What’s the story of your encounter with Jesus? Sometimes He meets us in a quiet, simple moment, and sometimes He makes His presence known more powerfully. But no matter what the encounter looks like, we’re always changed in the presence of our Resurrected Savior.

Scripture is filled with accounts of Jesus’ encounters with ordinary people, and how He’s changed their stories. But these aren’t just stories from thousands of years ago. He continues today to meet with ordinary people like us. And each time He does, He transforms our stories.

Each of us has a story to share. And now more than ever, during this time of necessary limited contact, we need to share our stories. Each story draws us closer into community and connection. Each story reveals more about who He is. Each story reminds us that God is working in us and through us, even on the darkest of days.

Our church community needed to share and hear these stories in the past few weeks, to be challenged and encouraged, so we engaged in a five-week series called, “This Is My Story.” This was an opportunity for increased community and connection, with each other and with Christ. Each Sunday, we studied biblical encounters with Jesus. And we shared video stories from those in our church who have encountered Christ. During the week, we invited others to share their written story in our digital weekly newsletter.

Here’s one story:

I’ve known sorrow, pain, and rainy, gray days. My husband Mark and I were 32 years old

“I’ve known sorrow, pain, and rainy, gray days. My husband Mark and I were 32 years old when Mark came home from the doctor with the diagnosis of malignant melanoma.

Our daughter Erin was three years old. I remember not being able to go to sleep that night because of the nagging worry, ‘What if Mark dies? Who will take care of me and Erin?’ Then God spoke this answer to my spirit, ‘If Mark dies, I will take care of you and Erin.’ That gave me great comfort, and I was finally able to sleep.

“Mark died two years later.

“The first year after Mark’s death was very hard for me. There was a lot of stress from having to make important decisions, suddenly being a single parent, and the many daily responsibilities of life. What was hardest was experiencing the intense emotions of grief. Mark was a wonderful husband and father, and he was my best friend. That person who loved me, made me feel special, who I could talk to and touch, who encouraged me, who was part of my daily life and knew me so well, was no longer here. There was nothing I could do to change that!

“I’d say to myself and to God, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this.’ Sometimes I’d feel drained of energy, have no desire to do anything, and feel so dead inside. God seemed so far away, as if He was nonexistent. That first year was like a natural disaster had taken place in my life. The second year felt like a desolate time of trying to deal with the great destruction. I don’t know how many years it took for me to grieve, but it was a long time. I had to walk by faith, not by feeling. I had to believe what the Bible says, just because the Bible says it.

“The Bible says that God is; my believing it or not, will not change the fact. (Exodus 3:14)

I chose to believe.

The Bible says that God will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

I chose to believe it.

The Bible says that God cares for me. (1 Peter 5:7)

I chose to believe it.

The Bible says that God loves me. (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10, Romans 8:37-39)

I chose to believe it.

The Bible says that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ (Romans 8:28)

I chose to believe it.

“I’m no longer in that painful and desolate time of my life, but the Bible still says those same things.

And I still choose to believe.”

 

Just like the biblical encounters with Jesus, our stories served as encouragement to each other and insight into who He is. And as we recognized the transformational power of these encounters, we closed our series singing:

This is my story,

This is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long

 

Click here to listen to Cynthia’s story.

          Click here to listen to Temitayo’s story.

Click here to listen to John and Shirley’s story.