Share Your Story

I love reading people’s stories! I want to provide a place for you to share yours. What’s your testimony? Struggle? Triumph? Miracle?

Feel free to share – 400 words or less. Please no foul language, advertising or explicit details. Every so often, I will highlight and share a story on the blog. Remember this is a public forum. My hope is to create a space where we read and share what God has done/is doing in our lives.

Once your story appears, you can share your story by clicking the social media icons below.

So, I want to know – What’s your story?

Canaan

After a great afternoon in Bangor, I was preparing to head home and decided to treat myself to some Taco Bell for the drive. I had $11 in my wallet and headed for the drive-thru to get my fast food fix (I’m trying to be good, not perfect).

As I was pulling around, I saw two people scavenging for scraps in the dumpster behind the restaurant. Their heads immediately dropped so their faces stared at nothing but the ground as my headlights shone on them momentarily. It was obvious they were ashamed. They did have jackets on, but it was still cold outside (in the 30’s). No gloves.

As I rolled my window down on the approach to the automated order box, I asked the man if he was alright. He looked up and said he and his female friend were just looking for some food…hoping there were some scraps in the trash. He then asked if I could spare any change.

I thought for a moment. Luckily, there was no one behind me in the line and I had not yet reached the point where the employee was asking for my order. “If you’re hungry, I’d say we’re at the right place,” I replied to him. “Give me a minute.”

I pulled ahead and, not sure which style of food they preferred, ordered a $5 box from Taco Bell as well as a $5 fill-up meal from KFC. When the order, which came to just under the $11 I had to my name, was handed to me, I circled around the restaurant again and handed the meals and beverages to the man and the woman beside him.

“It’s not much,” I told him. “I wish I could do more.”

Before I could say anything more, his face lit up at the same time his eyes watered. “You kidding me?” he asked. “This will feed us for two days…maybe three if I can resist temptation.” I laughed at that, because God knows I have little willpower.

“Jesus loves you,” he told me. It shook me, because I was going to say the same thing to him. Here I was being ministered to by someone whom I was hoping to minister to. “I know,” I told him. “Jesus loves you, too. I don’t live around here, and I don’t have a home of my own to bring you to, but I will pray for you,” I told him as I began to drive away.

Jesus not only loved, but prioritized ‘the least of these’. No matter their intentions—and whether their situation was partly or completely precipitated by their own detrimental actions, or if they just fell on hard times—it is our job as Christians and humans to love and help people we see in need.

The greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. It’s easy to say, but seemingly impossible to do…yet that’s the decree. And not once in a while, when we feel like it or when we gain some sort of recognition from it…but daily. This kind of selfless love does not always have to be expressed by money or goods…if a smile, kind word, extended hand or hug is all you can offer…it will still make an impact.

That’s what Jesus did. That’s how He lived…and implored us to love the same way. I pulled onto Broadway last night with a destination, but had no idea the journey I was about to take. I didn’t need a burrito, but someone needed a blessing. And I received one, too. Be a blessing today. Let your spirit be moved by compassion for others, not indifference or entitlement. Think of the most selfless thing you can do for someone, and do it

Magigi

I was born on September 14, 1963, Philippines. I’m the oldest of 5 children. I’m the only girl in my family. I have 4 younger brothers. In 1978, my whole family immigrated to Hawaii from the Philippines. I went to high school in Hawaii.

I met my first husband when I was 18. As soon as we had the opportunity to elope so we can have intimacy, we went and got married at the civil court. My parents were very strict and I wasn’t allowed to date which lead me to being rebellious. I only knew my first husband for 4 months before we got married.

I didn’t realize then that he had a drinking and drug problems. When he got drunk he gets very physically and mentally abusive. Our 5-year old daughter told my parents that I was getting abused by her dad. My father was devastated of what he heard. He encourages me to get out of that marriage.

I wasn’t ready to go back to Hawaii because I was in the middle of finishing college. As soon as I graduated from college, my daughter and I moved back home to Hawaii. I was married to him for 7 years.

5 years later, I married my best friend. He was my good friend for 4 for about years and he relocated from England to Hawaii. He is a commercial pilot for United Airlines. He was based in the UK for a short period of time.

Because of his job, he was away all the time and he had many opportunities to meet lots of women. In my eyes, I thought we had a great marriage. He promised me that he will never leave or hurt me. His promise died and he committed infidelity.

He told me he wanted a divorce on Valentine’s Day. That was 18 years ago. I told him I will forgive him for cheating and begged him to stay for the sake of the children. He wanted to be free and see other women.

It wasn’t a surprise that as soon as he moved out from our home, he moved in with his girlfriend. I was so heart broken. He broke my heart into million pieces and it took me 6 years to put it back in one piece.

My girls were still young when he left and so I decided to focus on my kids without complicating their lives further. I dedicated those years of raising two amazing kids. In addition, I serve the church, my Lord with all my heart and I was complete. I didn’t have the urge to date or be with someone. Jesus is enough for me. I am content with my life.

Mary Anne

No Regrets. We all want a life without them. In the fall of 2006, my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and he had never smoked. After many tests lasting an entire day, we met with the oncologist that told us his prognosis- one year. it was in his lymphatic system.

After the initial shock, my husband and I decided to face this situation head on, as we did every challenge in our life. We have four sons and the younger two were in 1st grade and Kindergarten.

How much do you remember about your father when you were in Kindergarten? Not a lot, I have a few spotty memories of my Dad from early childhood. So I made it my mission that we were going to make the most of the situation and create wonderful memories for our children to cherish this last year with their Dad.

My husband had an incredible “glass is always half full” attitude and would respond when people asked about his prognosis, “you can’t ask why bad things happen, when you don’t ask why when the good things happen. ” We told people we were going to prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and plan to be pleasantly surprised.

We prayed to God for courage and strength to lead our family to face the challenges ahead. It wasn’t easy, but sometimes you don’t know how strong you are until you have to be the strongest person in the room. We tried to see the good in the situation. I had been transformed into the eternal optimist when I met my husband in 1995. His glass half full mentality had rubbed off in a big way.

I had been through the divorce from hell in 1993 and had been left bitter and negative. God sent this man to me to love me and cherish me when I had been broken and abused. Now I had to help him see the positive in this- How many people get to know what they will die from and when they will die? How many get to have a definitive time frame to right their wrongs and say goodbye?

He did this in the 16 months God gave him with his disease and taught my boys and I how to live in the process. It wasn’t easy. Every day we try to do our best and when we go to bed at night we thank God for the day and the opportunity to make a difference. If we are lucky enough we wake up and get to try all over again.

Denise

Heaven is real. I say this not just because I believe it, I’ve seen it. The day I experienced it started like any other day.

I was 41 and although I felt pain and incredible squeezing in my chest, as a nurse, I rationalized why it was not a heart attack. By the time I finished my shower, my children, ages 19, 14 & 9 wandered in. One look and they were asking, “Mom, what’s wrong?”

My 19 year old son worked as a lifeguard. He assessed the situation and said, “Mom, you’re having a heart attack!” My knees began to buckle as he called 911. My son wasn’t supposed to be home that morning – his plans changed only the night before. After that, I remember only bits and pieces.

I remember being loaded into the ambulance and giving my kids a thumbs up as I said weakly, “I’ll be home for dinner.” What happened next I can only describe as a gift. Something God knew I needed to see. Something that would bring me comfort 3 years later when I lost my mom.

Back in the ambulance, I remember a paramedic saying, “Stay with me.” I heard, “We’re losing her.” I remember being asked to open my mouth and an awful taste.

Suddenly, I experienced a beautiful, round, comforting light over my right shoulder. I saw an amazing, pebbled pathway and a stream surrounded by green pastures. I could see others waving at the base of the light who looked familiar yet I didn’t know them. I had no fear or pain.

I wanted to walk down the path so badly but the paramedic continued to disturb me and I couldn’t quite get there. Following an admission to the hospital for cardiac care and testing, I was blessed to come home. I was blessed to have no damage to my heart – only an intermittent tachycardia controlled with medication.

Yet I came home with so much more! A firm belief that Heaven is real. A knowledge of where my beloved mother is. God knew when the time came, I needed to know she is safe and free of pain.

I may not always live my life in alignment with God’s will but my experience is unshakeable – even with the bumps, bruises, and disappointments of life – I know without question, Heaven is real!

Ben and Brenda

“The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter” (Psalm 30:5b, MSG).

Throughout life we sometimes find ourselves in scenarios that we never imagined ourselves in. They hurt, they sting, and we wonder if there is ever any light at the end of the painful tunnel.

Roughly three years ago my wife Brenda and I found ourselves walking through some very tough scenarios…totally clueless as to what the other was going through as we at that point in time we hadn’t met.

Three years ago found Brenda battling tooth and nail for her marriage and holding her family together. Three years ago found me daily trying to understand why my wife was unconscious and unresponsive with no real explanation from the doctors and experts.

Three years ago what we had hoped and prayed for didn’t happen… Three years ago life sucker punched us good… Many days found us crying, hurt, and pouring our hearts out to God, wondering why this had happened.

Over time our lives settled into a “new normal” as we individually set forth and relearned to live from what we had become accustomed to for many years prior. Yet the pain still lingered, the why’s still came, and the hope of again finding that place of happiness (whatever it looked like) seemed like a shadow of a dream.

In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (MSG).

God has our back. Last Spring God wondrously worked out the crossing of our paths in His perfect timing. Brenda and I quickly fell in love with each other and earlier this year we were married. I am now a dad to three amazing kids and the happiness that we had both desperately hoped for from that point of brokenness three years prior had finally come to be.

Friends, I’m not sure where life finds you. Perhaps you are walking through the darkest point in your life and you are looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. Please, please, please don’t give up hope! Keep on going! Yesterday’s a closing door You don’t live there anymore Say goodbye to where you’ve been And tell your heart to beat again ~Danny Gokey,

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.

Lisa

When I was young, I faced abuse, physical, emotional and sexual by the ones who were suppose to keep me safe, my birth parents.

I was constantly forgotten about or left home by myself. All they cared about was how to get their next fix. They both abused drugs and alcohol. They were violent.

I don’t remember much from that age, I only know things through talking with my social worker, but I do remember when my father shoved my mother into the tv and it fell and broke, pieces flying everywhere.

My safe place was under the kitchen table, I’d stay there until my father yelled to bring him a beer. For a short time, I attended daycare. But it didn’t last long.

The night I still remember so vividly was when I was four, I was sitting on my mother’s lap, the door busts open, I scream, she screams, I was taken from her and put into a police car, to never see her again.

I was in foster for about a year, but here’s where I know God had a plan.

One of my daycare teachers had been concerned as to why I wasn’t showing up, she asked around and looked into things to find I’d been put in foster care. The thing is, that daycare teacher and her husband, I now know them as mom and dad, they adopted me.

They have been nothing but loving and encouraging since that day.

Fast forward to now, I’m 27, married to the love of my life and we have a sweet little boy, we farm, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. I struggle with severe depression & anxiety. Between talking with counselors and praying, I know my pain comes from my childhood.

I’m not one to use the abuse or pain I went through for sympathy, but I do know that I am dealing with wounds from back then. Abandonment issues, no nurturing, no love, abuse, the list goes on. I want to find healing, I want to smile without having to fake it.

Often times I don’t want to face another day, but by God’s strength and a lot of coffee, I get up and I fight through it. I know He is with me, He was with me when I was young and he is with me now.

As much as it hurts going through this, my hope is to one day see the other side and be able to share my story and maybe help someone. You are not alone.

Tina

“Miracles Do Happen” is a phrase that our family has adopted as our motto! We use this phrase when we face hard times, we use it to give praise to the one who makes these miracles happen, and we use it to remind ourselves of the hope we can only find in the Father.

Miracles happen all around us, but my greatest miracle is my daughter, Emmalee! She is such a special blessing and gift from God. I know many parents say that, but our little girl truly is just that! My husband and I tried to have children for four years with no luck. Until we finally decided to get some help with fertility treatments, and after a year of continued efforts we became pregnant.

We prayed everyday over our child to be born healthy, strong, and for her to grow and learn about the incredible love of God, so she would be used by Him to impact the world around her.

Emmalee was born healthy, but we face a lifetime of challenges ahead. She was born with many different medical anomalies, which has affected her development both physically and cognitively.

Our lives changed drastically, not only were we facing being parents for the first time, but we were also facing how to navigate and understand her disabilities and medical needs. It was daunting, scary, and exhausting, to say the least. When we left the hospital and took our little girl home for the first time, I don’t think I slept a wink for the first six months of her life.

I remember constantly watching her, making sure she was breathing, eating enough, and trying to help her achieve those milestones that most kids are supposed to meet. Those milestones never happened when they were supposed to, and even six year later we are still waiting for her to make those moments happen.

I learned to quickly put the books back on the shelf and ignore the “norms” of how children develop. I had to learn to embrace who Emmalee was and is, and help her to be the best she can be with each day we are given.

This was not an easy lesson to learn.

I had to learn to see the miracles in each day and to look beyond the burden of disability and see the beauty in her abilities! Miracles Do Happen, they happen every day, and Emmalee is proof that our God is a miracle maker!

Liz

June, 2009, I was running outdoor sprints with a weight vest during a training exercise. At the time, I was in good shape and running was a daily activity. This day, I had trouble catching my breath. Later, I had nagging indigestion that wouldn’t go away.

By 11:00 that night, the annoying indigestion had progressed to squeezing chest pain. I called my husband who said, “it’s probably stress” I agreed but decided to drive myself to the hospital to get checked out.

An hour later, the doctor on call came in and said, “Don’t get excited.” “What?” I asked. “You’re having a heart attack.” “No” I said in shock “Yeah” he said. “I almost let you go but there was an irregularity on your EEG I decided to check out with a blood test.”

Many tests later showed I contracted a virus called Myocarditis which caused cardiac arrest.

I later learned that for many, the first symptom is sudden death. A high percentage of virus survivors require a heart transplant. I had a year long recovery that included supervision by a cardiologist, no cardio (a nightmare for a runner) and a variety of tests to monitor my progress.

I made a full recovery with no permanent damage to my heart. All of my doctors declared me a miracle. I’m thankful for God’s protection and even in scary and unpredictable circumstances, He is in control.

God alone directs my life and controls the day of my death. I can trust Him in all things – I can trust Him with my life.