I AM NOT MY STORY
by Jessika Fuhrmaneck
“Your story matters.”
At Treasures, we say this often and it is true.
Our stories are what inspire others and bring them hope to keep moving on when they don’t have an ounce of strength left. More than once I have been able to put one foot in front of the other because someone I loved and respected had walked a similar difficult path. I took knowledge and wisdom from their story and it changed mine.
It takes a lot of courage to share a personal story. Even telling your story to an audience of one can cause your hands to shake and sweat. To me, story telling is beautiful courage.
It took me years to get to a place where I was willing to share some of the things that I had experienced in life. Others sharing their story and being accepted helped me to see that it was safe to tell my story. Little by little I revealed my story. First to one trusted friend, then to a small group, then to a large group, and eventually even in writing as part of Treasures, a global platform. I was set free from shame by doing this. Not everyone is called to share in this way, but when we are we know it and can sense it is the right choice.
I could not have safely shared my story without first going through a season of recovery and learning who I am in God. When a story is shared there is often someone who criticizes, pities, or says things that aren’t helpful. Until I was strong enough to accept that God’s voice and opinion is louder than all the others I wasn’t ready to share.
There is no hurry in sharing our stories. First, we have to experience healing before we can help others heal. In order to be safe counsel for others I first have to understand my own shortcomings and my own pain.
About a year or so ago I started to feel a little resistance when someone asked me to share my story. I realized that I felt ‘identified’ by what had happened to me and the choices I had made. I was getting to a place where I wanted to focus on the future not the past. I sat and thought about this for months and I want to share with you now what I believe the truth is about our stories.
I am not my story.
My story is something that happened. Good, bad, ugly, beautiful, and victorious – it happened. It is still happening. In five years I will have a new story to share, more victories, more blessings, maybe even more trials and hurts.
But I am not my story. I am not defined by my past.
I am Jessika.
I am beautiful. I am loved by my Father. I am honest. I am courageous. I am intelligent. I am a good communicator. I struggle with addictions. I have a heart for hurting people. I paint, I sing, I dance, I write. I am a mother, a sister, a friend. I am so many things – but I am not the story of my past. And there are more stories in me.
I went to a conference and heard a woman share about a dream that has not yet come true. This testimony spoke to me so deeply. I prayed a couple years ago for God to show me my purpose – keep me on my path. He made it so clear to me that I was called to marriage. I’m just not called to the single life. I know this in my heart. But I remain single. I have dated several varieties of men over the years and have not met someone I would be in a serious relationship with. My temptation has been to keep quiet about my dream. Not talk about this part of my story because I have no evidence whatsoever that is will ever come to pass. Sometimes I don’t want to even get my hopes up. But this speaker encouraged me that I do have a testimony right now. My testimony is that I follow my Father wherever he asks me to go. I follow Him before a husband and I will follow him when my relationship status changes. This is part of my story.
You have a story. A testimony of what has happened to you so far. You also have a story about what will happen soon. The dreams God has placed in your heart so that you will carry them out on earth. So that you can bring hope to others.
Your story is important, extremely valuable, and we need it. It is a part of you, and it can be a tool to reflect God’s face to others, but it is not your identity.
I dare you to share your story with a safe person… even if it includes hope for things that haven’t happened yet.
I remember when a friend of mine publicly shared her struggle with conception. For years we prayed for her to have children and now she has 3 beautiful children that bless my heart. She had a story even before those children were born. It was a story of hope and courage and faith in the midst of seeming impossibility.
I hope you spend some time this week thinking about the part of your story that hasn’t yet come true. I hope you have the courage to find someone to tell your dream to. You can ask them what they are hoping for. We need our friends to believe with us and for us.
I hope you dream dreams with your friends and loved ones and keep making new and beautiful stories.
Jessika worked in the adult entertainment industry on and off for 12 years. She is a survivor of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. She encountered Treasures on one of their first outreaches to her club in Hollywood. In 2006 she left the industry for good, and in 2012 began to receive care, support, and mentorship from the Treasures team. She eventually became a member of the outreach team and now sponsors women through the Celebrate Recovery program. She was Executive Director of Parenting Across Communities from 2009-2013 and spoke at workshops across the country. She has written some curriculums on varying subjects and is a contributing writer for several blogs. Jessika has spoken at church’s around Los Angeles giving her testimony and focusing on recovery and codependency in relationship with an addict as well as how to understand your value in God’s eyes. She has shared her story for several events for Treasures Ministry as well as at some local churches and in video testimonies. Jessika is an active member of the Pastoral Care Team at her church as well as a Department Member of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. She is also a certified facilitator of the Strengthening Families and Communities Curriculum. Topics Jessika Speaks On: -Recovery -Women’s issues -Navigating relationship -Codependency in relationship with an addict -Finding your purpose Request Jessika as a Speaker