I have a story. It's my story. It includes others but it's not their own. I'm a part of other people's stories but their story is not mine.
I cannot change my story. That means the past is a part of me. What has happened, what I've done, what has become of me and my life, my failures and dreams, it's all part of who I am. Some experiences, more than others, have shaped my story. Some have written new chapters. Some have ended others. For all the good, the bad, and yes, there has most certainly has been the ugly, it's still my story.
It's tempting to look back on things with regret or remorse but I don't get do-overs. If I learn to look back at these instances and see them through God's grace, I begin to realize that my life tells the story of who He is and how He is working it out for my good. He doesn't necessarily cause the struggle but He can use it. The struggles are no less than part of my story.
I've heard it said that the degree to which I'm able to share my story is the degree to which I'm able to heal. The truth is I don't have to tell everyone 'all my business' but it also comes as no secret that many of my writings have been my own healing process. In the past few weeks I've found people asking me to share part of a certain experience. Some of them were facing similar challenges. Some of them wanted to know how I dealt with something specific. Yet another person remarked, "I love where you are now." That took me by surprise because without even realizing it, I was able to talk about something so tragic, so painful at the time I was living through it, that I hadn't become aware of "where I am now."
Sharing my experience allowed someone else to hear my story but it allowed me to realize part of the chapter that had been written was the part about where I am now. My story includes God's healing of my broken heart. It tells of the effects of my own sin, other people's sin against me and the freeing of my heart once bound by shame. My story is holy ground - filled with joy and sorrow and sacred territory between me and my Savior. It's my story.
Since that conversation I've asked God to help me see my story with His perspective. Gaining His merciful view on the disappointments and struggles and understanding how these things continue to make me who I am.
With an open hand, surrounded by grace, my only option is to learn, grow and become who He wants me to be. If I pray for God's gracious perspective then I begin to see all of this jumbled up mess as part of the present reality and who I allow Him to be in my life. This is my story. What's yours?