The suburban backyard was unusually quiet for a Saturday night. No lawnmowers, no neighbors calling, not even traffic disturbed the group of women sitting on the deck. Or perhaps we were so captured by what we were hearing that we didn’t notice.
My friend was telling us her life story. Her story is raw and real. It’s a story of despair and betrayal and picking herself up and throwing herself into the arms of Jesus, and it’s a story of hope and strength and redemption. It’s beautiful.
This is the essence of testimony: making ourselves a living example of the transformative power of a life lived with God, in God, and through God… and sometimes not even fully seeing this is happening until we look back and know that He’s done it all along, in spite of ourselves.
There’s power in our stories. Revelation 12:11 says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Why is there so much power in testimony? Watching my brave, beautiful friend in her vulnerability, I think I understand. The more we tell our truths, the more we bring what’s hidden into the light. Hidden things such as shame and fear have to flee when light hits them; it’s just the way it is. We set ourselves free by telling our truths because we are in essence declaring that what has been shackling us is no longer allowed to have power over us.
As my friend finished her story, something happened. All over that backyard, women began telling bits and pieces of their stories to each other. Long-hidden secrets came to light. Watching my friend be brave inspired us to bravery, and this is also part of the power of testimony. Telling our stories to each other reminds us that if God has done it for one of us, He can do it for all of us. We are encouraged to press on because we’re reminded that God really is at work in us.
Testimony transports the invisible into the possible by taking the attributes of God and bringing them within our reach. We all have stories; we all have unique ways of reflecting the character of God. I believe, after witnessing what happened in one backyard when one friend told her story, that we all need to start telling our stories.