I love a good story; it could be a book, movie, magazine article, video clip, email, personal testimony or spoken words from a friend. I was thinking this morning about what makes a good story. I came up with a short list of things that I think need to be incorporated – unique characters & in depth character development, challenges to overcome, laughter, suspense, themes of hope, love and perseverance, perhaps a few tears, and, for me at least, I like a good happy ending.
Then I got to thinking about my life. Is my life a good story?
Am I a unique character? I do try to be a distinctive person. I believe that my mission in life is to encourage with love, passion and enthusiasm. I also think that passionate encouragement and prayer can uplift people and share the joy of the Lord. That’s what PEP UP for JOY stands for (Passionate Encouragement and Prayer Uplifts People for JOY). That mission is right down to my DNA and is beyond any specific role that I have had or do have in my life.
My life verse to go along with this is Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” I try to live this out, some days are better than others.
Are there other unique characters in my life? YES! There are so many amazing and incredible people that God has brought into my life. My eyes are just welling with tears of joy as I type away thinking of them all. There is the awesome Holy Trinity – Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. They are incredible. My husband, Eric, and my children, Andrew and Zoey, certainly are the stars of my life.
Then there are family and friends. I have many, many, many incredible people in my life. Those who have popped in recently, those who have been there a long time, those who have come, gone and come back again, and those who have been a part of my personal history for a season.
My dear, as you read these words you enter yourself as a beloved character in my life. I can not tell you in my meager words how grateful I am for you. You make this work of mine a joy. Your feedback encourages me and helps me to press on. When you “like” my post it makes me smile. You give me such a gift in allowing me to share my story with you.
As I think back on the story of my life to determine if there are challenges to overcome, laughter, suspense, themes of hope, love and perseverance, and tears, I have very mixed feelings. I like the times of joy and laughter. I love to reflect on those times and some of the pictures that have been taken during those occasions. I really savor the love and hope filled times. I do not always have a good attitude about my challenges and the trials to persevere through. I have cried a lot of tears and have spent so much time and energy weeping my own personal book of lamentations.
I think back and realize how much I have sinned, how great my sins are, how many people I have hurt, and the self pity I have so often wallowed in like a pig in the mud. Yuck. That doesn’t sound like a good story. I honestly admit, I have had times where I felt like my life was not a good story at all. There are still times where I feel like the story of my life will fall into the no man’s land of forgotten mediocrity.
Those are times when I need to bask in the God’s glowing grace for a while and soak it in. God’s love can warm and melt my heart like chocolate M&Ms sitting on the dashboard of my van on a hot summer day. The Spirit is so gracious to remind me of my identity, who I am. The Spirit also reminds me of whose I am.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
We are God’s handiwork, we are the fruit of His labor. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13 (NIV).
God loves us. God loves our stories. God loves the story of my life. God loves the story of your life. The characters, the challenges, the laughter and even the tears God experiences with us, every last moment of our stories. He has a good purpose for our lives, to be a part of God’s timeless story. Perhaps that is why Psalm 139:16 (NIV) says, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
I know that God is outside of time and space and all of the human limitations that I face, but what an incredible effort for Him to write all the days of my life before one of them came to be. Can you imagine? I have a hard time being consistent in writing a few sentences in my journal each day, let alone trying to document my entire life. That is incredible! Why would God do all of that? Because His love for us is that great.
That is what people who love someone do. Perhaps you, like me, try to capture pictures of those you love. Maybe you save silly mementos (ticket stubs, postcards, maps, fortune cookie sayings and programs) from things that you have experienced together. You might just allow your gaze to linger upon a loved one as if trying to etch the image in your mind & heart for future recollection. God does that for us too. He captures all of that and more because He loves us.
The lives we live are such a gift. A gift whose value far outweighs the cost of all the challenges that we have had, the circumstances we currently face and the trials that lie ahead of us. I think God wants us to feel His love for our lives so that we too can love the story of our lives.
I wish we knew more of each other’s stories. As you read this, I may know some or may not know anything at all about your story. Reading this may be your first entry into my story. Let me tell you, I’m sure glad that you are here! I’m sure glad that we were brought together, because it allows us to share a message to love the stories of our lives.
Beloved and Amazing Lord,
Thank You so much for the opportunity to bask in Your grace this day. Lord, I pray that we really feel Your love in such a way that our hearts would warm in response. May we experience revelation knowledge about the depth of the love that You have for the stories of our lives.
May that experience bring us to a point where we, too, can love the stories of our lives. May we see Your fingerprints upon our days, and our years , as You craft, mold and shape us. May we be reminded that we are the fruit of Your perfect labor, masterpieces crafted by Your hand.
Lord, I lift up to You each of my beloved readers. Please encourage them in their stories today. Please show them how meaningful and greatly loved they are in very personal ways. Help the blessings that You have sprinkled throughout our days catch our attention by the amazing light that they sparkle with. May we rejoice when we find them and turn to You with great thanksgiving. At the end of the day, may the glory of our stories be completely Yours.
In the grace filled name of Jesus, amen.