We all have a story inside of us. Sometimes our stories are funny, sometimes they are painful, sometimes they are filled with hope, and sometimes they are haunting. But, they are there. Whether we realize it or not, we have either shared them, suppressed them, or hidden them.
We are who we are because of them. We say, act and do the things we do because we have been shaped by them.
I want to encourage each of you in two ways with your own story. First, find a way to tell it and second figure out where God was in and in spite of your story. Because I promise you he was there.
Getting your story out can be one of the most important things you could ever do for yourself. But, be aware it may be one of the hardest things you ever do, besides having lived through it. If your story involved pain, please find a trusted counselor to help you. Please do not share your story on social media or with many others before its appointed time. This is a process, it can be very healing, but it needs time and wisdom in order to help you and then to ultimately help others.
Your story can be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison.
This prison could even be your own. Maybe, it is just for your own benefit and that is perfectly OK.
Next, figure out where God fits in your story. This can be tricky, it can also be painful. Maybe you feel violated and angry at where God really was. Maybe you don’t really trust a God that would allow the things that happened to you to happen.
Take a chance and find out anyway. You might be surprised. I have heard some of the most horrible and gut wrenching stories in my lifetime. I am there with you and wonder just where God was. If this is your life, please read The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young. Please go on YouTube and listen to the author’s own personal story and why he wrote the book, before you read the story.
I want to tell you a story.
I know a guy currently in rehab. He is a seemingly hopeless alcoholic and has lost his job and basically his ability to function, unless he is in rehab. Where he is today has been a very long sad process and he has not had any kind of a relationship with God most likely since high school and even childhood.
He went to college, has worked as a professional most of his adult life, went to graduate school, and has done pretty well for himself, at least for his career. He was married for a brief time, but it ended in divorce. He has a couple very loyal friends, a few friends he has lost along the way due to alcoholism, and family who love and care for him.
Yet, here he is in rehab and pretty adamant he will not be staying the prescribed time and saying as soon as he can he will be drinking again, buying his time till his life savings is gone. He feels lost and hopeless and his only escape is alcohol.
Yet, he has no idea what he has been saved from and saved for. He has no idea how many of his friends and family pray for him on a daily basis. He has no idea that God has been there all the while. His one friend from work has gone over and paid his bills for him so he wouldn’t lose his house. His brother-in-law has transported him to rehab while he was unaware in a drunken stupor. The company he worked for kept him on file, as long as possible, until he could get some help.
He literally has no idea just how much God has been present and helped him.
I tell this to illustrate that no matter where we are or where we have been, I promise God was there with you. He never left your side. I cannot take away the pain or shame and deal with the topic of why God allows evil things to happen. But, I can assure you he was with you and is with you.
Maybe that doesn’t even make sense. Read The Shack and watch Paul Young’s video. Go to counseling, get help, get your story out, and look for God in the midst.
Joni Eareckson Tada,who is one of my heroes, has written a book called When God Weeps. It deals with God and suffering. Perhaps this book will help answer some of your deepest questions about where God was and is, in your story.
The important thing is to get your story out, find healing, and most importantly find God in your story and in your healing.
Here are two of my favorite songs. One is by Francesca Battistelli, called If We’re Honest. You can watch it here.
The other is a hymn called Oh, How He Loves You and Me, written by Kurt Kaiser. You can watch and listen to it here.
My prayer is each of these songs helps you realize how important your story is to your own life and how much God longs to be a part of your life, most importantly, that he has been part of it all along.
Blessings and healing to you on your personal spiritual journey!