Hi, friends! How are you doing this lovely Sunday? I can't wait for you guys to read this week's Share Your Story Sunday. When I read Nicole's blog, Delia Jude
, I feel like I'm part of her family and I get to see a glimpse inside their life together .. and I just love that! Today, she's sharing her story with us :)
When Bonnie asked me to submit my story I was thrilled, and after I committed I was nervous and then downright terrified. What could I possible write that would make any difference to anyone? Procrastination reared its ugly head and the trials of life and death occupied my mind and my heart. The truth is, I have a story. God has handwritten a story of my life—compiling and editing each and every chapter—whether I like it or not.
My literal life story began 41 years ago on a cold spring morning in the heart of the Canadian prairies. But my sense of family history takes me further back in time than that…many generations of brave, courageous and God-fearing women. A legacy in Christ—a heritage.
The storyline is made up of all the bits of parts of a full and blessed life; a life story that drops me off at the doorstep of where I am today. On paper, I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend, a volunteer, a colleague and a child of God. But those are simply defining titles. The adjectives might list: dog lover, artist, writer, chef, gardener, hiker, lover of color and so on…you get the idea. I could tell you wonderful tales of great goodness and horrid moments: my ugly sins, my deep longings, my pains, my sorrows, my mistakes and my joys. I could regale you with anecdotes about my charming husband John and my amazing kids Jude and Delia. But really those are just the bits and pieces of my blessed life. The patchwork, so to speak.
Last year, I learned more about life stories than I ever thought I would and in a seemingly unlikely way. During our two-year stint of home school we listened to the audio books of C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia”. Sacrilegious as it may seem, I was not a Narnia fan as a child. Though I loved to read, I did not ever enjoy fantasy novels. And Narnia is a land of fantasy. Then last year, famous Brits reading aloud brought the stories to life. Suddenly, as adult I understood the allegories of Narnia. “The Horse and His Boy” forever changed my life and in particular, my story.
“The Horse and His Boy” is about Shasta, his talking horse, and a young girl named Aravis. At a crucial point in the story, after a long hard night, Shasta meets Aslan (the Voice):
“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”
“Who are you?” asked Shasta.
“Myself,” said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again “Myself,” loud and clear and gay: and then the third time “Myself,” whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all around you as if the leaves rustled with it.
A little bit later in the story, Aravis meets Aslan and hears a similar response about her story:
“Child,” said the Lion, “I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
The idea that God is telling me my story, not your story; the idea that I can be part of someone else’s story but not know their story; the idea that my story is still being told and that I may never know the whole story—this baffles and intrigues me but also gives me great comfort. If I trust God as the Author then I must sit and listen to Him tell me my story.
Part of my story happened two years ago, as our family went through a season of great trials. The kind of trials that multiple and divide and layer pile upon pile. Our neighbor, with whom we shared a backyard, who we knew and shared meals with, chose to end his life. Late one evening, he overdosed on pills and died, and the next day our children found his body. Our sweet children were suddenly faced with suicide, mental illness, death, depression and all the baggage that accompanies such a trial. As we were reeling from this tragedy our dog bit a child and we had to “give up” our beloved canine. At this time there were many other relationship fallouts and to top it off our family was undergoing a big, sweeping, church-changing season of our lives. This story, this life, suddenly became so overwhelming and sorrow filled. Daily pleadings with God, the heaviness in our home and the sense of pity I felt from others weighed like a stone upon my neck. Yet, there we were and there God was. For me, I trusted that He would never leave us or forsake us. For good or for bad, in peace and confusion, we prayed that the light of Christ might shine. As we prayed and as we struggled we saw the light shining. The Christ light. Through tragedy came healing.
As the healing came, I revisited the idea of getting a tattoo. There it was before me…the idea of love and forgiveness. A daily reminder of how God forgave me and loves me and how I should love and forgive others…even in the hard times…rather, especially in the hard times. As the tattoo idea grew and changed, I knew the words I really wanted inked upon my heart and stamped into my soul were LOVE and GRACE. So last summer, my sister and I marched ourselves into a little tattoo parlor in downtown Vancouver and my sister wrote the text, I paid the fee, and the lovely artist tatted me.
There the words sit, on my forearms. Daily reminders of God’s goodness to me. Daily reminders of how my story needs to be told. Daily reminders of how I should respond to the world.
Grace . Love. Love. Grace.
Want to share your story? Please contact me.