Walking around my neighborhood park one morning, I pulled out my ear buds so I could listen to the world around me without music playing in my ears. I wanted to hear the sounds of a new day beginning — and listen for God. Not even halfway around my usual route tears began trickling down my cheeks, which is not unusual these days — tears dripping with memories which replay often lately. Suddenly a voice breaks the silence — a voice I realize is my own — as I question out loud: “Why won’t these memories stop? What am I suppose to do with all these memories of another time of my life, of an abusive marriage?” And then I heard it — Write!
Back from my walk and still thinking on what I’d heard, I slip off my walking shoes, grab my coffee and open up Facebook, only to see this:
But like on my walk, when I heard — write — and questioned out loud, “Who would care about my story” and “What exactly am I suppose to write about”, so it was when this meme popped up in my Facebook feed — I questioned whether my story is really something that matters.
Yet don’t all of our stories matter? They shape us into who we are. Our stories tell of the journey we take in this life. Some roads are easy and pot-hole free, while others take us around bends and over bumps which shake us up. But every road we take in this life, easy or difficult, leads us to where we are today,
And while I’m grateful that the rough road I walked for years is behind me, I’m also honored that God felt me brave enough to travel that road with Him by my side.
There are days though when I wonder if I’m dwelling too much on the past and perhaps haven’t truly let go or completely healed. I’m often bewildered as to why these long ago, heart-wrenching memories continue invading my mind when I would like nothing more than to lay them to rest. But as much as I try to shake them they often won’t let go of me.
And so, I write.
I type heart-wrenching memories here on my blog and share a little of my wounded heart, But is that what it’s about? To remember so it can all be written down — so my story is not forgotten? Or are my words meant to help others trying to navigate the same roads I once did? You see, I don’t believe it’s primarily about my journey through an abusive marriage that makes my story worth remembering and passing on, I believe the most important part of my story, is that of God’s redemption in my life of all those lost years, as I hung on for the ride and followed Him despite the bumps and pot holes along my life’s journey.
I think that is the purpose of everybody’s story, to help others find their way along a similar path and give them hope that God does work all things for His Glory.
I know my story is important and has value, as it’s been through that story — my life — I have helped minister to other women walking a similar road. I’m grateful for the opportunity of having stumbled along that journey so I can offer hope and encouragement to help make the journey for others perhaps a little less daunting — to shine a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
So perhaps it is time to write my story. A story of brokenness and redemption. A story of a life turned to ashes in which something beautiful was made. A story of God’s faithfulness and love never-ending, even in the messiness and brokenness of this woman’s life.
No matter what our story is — no matter where the journey takes us or how we arrive at our destination — the most important part of our life’s story is Who we allow in the driver’s seat. Life is full of ups and downs. There will be storms shaking us awake questioning why God left us and trials making us wonder “why me?”, but in the midst of it all, in the very depths of our heartaches and the darkness of the pit we may find ourselves in — it is right there that God reaches out to us and offers His hope and grace.
So let’s tell our stories, let’s share our heartaches, battles, and all the messiness this life brings. Let’s be real and broken together. Let’s share about how lost we once were but how we found our way. Let our life story be a road map for someone else as they struggle to navigate a similar journey.
I pray that my story of brokenness brings hope and encouragement to others struggling to find their way through an often confusing, scary and seemingly endless road. There is life on the other side, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I promise. I’ve been there and I’ve gotten through to the other side. With God as the navigator there are no wrong turns, there is only freedom.
May you dear reader find hope and encouragement today as you navigate the sometime dark roads in your life, with the knowledge that others have gone before you and found light at the end of the tunnel.