Stories

Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to a young lady’s story.  I am a lover of people’s stories.  Everyone has come from somewhere, life has happened to them and they’ve landed on a path somewhere with perspective, questions, answers, anger, hope, joy, bitterness…a cocktail of every emotion fills their being.  And their story, is really who they are.  Our stories shape us into the people we are.  To listening to someone’s story is to see past their exterior shell & get into their soul.

This young lady’s story was filled with a lot of pain & hurt, some bad decisions & a whole lot of grace.  And overwhelming hope.  Her childhood felt cold as she was shuffled.  Her young adult life felt lonely, searching for ‘her’ place to belong.  Drugs and shootings.  Doing everything to block the sound in the back of her mind that perhaps she was not worth much…perhaps worth anything.  After all, the characters of her early years certainly sent her this message over and over.  Pregnancy and addiction.  Loss and more loss.   Getting on her feet, to fall again.  She hit the bottom.

And then God.

Through a resource in the city set up to see into the story of her life {& stories of other young women} she was seen.  This ‘house’ looked past her addiction, her poor choices, her bad luck, and saw a young woman who God adores and gave her exactly what she needed to meet Him, embrace her story and see how the ending could be written full of His grace and His mercy and His love.   They met her exactly where she was.  They met her immediate physical needs.  They loved her & her child.  And they gave her the truth that she was worth a lot!  Immeasurable worth!  And she’s learning to believe it.  To live it.

The courage of this young woman to stand before a large group of women and share her story.  To show us her scars and her wounds that are still healing.  So brave.  But what she understood is that her story is not a story of scars, it’s a story of God.  It’s a story not of an unfortunate childhood, and addiction, and loss but a story of the goodness of God who redeems everything.   It’s a story of beauty.  No matter how messy it humanly looks.

For me, her story is a reminder to get out of myself.  I get so into me.  Narcissistic much?  This life, this story of mine that intertwines with so many unique characters is not all about me.  This story that is written every moment…it’s not all about the hard parts of my life.  It’s about the hard parts & what I do with them.  Do I let them fester & grow & ooze ugliness?  Do I look at them & see the way they can be used to show others the goodness of God?  Do i see the brokenness in me and long to fix it myself, or hide it?  Or do I look at it and long to share it so that someone might see the places where God shines through?

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