Last month, I attended a weekend-long lecture session for one of my classes. I met some really great girls. We went to get food together twice that weekend (I finally had my first Chipotle experience) and told each other about our lives and where we came from. After the weekend, we promised to keep in touch, but life got busy.
Last week, I ran into one of the girls (not literally, although sometimes that happens when I haven’t had my coffee). We hadn’t talked to each other since that weekend, and we hadn’t seen each other around campus, either. So we said hi and talked for a couple of minutes, then went our separate ways.
Later that morning, I walked into our school’s chapel service as it was starting and quickly slid into a seat. I happened to sit right next to my friend, who I had never seen during chapel. So after the service we laughed about it, then talked on our way out the door. We then decided to meet for lunch in the food court.
Let me tell you something about last week. I was feeling discouraged about some stuff, and it was hard to shake. Some things just weren’t working out the way I’d hoped, and I was praying for wisdom in how to deal with all of it. So I was so excited about the opportunity to spend some time outside of my own head.
We sat down with our food, prayed, and began talking. Before long, she asked about my book and how it was doing. Then she asked something not everyone asks: “How did you start writing?”
The short answer is that I’ve written stories, poems, and plays for as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil. That’s usually my go-to answer to that question. But there’s more to it than that. I didn’t start writing seriously and as a way to worship the Lord and point others to Him until much later. That actually started in the middle of a very dark, uncertain time.
So I told my story over my plate of General Tso’s chicken. I told the light, fun parts, but also the darker, messy parts. I told her about the struggles I’ve faced not just in actually writing, but in my faith during the years I worked on the book. I talked about where the idea for the story came from, the spiritual journey God took me on while writing it, and even about opposition I faced as a believer writing faith fiction.
I hadn’t laid my whole story out there in a really long time. Actually, I’ve only done that a couple of times because it takes a bit of time. But as I was telling it, I was listening to myself. And by the time I was done, I was overwhelmed by how clearly God had worked in my life over those years. Usually, I just tell pieces of my journey as a writer, and usually it’s the more fun stuff. But when I looked back over the journey as a whole, it was amazing. In the middle of each of those moments, the easy and the difficult, God was working everything together for His glory. It took me several years to begin to see it.
After our lunch, I went to my next class feeling so much lighter. Sharing the story of how God has worked in my life encouraged me. Yeah, I lived through it and I knew my experiences, but I lived through it in pieces. I told it as a whole.
And yeah, some things still aren’t working out like I’d hoped and, honestly, I don’t know how they’re going to work out, but I know God is going to work them together for my ultimate good and His unbelievable glory. Because when I looked back at where I’ve been, I couldn’t help but see the hand of God at work in my life. And that reminded me of the promise that He’s not finished with me yet.
Maybe you’re discouraged or worn out or run down about some things, too. Let me encourage you to remember your own story. Tell it to someone and listen to the pieces come together. Maybe it’ll be a good reminder that you’ve never walked alone, and that’s not about to change.
In His love,
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast. –Psalm 139:7-10