Every Christian’s story is valuable and needs to be told, according to writer and speaker Jackie Hill Perry. In a recent talk, Perry encouraged her listeners to share their stories with others even as she herself modeled the power of doing so.
“I think there’s a lot of fear in being honest about where God has brought us from,” Perry said. “I think sometimes we could be comfortable with people seeing where we are now, not recognizing that there would be so much more fruitfulness if they understood how we got there.”
Perry’s talk was essentially her testimony, but throughout her message she tied the events of her life to truths from the Bible. Her hope, she said, was that her willingness to talk about her own life would help others feel more free to do the same and so glorify God and encourage the people around them.
Perry emphasized that every person’s life is part of a bigger story that begins with Genesis 1-3. The first chapters of the Bible explain that everything in this world is broken and why it is broken. As we look at our own stories, we need to recognize, said Perry, that “When I come into this world, I come in with a problem. I come in it with a heart that isn’t bent towards God naturally.” In Perry’s case, she was born into a family where she experienced a lot of brokenness at a very young age. She said, “My mother loved me well, my daddy loved me sometimes.” The first man to show her anything that approached affection abused her, so she came to see men as inconsistent and dangerous, while she saw women as consistent, loyal, and safe.
Perry realized by age five that she was same-sex attracted. While she grew up going to church, the church was not a safe place to tell anyone what she was feeling. And even though she didn’t want to act on her desires at first, she finally decided in high school that she would.