What's your life story? Is it a tidy, neatly-packaged one? Has it been characterized by everyday ups and downs, everyday sins and redemptions--a little too much pride here, a little too much anger there?
Was it somewhat or wholly tragic? Was it downright ugly and shameful?
I don't like my growing-up story, but things could have been worse. They could have been tragic, instead of just sad. Compared to vulnerable girls in third-world countries and what they have to endure, I had a blessed life.
But I've always felt less than, when I compare myself to people with a good story. Jesus and His grace help me fight this feeling, but it never entirely goes away, except during times of deep, at-His-feet worship.
A good story is when Mom and Dad love each other and stay together, and there are no shameful secrets in the nuclear family.
A better story is when Mom and Dad love each other, are Christian and stay together, have no shameful secrets, and raise up a crop of good Christian kids.
The best story is when Mom and Dad love each other, are Christian and stay together, raise up a crop of good Christian kids, and altogether, the family makes an impact on the world for Jesus.
The bestest story ever is when a legacy is built that honors God and passes godliness to many generations, through intentional God-clinging practices.
Many of the people at my church have a good story; it's your typical middle-class church of 150-170 people, with one very rich couple in attendance. While I like most everyone, I often feel like I can only relate to about 3 families. These three families? We understand each other. We don't waddle in sorrow or keep our heads down. We don't count our curses, but our blessings. We aren't marked with a scarlet letter, so no one knows our stories. In fact, we only stumbled upon each other's story by chance, not design.
People with good stories don't know what to think about sorry-storied people. Should they pity us? Should they stay away from us? Should they act nonchalant, as though nothing shocks them? My impression is they don't know what to think or feel. They've never been through such territory, and it's easy to assume their own intelligence and level-headedness kept them straight. A default reaction might be to place blame somewhere as quickly as possible, or to look down upon the story and it characters.
Some people struggle with pride over their good story, and others struggle with shame over their sad one.
When the shame of an ugly story grips me, do you know what the Lord speaks into my soul?
You are my daughter and I love you. Cling to Me and I'll write a beautiful ending.
Jeremiah 32:27 I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
Whatever your story, cling to Him. Let Him work through you to write the best ending imaginable.
Because every story needs editing...and the Editor never gives up on us.
If you're like me and you really want the legacy story?
Cling. Cling. Cling.
Notice I didn't say obey? Or serve? Or go to a third-world country and adopt 20 orphans (though that would be grand)?
No. Just cling to the Lord. Don't let go. Let him mold and shape and write. Live this Psalm:
Psalm 96:2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.