Written by Holly Madden, Chapter Development Director of LeadHer. Connect with Holly on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

4260762246_235d5261a7_zLast week, I was sitting next to a sweet friend while she fearlessly shared her story. Trauma, pain, and addiction laced the pages of her tender 21 years. As she spoke, I became aware of the scars that covered her wrists and arms: if only scars could remain on the surface instead of penetrating the heart. I could sense that in her journey of discovering hope and healing, she was a still far from the freedom she longed for.

When it came my turn to talk, I felt the sun beating down on my fair skin, my heart began to beat faster as I weighed my options. I could pray with her, invite her to church and hope that her life took a turn for the better, or I could steward this precious gift of time that I had with her and share my own story. We share some similar struggles and emotions, but even though I cannot relate to every piece of her brokenness, I know what it’s like to feel broken, and to find freedom from the brokenness. To miss out on this opportunity to bring a freedom that is personal and authentic would be to fail my friend by not bringing Jesus to her. Oftentimes, it is our own insecurity that blinds us from recognizing the opportunities we are given every day to make a difference. So with that, I closed my eyes, said a quick prayer and I shared my heart, my story and my Jesus.

In a world full of  beautiful stories, it is heartbreaking to me that so many hide, ashamed of their pasts. Every struggle, every mistake, every trauma is a mile marker on our journey to Christ. Our relationship with our Savior is not defined by our righteousness, but by His grace. The best way we can steward our stories is by letting Jesus use them to shed light on His gifts of salvation, grace and second chances.

This month, our LeadHer members are discussing stewardship and what areas they need to work at being better stewards in. The things we have to give are sometime obvious, our money, our gifts, talents, time, and our resources. But sometimes we forget that we also have our experiences, our testimony, and the hope of salvation to give as well. We cannot miss out on an opportunity to be a light because we are too afraid of bringing light to our own darkness. From personal experience, I can promise you that when you share your story, God will use it for His glory.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. ‘Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.'”