, and glorious plans for her, in Jesus name, AMEN!”
Remember, you are strong when you are weak =0)
Here’s a song that really encourages me when I feel bad:
Susan Bohannon says
Love, love, love this post and love this site. For the past year God has really been preparing me to tell my story. I finally launched my blog with my story and encouraging others’ stories also.
My story can be read here. http://susaninreallife.com/about-me/
Ava Sophie says
Susan! I think you are so brave for sharing your story like that, and how encouraging to read about how your life has changed by getting closer to Jesus and to accept his unconditional love! It’s the unconditional-love-part I often struggle with and has struggled with for my whole life. I surrendered to Jesus almost three years ago, but I couldn’t understand what unconditional love meant- only with my head. God used a friend of me to enlighten this to me: “You try to understand it with your head, but you need to understand it with your heart”. Last Christmas, when I read about Jesus’ birth, The Holy Spirit showed me, and I finally accepted His unconditional love for me. But I have to keep reminding myself every day.
Thank you for sharing your story, for showing me and others how important it is to grasp God’s unconditional love, and to work on our relationship with Christ, and how giving it is!
Bev Brandon @A String of Pearls says
Cancer hit me at a time when we were already in another crisis plus we had just moved to a new city after 27 years in the same city, house, and church. It’s been 5 years today that I am cancer free and I want to say that it was internet people like y’all blogging and tweeting that God used to provide a community when I had none. I met lifelong friends who touched deep places in me—some I’ve still never laid eyes on. Just wanted to thank you all for using social media to pour out His Beauty cause people are listening. And I loved your video—you are absolutely precious!
Thelma McInnes says
Dear Holley Gerth,
Thought I,d drop a line and say my life to begin with was amazing! I was pronounced dead by the Dr. who attended my birth, but fortunately for me also there was a Christian nurse who never gave up on me! She prayed over me and finally I came around, She actually baptized me and called me Mary, my parents at the time didn’t know this , but later called my sister Mary I dare say in respect for that nurse who worked so hard to save my life!I was to spend the next 6 weeks in a humidity crib which was another blessing, as not all hospitals had one back then!My cousin was born 3 weeks after me, and she died because there was no humidity crib in her hospital! I was brought up in a Christian home and know I am blessed to be here.
Thankyou that I can share my story, Thelma McInnes
Love this article and love this thread of comments! I too have struggled with the “why write?” questions. Thanks for the beautiful reminder of the importance of telling our stories. Especially love this-“God doesn’t have a ‘B’ plan for your book”-awesome!
Thanks, Holley, for the reminder although if I am honest I still struggle with the concept that my voice is so important. I did take a plunge a year ago and published my poetry book, Threads of Hope, which is my voice. But i still need to be constantly reminded to not clam up
Kimberly Goodloe says
MY HEART JOURNEY
I am a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, health advocate & survivor. A couple of years ago, I received a new heart valve plus a pace maker. I was born with an abnormal heart valve and developed symptoms at age 42. I notified my doctor, a test was ordered then I received a mechanical valve. Four days later I developed heart blockage. The doctor informed my family that I would need a pace maker to help my heart function. A year later, my third surgery took place: pace maker revision. The purpose of MY JOURNEY is to share how I face daily health obstacles & heart awareness throughout the community plus help cardiac patients & their families cope with the recovery process. Sharing Words of Encouragement to any facing a health challenge: focus on the positive, become your own health advocate, create a journal, communicate with your physician, find one reason to smile : every day and never, never give up.
( link to my health blog)
Beth WIlliams says
I’m all signed up and ready to go! Can’t wait to hear the stories and meet the people in this wonderful In (Courage) world. You all bless the socks off me!! Love your posts!!
Judi G. Reid says
Where do you want us to share our story? Here? Elsewhere? Now? On the 25th? Length=summary or longer story? Your video is great and fun! It’s perfect for encouraging women to tell their story. “Yes, we mean YOU:) http://www.womenofvalue.org It’s all “in process:)”
Holley, I’m so tired and so scared. My sister-in-law has terminal lung cancer and I’m trying to help her as much as I can. I’ m recovering from a mastectomy, my second bout with breast cancer. I keep praying, but it seems like God is on vacation. I don’t know what to do.
Ava Sophie says
God never goes on vacation(I’m sure you know this, but it might help to “hear”it), but sometimes we can’t see His answer and sometimes the answer is different than we think it will be. God is in control and He has the best plan there is(Isaiah 55:8-11 and Jeremiah 29: 11-13). This is also for your sister-in-law. Has she accepted Jesus as God’s son and savior? If not, I would like to encourage you to share Jesus with her! God loves her, and He loves you. He listen to those who cries out to Him: “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Remember, with the Lord, you will find rest(Psalm 23:1-3).
Praying for you!