I love a good story. From the moment I first learned to read, my nose was always in a book. Through words on a page, I could, for a moment, become an intrepid sleuth, a fearless explorer in a foreign land, or a courageous servant girl from centuries ago.
Everyone has a story to tell, and because we are all created in God’s image, it is a story worth telling.
But if we’re honest, most of us look at our lives and see little that would attract the interest of a hotshot literary agent. After all, there is nothing exciting about carpool or sales meetings or the annual family beach trip. But just because we’ve never been a resistance fighter in France during World War II or an astronaut stranded in a disabled space ship doesn’t mean that our own stories are any less inspiring or courageous.
I write this because I have been guilty of feeling as though my own life is nothing special. And in many ways, it’s not. I’m not a world traveler or a celebrated author, and I’ve certainly never invented anything that would change anyone’s life, unless you consider devising countless ingenious ways to use duct tape life-changing. If so, then I could certainly be considered a leader in the field. (FYI: As the owner of a white cat, I can attest to its superior hair-removing properties.)
I am a wife and a mom. This has been my identity for the last twenty-eight years. But my situation is changing. My children are adults now and no longer need (or want) my constant supervision and parental control over their lives. In the last couple of years I have faced the reality that a certain chapter in my story is ending and it is time to begin writing a new one. This has not been easy, as anyone facing an “empty nest” can tell you. Change is hard, especially when it’s accompanied by a sense of loss. I miss my children being home. I miss ballgames and dance recitals and family dinners (always featuring sweet tea) where we caught up on each other’s activities.
But I am comforted in remembering God’s promise as stated in Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (NLT) My children are, without a doubt, a good work that God began and is continuing to develop until Christ’s return. How reassuring to know that God never abandons His work! While the responsibilities that God entrusted to me and my husband for a season may be different now, God’s response in that situation is unchanging. There is such freedom in the realization that, as the pastor at my church so eloquently puts it, “God’s got this.”
Trusting in God’s continuing efforts on behalf of this good work He began has freed me to let go of the security blanket that my role as mother had become. As I contemplate this “new thing” that God is writing into my life, I’m forced to take an honest look at my strengths and weaknesses, my abilities and my limitations. Will I finally finish that manuscript that I’ve been working on for years? Or does God have another assignment for me, perhaps something I cannot even imagine doing right now?
Perhaps you are facing a similar crossroads: an empty nest, an unexpected loss, a restlessness you can’t quite put your finger on. Consider that it is God who is writing your story, perhaps one of triumph over incredible odds, but maybe just one of steady perseverance in the face of unrelenting trials. As the main character in your story, may your prayer be that your responses to the plot twists God is placing in your life weave a narrative that demonstrates truth as profound as any contained in the world’s great literature.