Choosing to Trust the Author of Our Stories in the Midst of Hard Chapters
I recently took a day to put the top down and take some back roads. I love taking in the sights of small town America and imagining how those towns first came to be. Who settled there first, and who keeps the livelihood going. I love old buildings and dirt roads and sunflower fields…all of it. It fills me up spiritually and I’m able to reflect on those moments and noticings for a while and draw inspiration from those places.
I imagine those first generations that came in and settled had a hard time. They had to endure financial barriers and sickness, planting and harvesting on new soil and just flat-out fatigue. I wonder if they were ever tempted to just close the book on their lives and be done. I wonder what kept them going and inspired them to keep turning the pages and moving on in the stories that they were a part of.
These people were working for something better. They were building a future for their children and their children’s children. They were creating changes on their own and having to endure changes that just came with the wind.
It’s inevitable and it’s annoying and it’s beautiful and inconvenient, it’s stressful and it’s welcoming and it’s unwelcome and it’s scary.
Oftentimes changes will take place in our lives that we have no control over. The flip side is that there are sometimes changes that need to come into our lives in which we have a choice about.
This is where it can get sticky.
We may not always like the choices that lie before us. Sometimes we don’t even know what choices we have as we have to close a door behind us before we can turn to look at the other doors before us. Does that make sense?
I believe oftentimes a choice stands before us, one we may not even see yet, and God is waiting for us to simply wet our fingers, reach out, even if with eyes closed, and turn the page.
In Philippians, Paul tells us this…
“…By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
No one is an expert, just move onward. Run…no turning back!
A sweet friend of mine says frequently “God is writing my story”.
Think of your life as a book. It’s unique and beautiful on its own. Like any good story there is joy and sadness. Suspense and intrigue. New characters are introduced and old ones leave. There are stories within the story. Battles fought, some wins, some losses, always a lesson learned.
But the ending. This is where turning the page will get you. You have to turn the page to get to the ending.
That doesn’t mean it always appears to be a happy ending in our eyes. But, it does mean that the Author is pleased with the finished product. That the masterpiece that He created which is YOU (and me) is complete.
Our lives, our stories, aren’t to be tucked away on a shelf to collect dust and stay hidden from the world. They’re a testament to the Author. They are a word of mouth endorsement for others to take interest in and see the work of God and the hope that living a life for Him brings. Even during the moments of the unknown, suspense and sadness, if it’s too much to read that chapter out loud as it’s being written, share it with others once the page has been turned and you have the gift of hindsight to go along with that part of your story.
“God can stun you in hindsight when you discover the careful orchestration of events in your life.”
Remember, those hard times are only a part of you, not the whole. Every story intertwines the good with the bad. You are no exception. But you and I get to choose whether we are going to park ourselves on the negative or just glance there and set our gaze on the positive.
I’ve seen what this Author can do with a willing participant. I’ve read His other works that are scattered throughout history (HIS-story). I’ve seen friends and family make hard decisions that they NEVER regretted. But ask them about the choosing, and they’ll tell you that in the flesh, it wasn’t always easy.
Some days I’m still learning to keep moving and trust. To turn the page even when I’m afraid of what may be on the other side. If you feel this way, you are not alone. This has been going on from generation to generation.
I imagine the people who settled on these lands first had to make hard choices and they had to make them quick. They didn’t always have the luxury to watch a fever for a few days before making the trek to the doctor’s office. They couldn’t watch their crops be swarmed by locust and spend a few weeks contemplating on whether they should burn or just stand by and wait and see. They didn’t have choices in their homes on counter tops, flooring and paint colors to peruse from as they built. They had to move quickly, making split second decisions, not always knowing what the outcome would be for their families as they flipped the pages in their lives.
Look around at how far these little towns have come. You’re living in one now. We have the people who were here first to thank for that. They kept turning the pages in their lives, moving forward, building something for the rest of us to reflect on and be thankful for and continue building from.
When we are given choices, it’s a gift.
Even though making a choice can be excruciating, if we stand by paralyzed with fear, like any good book, we will grow stiff. Cold. Our stories can become uninviting for others who want to be a part of our lives.
Where are you at today? Is there a choice staring back at you that has to be made and you are crippled with fear? Your fingers feel stricken with arthritis and you are unable to move towards that top right corner of the page to move it over?
You’ve been given a choice. Stay on the page you are sitting where dust will collect and the beauty of the words will soon fade, or perhaps reach out with your other hand to do the turning. Maybe you need a friend to come alongside and help you turn your page. Perhaps you need to pick up the book, shake it out and attack that page turning like you never have before.
God is writing your story.
It’s not over yet. The momentum is building and there may be people around you just biting their lip to see what the next chapter of your life holds. They aren’t fixated on YOU, they’re looking to the author. They’ve read His stories before and they know that He never disappoints. Never.
I’m praying for us all to keep moving forward. To view turning pages as a privilege and highly anticipate what God is going to reveal next. I would love to pray for you if your next page seems too heavy to lift. You’re invited to private message me. It would be a privilege to be that friend that helps pray you through your next hard choice.