MY STORY HASN’T ENDED!
This was my first response to this image I received from my long-time friend, Shirley Mewhinney. As co-mentors, we process life together.
We’ve relayed stories about our past and laughed, and cried, and mourned with each other. These stories have shaped who we are, but we celebrate each time we let go of the past and live as the person God desires us to be today. We marvel at this truth: who we are today is not who we will be tomorrow.
Sometimes Shirley and I find ourselves momentarily believing that the stories of our past define who we are today. When we recall the regrets and missed opportunities, the heartaches and pain, the mistakes and disappointments, we begin to believe we will never change.
Over the years, I often felt my story ended in a country far away but not forgotten. Past experiences sometimes defined my life. The steps forward felt as if I was letting go of my dream to live and minister in that country for many years to come.
In looking back, I realize that the choices and chapters of the past few decades represent only part of my story. This is not where my story ends as there are more chapters to be written. Even in fragile moments, and during wilderness wanderings, I am still living the story God wants to write through my life and by faith, I have taken steps that have led me out of the wilderness.
My future remains uncertain. It won’t be the same as I dreamed many years ago. Slowly, a new dream will emerge as God uses past experiences – both joyful and sorrowful – to mold and equip me for a new ministry to others who have been wounded by pain and disappointment.
As the above image indicates, at any given moment, I have the personal power, and the power of the Holy Spirit, to say, “This is not how my story is going to end.”
In earlier years, the fear of rejection held me captive to the approval of others. To protect myself, I stayed aloof and reserved, didn’t allow others to know me well, and avoided any risk of disappointing them. I believe I convinced myself that this was the best way to live and the best kind of person to be.
God wasn’t finished writing my story, though. He began to reveal that my isolation kept me in bondage to my fear and prevented me from experiencing the life He intended me to have. Slowly He gave me courage to come out of my prison and take small steps toward releasing my fear and experiencing freedom to become the person He wants me to be.
I’m learning to trust God for the responses of people and stay focused on His view of me. Through consciously making these choices, I’ve been able to enjoy the new chapters God is writing in my story and the opportunities He’s giving me to help others find freedom from their fears. My life can become a continuing story of God’s faithfulness.
How would you describe your life story so far? What positive and negative experiences have shaped who you are today and affected the way you think and live? Do you believe that God is still writing your story…that He isn’t finished yet?