One of our routine offerings is called “Life Skills Info Night” where we introduce the program, cast vision for what it can do for our community, and invite potential volunteers to sign up to teach a class or mentor. I remember six years ago, at one of my first ever trainings, we had about 10 people come. I decided to start out by sharing the song, “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson. As the song ended, I invited a Life Skills graduate to the front of the room to share her story. What I didn’t anticipate as she started to share was her emotional testimony, sharing how similar her life feels to this exact song:
When the solid ground is falling down from underneath my feet
Between the black skies and my red eyes I can barely see
When my hopes and dreams are far from me
And I’m running out of faith
I see the future I pictured, slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache
Are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name
In the eye of the storm you remain in control
In the middle of the war you guard my soul
You alone are the anchor when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
…My only hope is to trust You.
These words allowed me to come closer to understanding what she experienced. She expanded even further on the shame attached to asking for help – especially in our community – and how over time, this community lifted her up out of that shame. As she shared, I thought: I didn’t go through what she went through. Our stories are not the same. How could I be of help to someone feeling like this? But as I became more honest with myself, I thought, haven’t I been in a dark place before? Was someone there to lift me up out of the darkness? What about the ones who don’t have someone to lift them up? This is what makes all the difference.
This song has never stopped reminding me of that moment in that small training room, where someone was raw and vulnerable enough to share the dark parts of their story, in hopes that it would bring others along to be courageous enough to journey with others who are in that space.
I’m not asking you to sign up to be a hero. We actually don’t even get to be the heroes. And honestly, aren’t we glad the pressure’s off us? We aren’t responsible for someone else’s change. Only God can do that. But- we most definitely have the responsibility to be the willing agents God uses to give someone a hand and remind them of God’s insurmountable, unstoppable, reckless love. In the process, you might come closer to understanding someone’s struggle, and find out like I did, that we aren’t so different after all.
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