I am in the middle of writing a book all about story, so I am a little timid about sharing thoughts about story here. I’m new to this “formal” author gig, and I’m learning things every day. Craft, proposals, and pitches are words I’m soaking in lately. I’ve been working on a pitch for my book or what most call an elevator synopsis, and it’s not as easy as you might think. I don’t want to give too much away (and this is not my pitch), but the book is about my story and your story and how all stories are for His glory. And while I would like to stay away from writing much about story and glory, the recent events of my story have got my heart in all kinds of knots.
This year’s chapter of my story has proven to be a page turner, and we still have more plot twists coming soon. I’m tempted to skip ahead. That’s the funny part about life though; you don’t get to skip ahead. I’ve spent the better part of adulthood learning to be okay with some hard parts of my story. I’ve come to know deep in my soul and my spirit that all parts are indeed beautiful and glorious. It used to take getting on the other side of the story and several years of processing for me to be able to see the beauty, but my perspective has changed. I sit in a much different place than ever before.
When I used to spend time wondering and fretting about the next season or how to move on from a hard season, now I sit KNOWING that the Lord will be near and His glory will come ~ His beauty and goodness will shine through. This I know. Don’t get me wrong. The unknown is still anxiety producing and often confusing; but what is known is far more essential and beautiful.
So when I think about what is written in this last chapter and what will be written in the months to come, I am confident my God is near me. He knows and has always known.
This year has been full of surprises for me and my people. I started a new schedule (which will be changing again). I never dreamed that Ross would have a new job or that I would have 2 months plus of severe myopathy. I never considered how deeply my family would be affected by all of it (a house full of intensely emotional little women). It never occurred to me that we would be struggling with the way we meet with the Lord and His Bride. That is just this year so far. (He wrote other stories during other years that are still unfathomable to me some days.) This Fall will bring some more plot twists that I honestly would not have hand-picked to be a part of my story.
But this I know ~ I love and trust my Author and He is good. He has never failed, never forsaken, never hurt. He is full of love, goodness, beauty, kindness.
I’m pretty sure that no one get to dictate most of their story. And I know from experience that when you try to write it yourself, He will do a red-pen lettering job that will embarrass you to your core. (If you have never had someone take a red pen to your writing, it’s worth the brutal experience.)
There’s something else in all of this that is really important. Not only are you a poor author of your own story, you are also a poor author of other’s story. Their story has glory and goodness, too. Their story is intricately woven into His glory too. I am so much more comfortable with other’s stories than ever before. I feel little need to intervene. (Side Note: Remind me I wrote this when I have teenage daughters. Every time I say something like this, I think about having teenage girls and I want to take it all back.) I feel little need to influence anyone’s story further than what the Holy Spirit leads. This is HUGE growth for me. I spent most of my college years trying to write my own story; I then felt the need to control other’s so that mine would work out as I planned. BIG fail. HUGE. The Lord was mighty and kind to make it all beautiful, but I sure hurt a lot of people along the way. The days are sad when I think about the parts of their story I wrote that ended up being some of their hardest parts.
I am much more content allowing Him to write this story than I’ve ever been. Enduring pain and watching my family endure life with me is not a chapter I ever want to read again, but I know Him to be faithful and good. The intimacy we have all known with Him and one another is something I could never craft on my own. Just thinking of the next plot twists make my heart ache, but I know that there is a story being written far beyond my own understanding. It’s not just my story either. One of the most humbling heartaches is knowing that the Lord is writing your children’s story as He writes yours. I wish I could spare them some of the plot lines and twists, but their story is being written by the same award-winning, best-selling Author.
I think I’ve decided that being present in the story may matter the most. Isn’t presence what produces intimacy? When I think about Paul and all of the affliction that he suffered, I am always struck with how present he was not only with the story but also with the Lord. Have you ever driven home and not remembered how you got there until something scary happened or read a book so fast that you’re not sure what you just read until you get to a really good part or hard part? Yeah, I’m not doing that any more. I’m showing up for this story. I am embracing it as much as I know how. ‘Cause I know the Author, and He’s the best in the business.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10