“See, healing comes through story.” Our youth pastor, the speaker for the weekend, halted his pacing back and forth across the stage to let his words sink in. “People aren’t moved until they hear the Story. So share your story!”
I thought about that for a long time after he had moved on to other points. The truth of his statement resonated with my spirit like it was born there, and I’ve pondered those things in my heart ever since. Share my story? Which one?
I could open up about childhood abuse, talk about the way I lived for years believing I had caused my father’s death, recall the times I almost died, share the words that were spoken to me that pierced my heart and set the stage for a lifelong fear of rejection. What good would that do?
But then I remember that those things aren’t the end of my story. They aren’t even the middle. They were only the beginning, and much has happened since then. Much that has changed the course of my life and set it toward much clearer skies.
Perhaps the story our youth pastor means for me to tell is what God has done with the life of a girl beset by so many obstacles at such a young age. It isn’t the hell I’ve walked through in shiny white Easter shoes that people need to hear about. It’s the healing that has come because Jesus is very much alive and God is always good.
My story isn’t over. I can tell it from the beginning, and sometimes I do. Sometimes I start in the middle and work up to the present. Wherever I start and stop, God is there. And it can be pretty hard to explain how God was there the day my childhood innocence was ripped away or when my daddy was lowered into the earth and I thought it was my fault.
It’s hard to explain because I don’t fully understand it, either. But I believe with my whole heart that God truly is good, and that He is always for me. He is the author of my story beginning to end, and only He fully knows the reasons behind what has been allowed to befall me. I can remain stuck in that little blue dress with the white lace collar, or I can trade it for something much more fitting for a girl heading for Heaven.
So I tell my story, which is really hundreds of small ones all held together by time, me walking through each one in its moment but never alone. I tell it in pieces as chances come, and always with the focus being a redemption I am hard pressed to word. Always with my eyes on the God who created me and who alone holds the right to allow what He wills.
I can’t make it all make sense, but I can tell it. And I can always, always end it with hope.