Share Your Story

My story is just one of many that testify to the faithfulness of the Lord.  I would love to invite you to post your story (or stories) about hope in the comment section below.  It would be a tremendous encouragement to me and a wonderful example to those who are desperately searching for a beacon of light in their own storms.  Write about what hope has meant to YOU and then pass it along to someone who needs to hear it.

Ready?  Set?  Testify!



3 comments:

  1. Cassandra VouriotisFebruary 24, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20). For almost two years I prayed day after day, multiple times a day, for this “joy” that Christ promises us. Jesus says we can have abundant life in Him, but how in the midst of self-hatred, self-pity, self-harm, self-depravation, and the other negative selves, was this “joy” possible. I hoped every day for my sickness to go away. I prayed to know God more. I prayed to be free. I prayed to be healed.
    I grew up in a Christian household, a place where my parents brought my four siblings and I to church three times a week. There were seeds planted early on in my faith and I gave my life to Jesus at a young age. Then when I was five years old my parents divorced. Setting my family up for some different circumstances, while there were conflicts I remained really close with my siblings. As I grew up, the peer pressures of life took hold of me. It was hard to go to a youth group by myself, so I didn’t. I went along with my mom to church on most Sundays, and my faith became a Sunday-to-Sunday thing. By my senior year I was overwhelmed with changes, I had to pick a college, I would be moving to Pennsylvania after graduation, my dad would be moving to Florida, and I would be leaving all that I was familiar with. My family really encouraged me to go to Messiah College, but I was in a state of rebellion. In my rebellion, I went off to a college unfamiliar to everyone, even myself.
    From my senior year to my first year of college, I developed an eating disorder. Consumed by self-hatred, overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, and insufficiency, my eating disorder masked the turmoil I felt inside. I was angry, depressed, and lost. I had been trying to control everything in my life and I failed miserably. At my lowest point, finally after everything else failed (drinking, smoking, boyfriends, compulsive exercise, an eating disorder), I turned to God. Little by little I surrendered more of my life and myself to Him. And you know where he brought me? He brought me to 45 days of treatment at a Christian treatment center and then to the one place I had rebelled to go all along…Messiah College. It took two years after my treatment for me to be fully freed of my eating disorder. Everyday was a fight to replace my unhealthy thinking and behavior with Christ’s thoughts and attitude. Depression burdened me throughout that time, some days stronger than other days, until my final healing came through a powerful prayer following chapel at Messiah College. It was exactly what I needed, what I had been praying for the last two years. I call this prayer my “God experience” because God knew exactly what would speak to my heart and He used the most powerful thing to heal me: prayer. In all my mistakes and failures, ups and downs, good choices and rebellious ones, God was and still is refining me. God is perfecting us day by day. He is refining us in every trial, in every day, in every moment, in every tear, in everything that seems to go wrong, God is perfecting all things. I pray that as you read my imperfect story you grow in your understanding of Christ’s perfect love. If you are drowning in your circumstances, we have hope. If God can still love me despite all my failures, He absolutely loves you.

    -Cass

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  2. Testify! to His Grace (part 1; be sure to see part 2!)
    I am 22 years old, and I recently had a trial in which I had the pleasure of seeing God at work. It started out as a matter of chance that landed me in a serious situation.
    On December 2nd, 2011, at 10:45am I dropped down 12 feet onto cement in an attempt to escape work… I was working on a hatch door for an Icing Wind Tunnel at my company. This wind tunnel is mainly housed outdoors in a fenced enclosure, with only the test section remaining inside the main building.
    That Friday was particularly chilly as I headed outside to take some measurements for a door I was re-designing. I had just purchased some lumber and was about to begin on this project by making the initial cuts just after I checked my measurements. The door closed behind me as I exited the building, and I thought nothing as I headed to the hatch door location. However, when I attempted to re-enter the building I realized my dilemma, the door was locked! Having been out that door before, I didn’t know it could lock; it had always been open. But now I had a bigger problem. How could I escape this fenced enclosure before I freeze while trying to bother someone else with my problems.
    First of all, with the company’s adjusted work schedule, employees are able to work 4, 10 hour days and thus have Friday off. Much of my department takes advantage of this, and so my end of the building is pretty deserted, making ‘help’ hard to come by if I were to wait for it. Second, I did have a phone, but with no numbers of those inside, and I could not recall the number of the company front desk. So I took my problem into my own hands thinking, "I'll just hop this fence and walk back in the door that I do have a key to."
    Although I escaped the 12 foot fenced enclosure just fine, and I made it indoors, things didn't go quite how I imagined. Problem was, “walking” indoors wasn’t as easy as it sounds. It sounded more like, “AHH! *inhale* … AAAHHH!! *inhale* … AAAAAHH!” It turns out, upon my landing, I really did a number on my foot. I was able to get some help, and I was promptly driven to an Urgent Care center to get an X-ray. The X-ray clearly indicated that I had a major fracture in my right calcaneus, that is my heel bone. I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who issued a CAT scan for me, and upon further examination he explained that I had a complex break in my foot, as if it were shattered. Fortunately for me, surgery was recommended and available. However, due to the issue being a Worker's Comp. claim, I wasn't getting surgery until two weeks later.
    It was at this point that I was quickly realizing the gravity of the situation, this was a life changing event. I mean, I had been banged up and bruised before, but this was different; I wasn't going to just bounce right back like before. There was a chance that something might not heal right, or there would be complications with the surgery. Yet fortunately again, I had a good doctor. However he cautioned me, he wanted me to understand that there is a chance that I may walk with pain for the rest of my life, and a greater chance that I may never run again. That was news to a 22-year-old, former cross country runner, "Never run again??" These words settled heavy on me.

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  3. Testify! to His Grace (part 2)
    The surgery came and went, it was an experience. Through this whole process I made a point of staying upbeat and positive, I wasn't about to let this bring me down. Despite the odds, I prayed that God would heal me quickly and that I would be able to run again. The surgery went well, and I was pleased to see a rapid recovery early on. Ever since the accident I was on crutches and was pretty immobile for the greater part of two months, completely non-weight bearing on my right foot. At the beginning of February I was allowed to start walking again, yet walking was no easy task. Yet again God was good in providing rapid healing. I used a cane as I gingerly moved about for a week. Then after setting the cane aside I was able to move alone, but again at very tedious and careful pace. Though my balance and stability were exceptional in my left foot after being on crutches for that length of time, my right foot had no coordination whatsoever. Weeks passed as I went back and forth between physical therapy. And during this time, I reflected on how difficult it was for me during those non-weight bearing months. I had a whole new appreciation for those in handicapped situations. I have come to a conclusion that a reason God allowed me to go through this experience was for me to build compassion for those who are not fully capable, but still fully human, fully person. It reminds me of the movie, "The Boys Next Door," a well written film about individual who are more than they may seem to be. It was in mid-March when I began walking like a normal person once again. Only a month and a half from being off of crutches, and only 3 months since the surgery. The therapists and doctors alike began making many comments about how far ahead of the curve I was on the road to recovery. To God be the glory. I continued to go to therapy, though I could walk, I could not really jump or balance or do any strenuous activity for over an hour. After much strengthening and massaging, I ran for the first time on a treadmill at the end of March and went for a three mile run again on the 31st. Though I was so pleased that I could do these things, the after effects still were a problem. After running, my ankle would flare up and hurt quite a bit. A different doctor recommended not pounding so strenuously on that foot, due to the fact that it takes a good 8 to 12 months for the periosteum to heal, that is a coating around the bone. So I am currently regaining strength and balance and plan to start running again in mid fall. But thanks be to God that he has blessed my body in quick healing, my doctors with skilled hands, and my therapists with cunning intuition and insight. I have truly experience the hand of God working here. I made a full recovery on an injury that no one is expected to make a FULL recovery. I'm living proof that miracles ARE possible. And by the way, I still have a goal of running a marathon some time soon.

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