This week, the Fellows had the opportunity to share our life stories in our Bible study groups. The purpose of this is to know and love each other better by understanding our backgrounds. The most important thing that I (Maripaz) have learned through the process is that it is not our life story, but Jesus’ story in our life. It can be intimidating to open your heart to people whom you have only known for two months, but something transformational happens in our hearts when we are vulnerable.

I struggled at the beginning to open up to others because I was afraid of judgment or rejection. However, the Lord has taught me about the spiritual discipline of submission. Submission not only means self-denial and serving others but also allowing others to help you carry your burdens. We are reminded of this in Galatians 6:2 when the apostle Paul says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” I’ve been reminded that my story reflects Jesus’ grace through my brokenness, and the Lord has given me a community where I can rely on others and open my heart.   

Our Fellows community is not perfect, but I can say that the perfect love of God flows through us. I have seen God working in Class 18 beautifully, uniting us in our vulnerability. Everyone’s experience sharing their life story was different, but the Lord moved and worked in all our hearts. He opened our eyes to our common humanity, and we saw that no one is perfect and we all have lived through trials. This truth breaks down the lies the enemy puts in our minds: we are alone, no one will ever understand us, or we are not loved. By sharing our life stories, we got a bigger picture of what we have been through, which made it possible for us to love and be loved in a profound way.

The Lord showed up in my life during this week, allowing me to experience the true meaning of grace. I have seen His hand rebuilding my heart, His paintbrush doing a whole new art piece in my life. My testimony is a tool of God to make others see His grace in progress and encourage others to surrender to His love, the only place where we will find true satisfaction. When I invite Him to examine my heart (Psalm 139:23-24) and I confess the sin in my life (1 John 1:9) He forgives me and offers me an undeserved place in His Kingdom, along with my brothers and sisters in Christ. 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 

Maripaz Sandoval Cascante
San José, Costa Rica