Sometimes life stops you dead in your tracks and all you can do is tell your lungs to keep breathing. Suddenly the urgent worries of yesterday—what to fix for dinner, how to discipline your three-year-old—seem laughable. You wonder why you wasted sacred precious energy on the non-essential.
And when the story you wanted to live erodes into as a twisted plot you'd never choose, you’re desperate to scribble away reality, to erase with such force that it rips up the pages altogether.
In gut-wrenching moments of anger, distrust and ingratitude, I echo-scream Ann’s words, I would have written the story differently!
And I would.
The conflict that steps in uninvited involves a different cast of characters for each of us. Cancer, addiction, death, mental illness, adultery, suicide, joblessness, a wayward child—I’m more acquainted than I wish with some of these storylines.
Wishing away the plot doesn’t write it away. No. We have to live it, endure the conflict even when the story’s resolution is nowhere in sight.
We’re all writing our stories, telling it with our lives and sometimes with our pens.
And we do that because we’re created in the image of the One who told His story with His life and His words. And even He, perfect and blameless though He was, pled for the cup to pass.
And we do too. I do. Please, God, let this suffering pass.
But it didn’t for Him and it doesn’t for us and for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. And for the joy set before us, we endure too.
We endure because the story really does end happily ever after, even though the conflict and the climax that seem to go on without end, they can feel like hell. But for the author and perfector of our faith, the resolution is always redemption.
And so we have a choice.
We can snap shut the book and give up, choose to be a hapless or bitter victim.
Or we can write our stories with our prayers, fight this battle on our knees. Because as the chapters unfold on this plane, I know we’re merely characters of a larger plot playing out in the heavenly realms and in the depths beneath. The Author tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Living our story with grace and fortitude is not a polite acceptance of sin and suffering. On the contrary, it's a battle. We fight for the strength to press on and we intercede that others may be able to overcome. There was nothing polite about the cross.
And there is nothing polite about the real and raw and redemptive stories we live out 2,000 years later.
But because of the cross, because of Jesus with us and in us, His resurrection strength pulsing through our weakness, we can live our stories well, victoriously even.
And as we live it, we tell it. We’re all storytellers in that way you know.
For a word-girl like me, I know I’ll write my story in some form, even if the readers are just God and me. I know it will be a story of hope and perseverance and trusting in an always-good God, even though the days are not always good. And though the resolution is nowhere in sight, I choose faith...
Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
My story, though one of struggle and heartache, is also inevitably one of victory and hope.
Because of Jesus, hope.
Because of Jesus, joy.
Because of Jesus, redemption.
And if you have Jesus, this is your story too.
Write it with your life and fight it on your knees.
Several days ago, my mom told me that precious Ann was hosting an opportunity for a She Speaks scholarship. I know, it’s the second time I’ve entered for a chance at one of those scholarships in just a month. And honestly, it seems a bit inconsequential at this point, in light of the current state of my story.
I told my mom "thanks," but that my word well seemed to have dried up, right along with my heart...that any words would have to filter down from the real Author. And so they did. And so I wrote. I wrote fast and hard and barely edited; I just wanted to make the deadline. I'm wondering if it even makes sense.
And if it doesn't that's okay. I trust the Author to take my story wherever He may choose. And if She Speaks is what He wills, well, I would be honored.
If you’re wondering what this event is all about, She Speaks is a conference for Christian women who aspire to be speakers, writers or ministry leaders. The conference is part of Proverbs 31 Ministries. At She Speaks,
You will learn how to make the most of your messages, the nuts and bolts of speaking, writing, leading and influencing, and have the opportunity to meet with some of today’s top Christian publishers. She Speaks is not just another conference … it is a true experience with God and a revival in your calling!
-Lysa Terkeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries
For more information on this fantastic conference for aspiring speakers, writers, or ministry leaders, see the end of my post or visit the conference web-site.