I grew up going to church with my best friend Callista. She pointed me to God from day 1 and I learned so many valuable things from that. Growing up this way, I always heard the bible stories, I always attended church, and I volunteered till my feet hurt. I am servant hearted for sure, but that came with its own set of problems. Being so involved in my youth group I heard lots of other people's stories. To me, they always seemed "deep" and "life-changing" which was cool to hear but led me to a place where I felt as though they were more important than mine. I compared rock bottoms in others' lives to my own story and decided that my rock bottoms were a lot "easier" to handle alone. That there were people out there who needed the support amongst my youth group more than I did. So I suppressed my story inside. Now sure my life wasn't bad, but it also wasn't perfect either, I mean who am I kidding no one's life ever seems perfect does it? Many leaders challenged me through this time in my life to share with others what was going on in my life but the struggle proceeded for along while. I told closer friends what was going on in my life eventually but I still had an internal focus on my life and was not willing to let certain things be shared with the world.
A lot happened leading up to college but for the sake of this story lets just say I got my mind focused back on the Lord for the wild adventure that is college. I knew that although God didn't seem to be showing up at the time that He was still there. My Freshman year in Chi Alpha challenged me to create a more personal relationship with the Lord. Just me and Him, no outside sources to get me to Him. This was truly transformational as I can say I had been walking alongside the Lord but now I felt as though I could truly walk with Him. God every day that year opened my heart to who I was as His child. Who I was made into by Him. He challenged me to own up to myself as me Taylor Rose Stockman, the one who is passionately serving a loving God. A God who loves more than anyone could ever grasp. Although I was growing, sometimes when you take a step forward the enemy likes to try and push you five steps backward.
My Sophmore year I stepped on to leadership in Chi Alpha. This was terrifying. Remember when I said being servent hearted turned into a set of problems. I spent so much of my energy that year pouring into others that I completely neglected myself. I grew bad eating habits like missing meals, over-scheduling my life, trying to people please, etc. But God, yea He's got me, hit me with a pile of conviction. It is here that I want to emphasize it was CONVICTION NOT CONDEMNATION! All my life up unto this point I had always struggled with condemnation. When I was challenged I took it personally. But God transformed me, He taught me this year that His conviction comes with a want to see me be a better version of myself and His conviction comes with love. So to get to the point of my story here to lead comes with vulnerability, to share the Gospel comes that vulnerability.
One of my favorite lines from a sermon I have heard recently is "God wants you to share the Authentic version of yourself with ALL & Share the Vulnerable version of yourself with ME (and some but not all)" For me though in my season of life my Junior year (this year), the second year as a leader, God was calling me to be vastly vulnerable. Going to first Wilmington (Sophmore year), then Paraguay this spring break, and leading a wonderful group of Girls and sharing the Gospel with my family at home meant I needed to be Real, Raw, and Rich with my words. God had been calling me to speak out about what HE has done in my life.
In Paraguay as seen in the picture on this post, I shared my testimony. I shared over and over again what God had done in my life. Each time I shared, new lessons were revealed to me as I allowed the Lord to use me. The selfless person I am going into it thinking I was sharing all for other people to hear. But in turn, I learned more about how God has worked in my own life just as well from just the simple "opening my mouth". I'm the type of person that wants everything that comes out of my mouth to be true, and the cool thing I have learned about my story is what's more true that something you know you lived through and you know God transformed? Your story is yours! It is what God has done in your life to make you the best version of you!
I would say if you take anything away from this. Or only read this bottom section of the page. I want you guys to truly believe that there is so much power in YOUR STORY! There is so much power in what the Lord WILL do in the lives of others who you share your story with. And the most important lesson I learned from all of this! That whatever you went through is not up for comparison for "man". What you went through and what God transformed you from, is to be spoken as a testament to who the God we serve is!