Story of Wonder
We learn in 1 Chronicles 16 that telling stories of God’s goodness and giving thanks was at the center of Hebrew worship. The Israelites set aside time to practice gratitude within their worship by speaking of God’s mighty deeds and remembering his blessings, wonderful works, and faithfulness.
We’ve begun asking folks in our community to share their Stories of Wonder at our public worship. These are stories of God working in our midst, speaking, leading, and providing for his people. This gives us an opportunity to recognize and rejoice in God’s powerful deeds, and it also trains us to pay attention to how God might be at work in our own lives. This one is from Bianca.
In a world that’s always changing and improving, I tend to think of ways that I can improve, which just leads to me thinking of all of my flaws. And it usually gets to me and I end up feeling sad and not really worth any attention. Being in a drama program at my school, looks and the way you act are everything, so that doesn’t really help. I think of the way I look, the way I speak, and the way I am. I’m not as smart as others, I’m not as talented, I’m not as pretty. And most of the time I’m sarcastic, but sometimes that just comes off as me being mean. And because I’ve been bullied for a long time, I know how to be mean and I know how it feels when someone is mean to me.
So during service two Sunday’s ago, when the sermon was being preached, I hear these words that stand out. “You are not what other people think of you, because everyone has a different opinion.” And it was an answered prayer. God had really heard me and said to me, “your flaws do not define you, your past does not control you, and negative opinions do not affect who you are. You are my child, and I made you exactly how I wanted to make you, and you are beautiful.” It felt like he was talking right to me. It made me feel special, It made me feel like I actually deserved to live.
And I thought to myself, You are not your past, because you have the power to change, to become better, and to do something fantastic in the future. And I knew that God was, and is, watching over me because he cares for me. He really does care for me and he wants me to reach out to him and ask him for help because if I’m ever not strong enough, he’ll come and be my rock, and he will be strong for me. And he will be strong for anybody because he loves all of his children equally. This brought me up and it also humbled me. It told me that although I need to respect myself, but I also need to respect my peers, and respect God.
Afterwards, I wrote down all of the things I think of myself, the flaws, the bad qualities, and I burned that piece of paper. I then wrote down all of the things I actually am, the good aspects of myself, and I read the paper over and over. It helped me to reflect and think of the ways I can improve. The time after that, I have been noticing some of the things that I do that I have fixed and I’ve been noticing that I am not as bad as I make myself out to be and it has helped me feel better about myself and it’s help me to be kinder.