Life is not static. We all have our own manuscript on how we believe life will play out. However, when life changes happen, whether it is inevitable or not (sometime it is because of our choices and other times things just happen), our story must be rewritten. John Sanford, in his book “Healing and Wholeness,” intrinsically states: “Our life must have a story in order for us to be whole. How I translate that statement is, our life must have meaning. We must have a vision of what we believe life will look like.
It is easy when it is a manuscript someone is writing. If you don’t like the story being told you just stop writing it or you rebuild the characters and script. You could build a story without drama or heartbreak, although, it sounds good even in a book or play, it is unrealistic.
Why, is my heart stirred around this subject?
There are two reasons. One, I serve at a shelter where I have witnessed women whose stories have been rewritten due to some circumstance or situation. And I asked myself how does a person pick themselves up and forge ahead. How do you forge ahead after a marriage has ended, loss of a job, loss of a home, or loss of a love one? What does that look like and how can it be translated into a testimony that encourages others? There is one person who stands out in my mind in the scripture which is Joseph. Can you imagine what he thought life would look like prior to his brothers selling him into slavery? Even though, God gave him a glimpse into his future. Joseph still didn’t know how he would get there. Check out Genesis 37, 39-45. Second, I know bad things happen to good people even when they are living for God. Not because of something they have done but because of the world that we live in. A few days ago I was taken aback because I received the news that a young women who recently was married and had a new baby lost her husband in an accident. I couldn’t even image the heartbreak nor the thoughts that were coursing through her mind. Whenever her name was dropped in my spirit I prayed. Jehovah Shalom cover her with your peace; her story has been rewritten.
What do you do when you find yourself in an expected place? For me, I hold on fast to the horns of the altar. It is easier said then done. Because while I am holding on I still must deal with my whys and why not. You’ve been there. When it feels as if life has dropped a heavy weight upon your heart. Have you every seen a drowning person (hopefully, only in a movie)? How they are grasping for a floatation device? From their perspective, it is the only hope they have that will ensure they get that next breath of air. That is what the Word of God does for me.
There are a lot things about this life I do not understand. Still, I am trusting God that out of my hardships and I pray even in yours that eventually good will come. Several years ago, I had a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and her husband made the decision not to have the surgery recommended by her doctor. Believe me, friends and family tried to persuade her to do otherwise. Still, she was adamant about standing behind their decision. I watched her go through radiation treatment, hair loss, and wearing a compress sleeve around her arm because of the tumor’s growth. Yet, that is not what stands out in my mind about her. I can still see her in my minds eye praising God (hands raised) every Sunday. I never heard her say she regretted her choice; not even during the time when it was close to the Lord calling her home. Her story was rewritten. I don’t know if she had made a different choice there would have been different results. But what I do know is that she lived five active years and I watched her faith carry her through. She did not waver. Yes, we may make decisions that may not seem beneficial to us and it may rewrite our story. But I know a God who is stead fast and immovable and knowing that gives me hope. It gives me hope to take the next step, then another, and before you know it I have begin to create a new story.
Sure my story has been rewritten a few times: divorced, financially challenged, caregiver, sickness, loss of love ones, and loss of a home (foreclosure) just to name a few trails. There is an adage that became known in the early twentieth century by James Joyce who alluded to it in Ulysses, 1922: pull up your boot straps.
“There were others who had forced their way to the top from the lowest rung by the aid of their bootstraps”
We as believers pull up our bootstraps, rewrite our story and forge forward through the power of God.