Have you ever seen a wound that was left unattended? The wound becomes infected and increases in pain even though the original injury feels light years in the past. Pain left unattended has dire consequences. Physical wounds must be cared for in order to heal.
Equally important are our emotional hurts, which require attention and care for us to move forward as the whole and healthy people God created us to be. Often we push through brokenness — ignoring our hurts only to find we have fueled our injury further. The moment we surrender our hurts to Jesus, He promises us freedom. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Surrender is an invitation to transformation. My new book, “Redeemed: The Power of a Single Story,” is a guide to how our pain, once addressed and cared for, becomes the vehicle with which we are transformed in Christ. Next, our healed hearts and stories of redeemed pain reveal to others who Jesus is and how He loves.
I wrote my first book around 8 years old. I filled my Mickey Mouse journal with stories about my life, which amounted to stories about my family, friends, teachers and my favorite toy, Fievel, from “An American Tail.” I remember wrapping my journal in Christmas paper and presenting my book to anyone who wanted to read my stories. Now, years later, I still feel compelled to write because stories are valuable to God. Our stories are the history of His saving grace in our lives. Stories show us who we are, how far we have come, and the abounding grace of God.
Each of us is called to love and help others. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” Often that call feels larger than our capabilities. Thankfully, every single person has a story. Our stories herald light into dark spaces and reveal that Jesus is real, healing is available, and having joy in the midst of circumstances exists. In every trial of my life, I have experienced the beauty and glory of God! God does not show up at the end of suffering. He sees us all the way through and brings us peace.
“Redeemed: The Power of a Single Story” is a three-part journey of how God uses our pain to transform us, to transform our communities, and to transform His church. Our lives are improved when truth is our shield and stories become our sword, empowering us to instill hope in others. If we have ever doubted how our story might be the encouragement that inspires a community, by the end of this book’s journey, I pray our doubts will be erased. Questions at the end of each chapter may be used with a group or for personal reflection.
Our lives are our witness of who God is and how He loves. Never be afraid to search your life and share your story. Our stories have power through Christ and offer inspiration. God brought us through darkness, and it is our job to help another person find his or her way into his light.
Kristy Hinds is the senior associate pastor of Light & Life Christian Fellowship in Long Beach, California, and a Board of Administration member and district superintendent of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California. Go to freemethodistbooks.com to order her new book, “Redeemed: The Power of a Single Story,” and visit kristyhinds.com to learn more about her and to read her blog.1