READ TO THE END OF THE POST FOR SOME GREAT GIVEAWAYS & EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENTS!
Past into Purpose Series, Post #16: This series is intended to introduce you to the women on the Your Life Still Counts Contributor Team whose inspiring stories of pain into purpose were selected for inclusion in the book. To read the full inspiring story of each contributor, click here to purchase your copy of Your Life Still Counts and be inspired to allow God to turn your past into your purpose too.
Meet Donna Bostick
Donna lives in Kansas City, Missouri and is a twelve year cancer survivor. She is passionate about helping women see how God can use their good and bad experiences to mold them into a woman who glorifies and honors Him with her life. She volunteers with Proverbs 31 Ministries, leads a small group at her church and serves each summer as Dorm Mom to a group of 3 to 6 year old boys with cancer. Donna is also a contributing author to various blogs, sharing her story of hope of overcoming fear and anger, and also loves to encourage women on her own blog at www.donnabostick.wordpress.com.
My Interview with Donna
What made you want to contribute your story to Your Life Still Counts?
Donna: It was all God. After I had received your email requesting stories for Your Life Still Counts, I forwarded the request to a friend to get her input about sharing my story. Part of me was hoping she would tell me it wasn’t a good idea and part of me was hoping she would say, “great, go for it”. Her response, “You should do this, I think it’s a perfect idea.” So as I hit the send button, I had my Moses moment – with my Moses moment being I’m not eloquent of speech – choose someone else – pick someone else – someone with a better story – a more dramatic, life changing story. Fear filled my thoughts. Fear of rejection. Fear of what others thought. Fear of my story not being impactful enough as others. Fear of upsetting family members. And the fears kept coming and are still coming even as I share this.
You are certainly not alone in those fears Donna. I think most of us think we can’t make a difference “like someone else could”. Thank you for stepping outside of your comfort zone and trusting God! So how has God opened doors for you to do ministry or touch other’s hearts since you stepped out in obedience to share your story?
Donna: God has allowed me to share my story with several friends who share a similar background. He has also provided a way for me to share with a group of high school girls from my church, who are currently experiencing the pain of a broken family, abandonment from their fathers, and experiencing that “un-loved” feeling.
Do you feel God has blessed you in a special way for your obedience in sharing your story and being a part of YLSC?
Donna: The rest of my story includes a story of forgiveness. After over forty years of living in un-forgiveness God brought me to a point of brokenness that provided the opportunity to visit my Dad and forgive him for his anger, rejection, absence, abandonment and what I perceived to be my his lack of love for me.
Do you have one example of how God has used your story recently to impact someone’s heart or life?
Donna: I would say that the biggest impact of my story was on my own life which occurred after I hit the send button. A few months after visiting my Dad and forgiving him, I received a phone call from my sister telling me that hospice had been called in for my Dad and he had been given a week to live. A few days later, I made the 10 hour drive to Texas to arrive a few short hours before his passing. As I entered the room, I leaned over and told him I was there and the last word he spoke was my name. He passed away a couple of hours after my arrival.
I chose to speak and share the message at my Dad’s graveside services, where I shared the following three points: 1- No matter what – we are called to love others. (1 Corinthians 13) 2-No matter what – we are called to forgive others – not one time – not seventy times seven times – but as many times as required. (Matthew 18:21-22) 3- No matter what – we all need Jesus and that if someone was there didn’t know Jesus – they needed to get to know Him. Sooner better than later and if my Dad could find Jesus – anyone could find Jesus. (John 14:6) In other words, I got to preach to myself and step on my own toes.
I’m sure that was so difficult, but it sounds like you shared a beautiful message and what a blessing you forgave him while was there still time. So was there anything about the book that really jumped out to you, from the viewpoint of being involved with it?
Donna: Actually, the chapter my story landed in the book had the biggest impact on me because it was another God thing. You see, my story landed in Chapter 11 of Your Life Still Counts – the chapter on hiding behind masks. You called it a mask – I call it baggage.
I’ve hidden behind my own baggage in fear of failure, being real, and rejection. I blamed my Dad for my shortcomings instead of taking ownership of them. As I read Chapter 11, I realized that I justified my hiding behind the baggage. I needed to get over the doubts and the fears of not being qualified to share my story with others. It’s time to come out from hiding behind my past. Or as you stated in the book, “God is most glorified when we remove whatever is preventing us from shining bright for Him – and sometimes all that’s keep us from our purpose is our willingness to be real.” The mask needs to come off.
We all have a hard time shedding our masks and being real. It’s one of the things the enemy doesn’t want us to do because God will be glorified when we share with others how He worked in our lives and hearts. But it is a game changer when we finally do it. Where is your heart today and what are you most passionate about?
Donna: It’s time to be real. It’s time to shed the excuses. It’s time to come out from behind the baggage. It’s time to shine bright for Him. Time to take that next step of faith, get back to studying His Word, and make knowing Him and sharing Him a priority. I’m passionate about using the gifts that God has given me to bring Him honor and glory. I love to encourage others in their ministries and in their daily walk with God along with sharing their stories with others so that others may come to know Him through their stories.
I know your story encouraged me, and I’m confident that other people who have suffered at the hands of an anger filled person, and carried the weight of their own anger issues, were moved by your story in the book. If you had to name one thing you are most thankful to God for, what would it be?
Donna: I’m thankful for God’s gift of forgiveness and how He calls us to forgive others just as He forgives us. Not only does He call us to forgive others- He gives us the strength to forgive others. It’s in our weakness that He is made strong.
That is a gift we can all be so thankful for Donna. Considering how passionate you feel right now about your faith, has God given you the courage to start something new that is outside of your comfort zone?
Donna: He’s given me the courage to be real here with you and your readers. Honestly, I would much rather encourage others to share than share my story. I struggle with just the thought of promoting my blog and my writings.
He also recently called me to share my story with Cynthia McCutcheon on My Journey of Faith Radio, which was way outside of my comfort zone. I’m usually the one praying for others as they share their stories on radio, not sharing my own. It was a great experience.
And it was a great interview Donna! I’m sure it touched many hearts. So how are you most excited about regarding how God has turned your past into your purpose?
Donna: I’m excited for how God floods me each day – how He floods us each day – with His grace – how He takes our mixed up crazy, messed up lives and turns them into something beautiful that He can use for His kingdom purposes. Just the thought of Him using us to bring others to Himself overwhelms me – what an amazing privilege He trusts us with – to share Him with others.
How might people pray for you at this time in your life?
Donna: Pray that I no longer hide behind the baggage. To focus my eyes on Him and for the desire to thirst after Him – to know Him better. To love others deep and well. To be brave and courageous as I find a new normal with writing and with being real – to find my voice.
If you have ever struggled with anger and unforgiveness towards a family member who hurt you physically or emotionally, be encouraged by listening to Donna’s radio interview at My Journey of Faith Radio. You can also visit her blog HERE.
Donna is so excited about this message of Your Life Still Counts, that she has offered to give away 5 copies – just in time for the Online Bible Study of the book beginning a week from Monday! And don’t forget to mark your calendars for 8:00pm EST March 9th for my free Live Webcast! More details to be provided on Monday.
To enter to win one of 3 free books today, connect with me on Twitter and tweet the message provided. Then check back Monday for a chance to enter to win one of 2 books by sharing on Facebook! So everyone has a chance to win, whether you use Twitter or Facebook or both. 🙂 You can enter both giveaways if desired.
(psssst… big announcement about an awesome money-saving bargain for EVERYONE coming up Monday – stay tuned!)
(if you are receiving this post via email, please visit my blog to participate in the giveaway)