One of the most rewarding yet frustrating parts of teaching Kindergarten is walking my students through the writing process. In the beginning of the year, the children simply draw pictures to tell their stories, as most of them don’t have the phonetic skills to sound words out and write them down. But as the year goes on, they begin to label, then write beginning sounds, stretch words out, learn and use high frequency words, and put all those things together to create sentences. By the end of the school year, my little Kinders can write several sentences about their chosen topic. It is truly a wonder to behold! But the process of getting there? Well….let’s just say there are days when digging my eyeballs out with my bare hands would be less painful.
The other day, one of my sweet boys sat with a blank piece of paper in front of him for the entire writing time. I checked in on him periodically to offer suggestions of stories he may want to share, but all he would quietly say was, “I just don’t know what to write.” I’ve started to figure out that this little cutie is a bit of a perfectionist. He didn’t just want to slop anything down on the paper. He wanted it to be exactly the right thing.
I like to imagine God as the author of my story (although, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m merely a character in HIS story). But unlike the uncertainty of a new writer, God already has every detail of my life planned out. He doesn’t just sit wondering what to write. He is purposeful. Timely. All-knowing. He wants my life to be exactly the right thing.
It’s an interesting notion to think of your life as a story, isn’t it? If you’re anything like me, there are good chapters, boring chapters, exciting chapters, and sad ones, too. And then there are those chapter that you desperately wish you could just tear out of the book, because they weren’t supposed to be there in the first place.
Or were they?
Perhaps this is one of the greatest dichotomies of faith to make sense of…we believe that God has written some wonderful chapters for our lives, but then we question if He really did author the completely tragic ones, too. And if so, why did those have to be a part of our story and not someone else’s? Nearly a year later, my mind often revisits the chapter called, “The Day Joe Went Home to Jesus”. I don’t know why the Author allowed my sweet boy’s death to be written into my story. But He did. And there’s no rewriting that chapter. No edits can be made. When I reread it, the outcome remains the same.
Over a year ago, when Joe was going through some very difficult issues, he’d often come to me for counsel and advice. I told him I knew deep down God was writing an amazing story for his life. And that one day, all of it would make sense. That God was going to take the bad parts he was walking through and use it for his good and God’s glory someday. Thinking back on those conversations are tough….maybe because it didn’t go the way I had planned it in my head. But God was still the author of Joe’s story. Not me. And so I trust that God saw some bigger purpose for my son’s life through his death.
Which reminds me of another story. Of a Son’s death with not just a big purpose. But the greatest purpose. It was a purpose that was birthed from the moment sin entered the world. And it was fulfilled the second that Son – Jesus – breathed His last. It was the chapter that God knew had to be written, if we had any shred of hope to spend eternity with Him. And as awful as that chapter is to read or even imagine, it is the single most life-altering chapter for all humanity. I am forever indebted to the Author, because it means my son’s story continues in heaven and that one day I will get to share how God did indeed use his story for good.
There’s been a part of my story I’ve been trying to write for a while. At times the pages are blank, just staring back at me. And while I have allowed God to pick up the pen to start the chapter, I find myself taking it out of His hands and trying to finish it myself. But God has so gently whispered to my heart to let go, to surrender that control, and let Him make something beautiful out of what He’s purposed.
So….where are you in your story?
Is your life going well and everything you dreamed it would be? Surrender the pen.
Are you waiting for God to move in an area of your life because things aren’t going according to your timetable? Surrender the pen.
Have the trials of this world made you hopeless and weary and you aren’t sure how you will make it through another day? Surrender the pen.
Because God has been writing the most incredible stories since the beginning of time. Some were miraculous, like Moses’ story. Some were tragic, like Job’s. Some were unbelievable like Jonah’s. But they all had God as the Author. And not only did He write those stories. He was the Hero. Every. Single. Time.
I don’t know how my story – or yours – will turn out. The process of letting it unfold may be painful at times. But I do know that regardless of the chapter – good, bad, or ugly – God will forever be the Author and the Hero of my story.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. ~ Proverbs 19:21