My story is changing. A dramatic shift in the plot. A change in setting. New characters. New descriptions for current characters. Word usage and verb tenses have changed. The topic of dialogue is changing.
As another section of the story of my life is beginning, the transition from one section to the other is proving chaotic and stressful. No smooth transitional phrases, sentences and paragraphs. Just messy, misplaced words and clauses. The structure of this new section is weak. Concrete verbs and nouns are lacking. And sentence fragments are in abundance. None of this eliminates the stress because I like order. The kind of order including sentences with subjects, verbs and modifiers in their proper places. The kind of order with action verbs and strong adjectives and adverbs. The kind of order with appropriate word usage and transitional thoughts between paragraphs and ideas.
However, the story of life isn’t like a perfectly crafted book. I can’t control the direction of the plot or the cast of characters or the setting. I make choices which impact where the plot heads, who becomes part of my story and where I live out my story; but ultimately God is in control. He is writing my story, complete with all of the twists and turns, and I know He sees the final draft, not the messy rough draft, which I see.
So if my story is messy, than why share my story with others? Why give people a glimpse into the chaos of transitioning from one section of my life to a new section of life? Why put my thoughts and fears on the internet for others to read? Why not wait until the story has been edited, until the structure is solid and until the words are final?
I don’t wait; however, because when I share my story, I remember I’m not alone. Others who have served overseas can relate to my thoughts on adjusting to a new culture or adjusting back to my passport culture. Women who have survived a major transition encourage me with their stories and wisdom. Some of the words in my story – crisis, home invasion, rape, counseling – aren’t ones everyone can relate to, and I’m thankful for that. However, when I hear from women who can relate, empathy and understand permeate my heart.
When I share my story, I am able to encourage those who are a page or two behind me in their own stories. My experiences aren’t unique to me. My transition from one section of life to another is a transition everyone will experience in some form or another during her life, and by sharing my messy transition I allow others to find hope for future transitions.
When I share my story, God receives the glory because the paragraphs in desperate need of editing are transformed into beautiful paragraphs. A story starts with a rough draft, not a perfect, final one. As I reflect on journal entries and blog posts, I see where editing has taken place and how characters and settings which didn’t make sense at first now make perfect sense in light of the following chapters. I continue to share my story because writing about the vague setting and plot and time frame helps me to process my story, to find the strong descriptors and the definite word usage in the midst of the chaos, to focus on the One who sees the final draft.
God is working in each of our stories. He’s turning the messy rough drafts into incredible final drafts. As we build community through sharing our stories with each other, we are able to encourage each other and to give Him glory.
Share your story with us in the comments below. What characters and settings are unknown or unexpected? How can we encourage and pray for you as you live out your story this week?