“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story!” Psalm 107:2
It is with all humility and wonderment that I share with you all how I ended up here, on Episode #238 of Jamie Ivey’s The Happy Hour Podcast sharing all the details of my story. You know God is involved when you did nothing to put yourself there.
Jamie, if you don’t know or haven’t heard, is a must-know, need-to-follow, Kingdom-focused woman I deeply admire. Not only is she a gifted interviewer, but she’s also an incredible writer. Her bravery in writing her book, If You Only Knew, is what sparked a cord in me to open up with my story. Jamie has profound Godly wisdom and a heart for encouraging women to boldly proclaim the goodness of the Lord through their stories. Over the years, I’ve been an avid listener of her podcast, hearing God-fearing women of many ministries that have played an active role in changing my life come forward about some of the darkest crevices of their lives. Never in a million years would I have put my name amongst the admirable list of world changers like Christine Caine, Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore or Lysa TerKeurst, but God must have a wild sense of humor.
I am an unlikely candidate for Jamie, to say the least. It was on my bucket list to meet Jamie, much less be on her show. I often joked with the girls in the office about that dream. But through a random set of story-telling opportunities involving my brother Josh, my testimony ended up in front of Jamie. (Josh, you have believed in the power of God, especially in our story, from the get-go. You whole-heartedly believed that God was capable of performing a miracle. Thank you.) Six months later, I had a phone interview with her producer and as the saying goes, the rest is history (but I’m going to keep sharing the details, if you don’t mind).
If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m not short for words, so after a long conversation, the producer shared that many of their listeners had written in about the topic I share in my testimony, longing to hear interviews on this subject matter. Ellis and I know we have a story to share—it’s a hard story, oh so broken, messy even, but it’s a God story that points a spotlight on the Healer. When the producer said their team had been praying for a woman who would be willing to share her story, I immediately began to cry. I couldn’t be more in awe that the Lord chose this door on this very stage (very large stage, if you will) from which to share it. I don’t have a ministry or a book (although I hope to write a book one day!), I’m a jewelry designer. Doesn’t God know how ordinary I am? But God said, go and tell of The One. He doesn’t always use the most capable, the most talented or even the most likely. Scripture is filled with ordinary people fulfilling extraordinary callings.
At the end of our call, the producer shared some facts about the podcast and wanted to make sure I was fully aware of what I was getting myself into. She informed me the number of listeners are in the six-figure range and more than quadruple that number continue to download the interview throughout the following month. As if I didn’t already feel out of my league, that moment secured it for me. I had some big time praying to do and had some conversations to have with Ellis before we moved forward. There’s a huge risk in being completely raw, in making my secrets and struggles so public, yet I knew in my heart of hearts there is a priceless, Godly value in being vulnerable and there’s a reason He calls us to it. So for the next 10 days we prayed, asked the Lord for discernment and sought out wise counsel. There was an overwhelming response of Yes! Go! And I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am our entire village was on the same page.
Full transparency: a few years ago, I wanted to put our story in a locked box and bury it 6 feet under. I would have never imagined ever wanting to share this story publicly in any sort of manner—small or large. I was shame ridden and wanted to hide it. What the Lord has done in my heart over the last few years is astonishing, though. He removed my shame (He doesn’t only forgive sins but also died for us to live free of the shame—see Hebrews 12:2 and Isaiah 35:4-6) to know that He is highlighted when we "boast in our weaknesses" and see that the purpose of the Gospel is to reach and minister the hurting, lost and broken. Withholding my story would be hiding Him as well.
His power is made perfect in our weakness; so now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. –2 Corinthians 12:9
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. –Hebrews 12:2
All that to say, this wasn’t a quick, light-hearted or careless decision we were making; but the Lord was continuously confirming it. After all, this wasn’t even about me; it was about God -- about His fame, His glory and His overwhelming living and active power! This isn’t my story to share, it’s His story! And my job is simply to be obedient in doing so. Our foundational hope and prayer would be that His beauty would be on full display -- for this story to promote Him, to declare the great works of the Lord and to testify of all His miraculous deeds. Our prayer is for radical heart healing and transformation to occur, for total freedom from sin, for shame to be eliminated surrounding struggles or failures and for revival to burst forth in so many hears in the lives of those listening!
I’ve learned that when we withhold the full details of a story because we want to be seen in a better light, we steal focus from The One who is so very worthy of the complete spotlight. I stand before you, honored to look like a loser for the sake of the Gospel, joyfully testifying of all He has done in this broken heart and wrecked life to proclaim His hope for you too!
Ellis and I divulge because we know that sharing shatters the shame and the power the enemy has over a story in the dark. Couples come to us weekly, it seems, in the midst of similar battles and storms. It's everywhere. The Lord has been gracious to let us play a part in so many stories over the last few years. As heartbreaking as it is to watch destruction unfold in people’s lives, it’s a very God-dependent place to be. Yes, it’s hard walking through the brokenness of life with people, but being up close to see the Lord work miraculously in other’s lives and marriages is amazing and it truly strengthens your faith, too. Our prayer for years has been for the Lord to use our pain, shame, embarrassment and humiliation for a purpose. Knowing full-well that He intentionally and sovereignly takes our biggest moments of failures and turns them into kingdom purposes (Genesis 50:20). What joy! He allows us to be the same vessels of grace and comfort that we once received in our time of need to others and graciously grants us an opportunity to partake in watching the marvelous process of others getting free! What a gift.
God is the only One who can fully change a heart, but we are thankful He can use our story to aid others in even the smallest of ways. These experiences in turn gave us the necessary courage and agreement to go share the details from the mountain tops on Jamie’s show. Our story is one that so many face, but they feel alone, faulty or deserted in the middle of it which is certainly not how the Body of Christ was intended to function. So, we long for this to be different. We want to help remove the sin shock, sin ranking, sin shaming and the brutal sin cycle of bad behavior to help build a safe place where the real work can be done in their hearts between them and the Holy Spirit. Our only mission in life is to lead people to Jesus. I know what it’s like to feel alone, isolated, defective and as if I’m the only one! I don’t want anyone to ever feel what I felt and all those lies the enemy is selling you!
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him. Many, oh Lord, are the wonders you have done; the things you have planned for us. None can compare with you! Were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare! –Psalm 40:2-3,5
So when the Lord clearly asked for me to walk through this open door, with my mom and best friend in tow, we drove up to Austin in late February for my in-person interview with Jamie. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Jamie is so good at her job! Her humor put me right at ease, which I didn’t realize I desperately needed in that moment while hitting on such a grim topic. She exudes grace, sees people through the compassionate lens of Jesus and keeps the theme of the whole interview about Him. I felt like I was catching up with a dear old friend, only we had just met! Thank you, Lord, for preparing the way and for making this tender time so very special.
That being said, it is my honor to share with you what God has in in our life on behalf of Ellis and I. My story is a prodigal story, one of beauty from ashes. God has removed my shame and freed me from it, so I am happy to not-look-awesome in order for God to receive the most glory, praise and fame. He is awesome for what He is capable of doing in a life. When we testify of what God has done in our lives, it proves that God’s Word is true!
How beautiful are the feet of those that bring the GOOD news! – Isaiah 52:7
Originally my episode was suppose to air in May or June, but to our glorious surprise, they moved it up to this week, what!! We know God had His Sovereign hand and perfect timing at work, even though it was a lot quicker than we expected. Today we’re choosing to rest safely in the shadow of the Almighty and are trusting in His ways and purposes.
My prayer is that while I peel back the layers and let you peer inside my personal life, God would use my past pain and current vulnerability to draw you closer to our Lord and to help remove any shame associated with your failure, trauma or wounds; because there is so much hope in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
And she defeated her accuser by the blood of the Lamb and the word of her testimony! –Revelation 12:11
I hope I never get over what God has done in this mess of a life! I’m thankful God allowed me this chance to shed light on a dark topic, a soul-tearing issue that is happening all around us, yet very seldom talked about. I believe the enemy has a field day in its secrecy and anonymity. I am so, so grateful to Jamie and her team for pressing into this extremely heavy but very real and prevalent subject matter. Thank you for taking a chance on me and for flaunting the Lord every step of the way!
Thank you, Lord, for this invaluable and gracious sharing-opportunity and for entrusting us with this God-centered beautiful redemptive story.