Summer of 2014, I was on the way to Arkansas when I felt God telling me, “Brooke, stop looking at your life as one giant test and start looking at your life as one giant testimony.”
~ Summer of 2014 puts me in between sophomore and junior year. Now, sophomore year was a dark year for me; among many things, we had just moved to Minnesota, I had struggled through the volleyball season, I switched schools mid-year and I was told that there was a 90 percent chance that I would get colon cancer and breast cancer by the time I was 40 and there was a good chance that If I ever had children, that I would pass the same gene down to them. All of these things and the buildup of other stresses had led me into a deep depression. In November of my sophomore year, I transferred high schools and through that God taught me more than I could’ve ever imagined. From the depths of my soul, God began to rebuild me, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, and minute-by-minute. I truly believe that it’s when you hit your lowest point that God will begin to build mountains for you to climb. I say mountains, because mountains have valleys, but mountains also have peaks and life has valleys, but life also has its peaks. How I wish that mountains have elevators that could take you straight to the top, but they don’t. Nope, in fact most mountains, not only is it a climb to the top, but it’s usually a steep, dirty, tiring, long, unstable and just plain dangerous climb to the top, but that’s what makes it so beautiful. You have to admit that the peak of a mountain means far more when you can look back on the climb that got you there. You can’t get to the top, without starting from the bottom. I also believe the lower the valley the higher the peak. You might have to come from the lowest point to start your climb, but the lower the point the higher your peak.
Now, I had heard that said many times, but had always associated, “test to testimony” to different situations God puts you in, not with an outlook on your whole life.
~Have you ever sat back and TRULY figured out how you view the world? Our outlooks are constantly changing, as a kid when I would get in a sour mood, my mom would tell me,“Brooke, check your attitude, before responding!” It was only after she said this, that I was allowed to respond, but honestly how different would our conversations be if before responding to someone or a situation we “checked our attitude”? Our outlooks are constantly changing, so it’s important for us to “check our attitudes” often.
As I truly thought about my outlook on life, I realized that my outlook was so consumed with all the bad that I couldn’t even fathom that any good could come from it all. After I realized the need for a change of attitude, I felt God lay something bigger on my heart. “Brooke, there is purpose for what you are going through. Share your story.” Let’s fast-forward to today. I haven’t forgotten what God revealed to me that summer. The motivation that came from those words has pushed me through some dark times in the past few years. It was those very words that reignited a fire within me, during the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, during a spiritual depression and darkness for me. Those words helped me find the courage to write again. There was a poem that I wrote in April of 2014 that speaks more truth to me today, than it did even when I first wrote it. The poem explains the grip that fear has on my soul.
~“They’re all around me, they confine me and control me. They bully me. They’re powerful and binding. They lock me in cold shackles, and there is no way to escape them. They lock me in a box, alone, but I can hear voices. There isn’t enough room to breathe or even to think. They surround me and terrify me. They transform me a little more each day. No one can see the box, so it gets tossed out like garbage. The box sinks with all the other garbage, and there is no room for me to think. Yet the shackles continue to bind me. A box that gives no room to breathe, no room to think, now controls me. An invisible, powerful, manipulative, loud, controlling, and fear driving box. That no one can see. How could something so powerful go so unnoticed? How could something so loud go unheard? Can anyone see the shackles that bind me? Does anyone understand the power that binds?”
The beginning of this month, I once again felt this overwhelming call to share my story, but fear and doubt crept within me and paralyzed me. I started coming up with excuses left and right, of why I couldn’t possibly share my story, then God fired back at me and said, “No, Brooke you will share your story.” About this time my Bible teacher asked me to start writing a blog, recording my journey and as soon as I walked out of his room, I knew with out a shadow of a doubt that this was God saying, “Brooke, share.” If I’m being honest, that was about 3 weeks ago and this is the first sign of me sharing my story. Fear is truly paralyzing, but I heard this quote this week and it moved me, “I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.” I know that there are friends and family of mine who are reading this blog, who don’t agree with what I am saying, but the fear that paralyzes me today isn’t the fear of being judged by man, it’s the fear of being judged by God and that fear moves me to write this blog and share my story.
~Romans 8:15 “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
So, I’m going to start writing more regularly and I hope you tag along for the journey.
~”I’m no longer a slave to fear, I’m a child of God. I find it so ironic that we live in a place where we are so blessed with so many freedoms, yet all too often we choose to remain a slave to our fear. There are so many things, great things that we want to do, that we are called to do, that we never actually walk in, because of the fear that holds us back. But, if I can offer up a reminder today, when Jesus Christ died on that cross he did not free you, so that you would remain a slave. And, although the freedom is here, that doesn’t mean that we don’t still walk around with the chains, with the shackles, that are hanging from our feet, but Jesus died to break every chain, Jesus died to break every yoke, Jesus died so that we would be free to give our allegiance to Him and Him alone.” Kyle Dendy
~ Yes, the words from this sermon, spoke to me profoundly, but what really set these words apart for me in my current situation is that Kyle Dendy is a guy that I went to elementary school with and he now is a preacher, author and founder of One Generation Under God. A guy that I was in fifth grade with, decided that he was going to take off the shackles of fear and proclaim the victory of Christ boldly and confidently. If Kyle can start his life of impact now, then what is stopping me? What is stopping you from boldly and confidently proclaiming the good news of the gospel? If you want to check out Kyle’s insanely impactful sermon here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAr8gD6jiwc. He starts preaching at 25:10.