It's so good to be back after my month of rest! Even though my husband (who has recovered well) was stuck on the couch a good two weeks after his knee surgery, I found there's a soul rest that doesn't depend on the fullness of your days. My house is rarely quiet, but my soul needed to stop striving and live quietly for a while.
Over the break, I read three books in the Chronicles of Narnia series that I don't ever remember reading. If you haven't read this series by C.S. Lewis, I'm a bit jealous that you have the chance to read them for the first time, although they're good the second and third too!
I came across a theme in Lewis's The Horse and His Boy that has been marinating in my heart since I read it. One of the characters, a young girl named Aravis, runs away from an undesirable marriage and so unwittingly causes her former servant to be punished. Aravis asks Aslan about this girl's fate (Aslan is a lion, and the central character in the all the books. He is the Creator and ruler of Narnia).
Aslan responds, "Child . . . I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own."
Aslan's words remind me of Jesus's words to Peter in their first conversation after Peter denied Jesus three times and since Jesus's resurrection. Jesus has just reaffirmed Peter's calling to "Feed My sheep." But Peter's mind turns quickly to the future of Jesus's other disciple, John, who was, after all, "the disciple Jesus loved" (John 13:23)! Peter asks, "But Lord, what about this man?"
Jesus replies, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me" (John 21:21-22).
Just like Peter, I can be such a "but what about her?" kind of girl. In our social age, we can get so lost in everyone else's story. We know how they feel about politics, the weather, their spouses, and various causes. We know what kind of food they're eating, how they decorate their homes, and how they spend their Saturdays and with whom.
I'm not arguing that this sharing is bad, but I think social media can create an environment that is unhealthy for unguarded hearts. Just as you are more likely to get malaria in the jungle than in New York City, although neither place is inherently good or bad, you're more likely to struggle with loving your own story in certain environments. And just as you're more likely to become sick if you have a compromised immune system, you're more likely to struggle in certain environments if your heart is vulnerable. At the root, the problem is not the environment, but the heart.
My heart sure needs a boost of immunity. I struggle to love MY story, the story that my faithful God is writing.
I'm like Peter asking Jesus, "Well, what about her . . .
Like Jesus' gentle redirection of Peter's heart, He lovingly says to me (I imagine with my cheeks grasped between His hands in an attempt to get me to focus) "If I am doing that in her life, what is that to you? You, follow me."
Maybe your story is messy.
Maybe your story is unhappy.
Maybe your story is confusing.
Maybe your story is incredibly ordinary.
But written all into the plot lines is God's great faithfulness to you. Written into your story is His great grace for you ensured at the cross by the Son. Written into your story is His conforming work that makes you more like Him..
So love your story because God is walking you through it, moment by moment. Joni Earickson Tada in her book, A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty, relates her journey as a quadriplegic for more than 40 years. She explain how she is able to go on through the pain:
"I can go on . . . because God moves through time with me. . . . He knows time in a personal, experiential way. As the writer of Hebrews said, 'We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality' . . . When you find yourself in chronic agony, life gets reduced to hours rather than days--and sometimes minutes and seconds. When I am in physical distress in the night, unable to sleep, unable to move, and unwilling to awaken Ken (again) to turn me, I need to know that God's concern and care for me is literally breath by breath, heartbeat by heartbeat, moment by moment."God is not a distracted and distant author. No, He is the God who is with us, the God who was one of us, the God who now dwells in those who trust in Him. Your story is personal to Him.
Love your story because the Author already sees the end of it--and it's beautiful if you'll trust Him. It may not be beautiful now, but it's not finished.
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6If you trust in Him and His work on your behalf, your story ends with you face to face with all His brilliant glory. It ends with you fully knowing the Author of life, just as He has always known you. It ends with all your current heartache and pain, victories and accomplishments, fading in the light of His presence.
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12
"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." 2 Corinthians 4:17There are a great many stories that God is writing, and I hope we'll take joy in sharing in those, especially via social media. But only you can live yours.
Jesus says, "YOU follow me."
To remind you of this truth, I made a print for you to print and frame or just clip on your refrigerator. You can download your 8x10 print HERE (usage below*). If you'd like a smaller size, cut your paper to the desired size (such as a 5x7), change your paper size in your printer settings, and then choose the "scale to paper" option. Enjoy!
*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! All artwork and photos are ã Marydean Draws. Please share freely by posting a link back to this blog post. Please don't repost the actual file. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy, please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!