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We asked a few friends to share their story experiences for our Redeemed study. First up is Ellie Holcomb!

How have you seen God use your story?

I learned to tell my story ten years ago at Young Life camp. It helped so much to write it out. I had the opportunity there to share in front of a lot of people how I was broken and I was in broken relationships and I made terrible decisions. And what I could not believe was, I didn’t have enough time to meet with all the high school girls who were there hearing the gospel that week and who wanted to talk to me—because they were all experiencing brokenness too. And it wasn’t like I was telling them, “I did this right.” It was like, “I screwed this up, but God loved me, and He loves you.” There is something so powerful when we say, “God, here’s all our brokenness, and here’s how You’ve entered into it.” That is hope inducing.

In what ways do you see the gospel reflected in your story?

I learned to tell my story ten years ago at Young Life camp. It helped so much to write it out. I had the opportunity there to share in front of a lot of people how I was broken and I was in broken relationships and I made terrible decisions. And what I could not believe was, I didn’t have enough time to meet with all the high school girls who were there hearing the gospel that week and who wanted to talk to me—because they were all experiencing brokenness too. And it wasn’t like I was telling them, “I did this right.” It was like, “I screwed this up, but God loved me, and He loves you.” There is something so powerful when we say, “God, here’s all our brokenness, and here’s how You’ve entered into it.” That is hope inducing.I’ve seen how Jesus has entered into the most broken and painful parts of my story and has brought healing and hope to my most desperate places. When I was at my worst, God entered into the picture to breathe love and life into me, turning my most painful moments into stories I now tell of His great faithfulness. I’ve seen Him give beauty for ashes. I bring nothing to the table but a mess, and yet He gives me all of His love and turns my mess into a display of His splendor.

What challenges did you overcome in learning to tell your story?

It took me a long time to understand that where there is truth, there is freedom! I spent a lot of my life hiding because I thought the gospel was all about me being good enough and loving God enough. But God, in His kindness, showed me He didn’t come to make bad people good people. He came to make dead people alive people! And that is what He has done in me as I’ve learned to stand up in the truth of my story, even when the truth is painful.

It’s always hard to be vulnerable. It was especially hard for me, a recovering perfectionist, but as I began to share my story from a place of vulnerability, I saw people connecting and responding and feeling more freed up to share their own story.

Recall a time when learning the story of how God worked in someone else's life influenced your faith?

I had a small-group leader who shared her story with me. She grew up in the church and spent a lot of her life feeling guilty for not being perfect enough. She explained that she was learning that if we stay feeling guilty, it’s like we are living as if Jesus didn’t walk out of the grave. That was a powerful illustration for me—that when I let guilt weigh me down, it is as if I’m saying it wasn’t enough for Jesus to die on the cross for me. That conversation with my small-group leader began a road to freedom from guilt and shame.

Why do you believe it's important to share the stories of how God has worked in our lives?

We are wired for stories, and I believe that when we hear stories of how God has worked in others’ lives, it helps confirm in our souls that the bigger story of the gospel is true. I love how Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of The Story of God’s Love for You, puts it. She says, “The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne — everything — to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!” When we share our stories, we get to be a part of telling the bigger story of God’s love for us, and I believe that’s what we were made to do.

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In what ways do you see the gospel reflected in your personal story?

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