Have you ever wished you could have a different life story? If so, keep reading.
“Mommy, tell me a story.”
That was a common request when my son was a little guy. Whether riding in the car, getting a haircut, or being tucked in at bedtime, Steven loved for me to tell him a story. The one requirement for my made-up tales was that Steven had to give me the first line. “Okay, buddy,” I’d say, “What’s the first sentence?”
“Once upon a time there was a leaf . . .”
“Once upon a time there was a snail . . .”
“Once upon a time there was a tree . . .”
“Once upon a time there was a dragon . . .”
And so, the tale would begin.
Everybody loves a good story, but not everybody loves their own story.
Mistakes pile high like weeks-old laundry.
Shame whispers, “If they only knew.”
Tear-stained pages warp and cause the volume to fall open to unwanted pages.
Dog-eared corners mark traumatic happenings we keep going back to in order to make sense of it all.
Some pages have spots worn thin from rubbing a mental eraser over words that won’t go away. Lines we’ve tried to cross out instead stand out and taunt us. We’ve all got them—unwanted pages. Yes, I’d like a different story, please.
For most of us, it is not the whole of our stories that we don’t like, but just certain parts. Our tragedies, traumas, and too-dark-to-tell memories may be different, but the pain is the same.
A husband left.
A boyfriend cheated.
A friend betrayed.
A parent abused.
A boss misused.
A disease ravished.
A steering wheel jerked.
A gunshot fired.
A child died.
I don’t know the difficulties you’ve been through, but I do know your story didn’t end there. There is more to be written, and God is even now dipping his pen into the inkwell of wholeness, writing your story and mine into His larger story. God turns broken stories into beautiful prose and unwanted pages into stunning narratives of victory. That’s not just a promise; it’s a bedrock truth—one I know from personal experience.
God never intends for us to stay stuck in our past pain. He longs to heal the broken place and fill the empty spaces. Click & Tweet! The Bible says this about Jesus through the prophetic words of Isaiah:
The Lord has anointed me to proclaim
good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. (61:1-3 NIV)
Isn’t it amazing that God can take our darkest chapters and turn them into our greatest victories? He can, you know. But He does require our cooperation. Great beauty can come from our marred and tattered stories. Immense light can emerge from our darkest and desperate days. It is only when we turn the broken pieces of our lives over to God that He shows us how to have a better story.
I want to encourage you today. Don’t get stuck in the pain place or the shame place. Keep moving ahead and pray for God to show you how to turn your mourning into dancing.
LORD, sometimes I just don’t like my story. However, I know that You can use every single page to bring glory to Your name. Help me to release the burden of my past to You, and to use what I’ve been through for good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one difficult chapter in your life that God has used for good? Click on comment to share. I’d love to hear about it.
We all have pages of our stories that we wish we could rip out and throw in the trash. Chapters of heartache from what has been done to us and shame over what has been done through us. God doesn’t want to rip out those stories, but repurpose them for good. If you’re ready to turn your worst chapters into your greatest victories, know this, God is ready too. So, sink deep into God’s life-changing truths in Sharon’s book, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. The next chapter is just beginning.
Includes an in-depth Bible study for individuals and groups. Downloadable Bible Study Videos also available.
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Thank you for this very inspirational topic today. I am 8yrs cancer free🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻God took my story of being diagnosed with breast cancer and made me stronger n taught me to trust him completely. I thank the Lord for healing n foe my story to encourage other patients who feels this is the end. Cause it was the beginning for me. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Right. Is I am going thru a worst story . I am a widow and I finally met someone who I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. After 5 years I realized he was truly not the magnet I thought he was. He was not the Godly man he perceived to be . It has been very difficult . But God was there when my husband died ( I was only 52) . I know he is with me now .
The most difficult story in my life was losing my beautiful daughter to leukemia in just 100 days. My heart grieves everyday.. Her children have their problems and they have moved away. I pray and encourage them as much as I can. BUT out of this horrible story- my husband and I have grown closer to God in so many ways..I know God is leading us everyday and taking care of my whole family.. We try to serve Him through our church. I know one day we will be together with all our family in heaven through our faith in Him.
A difficult chapter of my life that God has used for his glory is the story of my life several years ago when I was involved in sexual sin and had an abortion as an undergraduate. I was filled with guilt and shame until I found God’s forgiveness and allowed His love access into my heart. Several years after, married and with two daughters, The Lord inspired my heart to write a book about my story and the testimonies I have received from many who have read it has been a confirmation that God allowed me to go through that phase just to reveal His glory. I am forever grateful to God for making a message out of my mess
Would you be willing to email me the name of your book and your full name so that I can read it? I believe it would bless me too.
The book is When You Don’t LIke Your Story by Sharon Jaynes
First of all Thanks you for sharing this. I needed this on this morning. My worst chapter in my life was last year on January 24,2020, I lost my mom and I was 36 then now I’m 38 and this has been the most painful and hurtful chapter of my life. However I do Thank God that she is resting in God’s care and no longer suffering and only God knew what was best for her. Yes it’s a void that can never be replaced but as God’s word says: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted “. So I constantly ask God to heal my heart and grant me the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. Thank you.
Jesus, I lift up every woman’s story here. It takes such boldness to bravely put our pain on display so that others can know they are not alone.
We are not alone Lord. Thank you Jesus.
Once I turned 18, the vultures came out. Friends of my father’s, whom I’d been taught to trust, even to call “Uncle”, started making inappropriate comments to me. Then it became more than comments. One man in particular (my older sister’s father-in-law and my father’s best friend) became very physical with me. I had known this man all my life and trusted him, so when he told me “this is what grown-ups do”, I accepted it. I saw this man at large parties my parents hosted as well as small family gatherings. He was always around. He was asked to transport me to various functions. I couldn’t tell my parents, of course. And what was there to tell? All grown-ups do it so, I was now a grown-up, right? I finally escaped this man by graduating from college and moving out of state but there was a series of affairs after him because I continued to have the men tell me “it’s what grown-ups do”.
Fast forward 46 years. I am now a secretary in a Counseling office. Last week, one of our Counselors came to me and shared that she is working with a young lady (18 yrs old) who lives with her parents. A friend of her father is being inappropriate with her and she can’t tell her dad. The Counselor has never worked with anyone in this situation and was a bit at a loss as to how to counsel this patient. I took a deep breath and shared my story with my co-worker. I put myself back in the place of an 18-year-old. I felt the feelings of being trapped. I cried and shook, but I shared it. I begged the Counselor to help this patient understand that she has done nothing wrong – understand it now, at age 18, before she goes through a lifetime of suffering. And to encourage her to call out this man. Report him regardless of her dad’s friendship with him.
My Pastor once told me that someday my story would help someone. Maybe this is the time. I pray that it is.
Oh goodness where do I begin!?! My family has experienced quite a bit of loss (though no different from some). We lost our entire home to a hurricane, my husband is 21 years is a pedophile, only coming out when my oldest spoke out. We lost many family members. My mom passed away… then my dad.
Each event, however, has grown me and shaped me into the person I am now and for that I am so thankful. Ten years after I suddenly became a single parent (and years of praying and holding onto the promise of Joel 2:25) God sent me a man who was not only exactly what a prayed for…but so much more.
He is the absolute love of my life and a treasure gift from God.
Thank you this. I wish, though, that your list of “memories” included self-inflicted trauma. The chapters I wish I could re-write are ones where I made sinful mistakes. When something has been “done” to you (as in the items on your list), you are the victim, not the villain. For me, it’s so difficult to forgive myself for having been the villain. I know God has forgiven me. But the regret for past mistakes is sometimes unbearable.
There is an entire chapter in the book dedicated to that
I divorced my husband after 42 years of marriage. Neither of us knew Christ. Now I have remarried a Christian man who has brought me to Jesus. But I continue to focus in my mind to the ways life would have been different if I had known Jesus. I see and hear the unkind ways I reacted to my husband and the ways I might have supported him and didn’t. I thought what I was doing was right. I tried marriage counseling but he wouldn’t cooperate. Had I destroyed his confidence? What did I do that caused him to be so …lost? To treat me with such disrespect? I know God has forgiven me…but how to I mend what I did to my husband? He has died. Will I ever have a chance to tell him I am sorry for how our marriage ended? Could I even have changed things if I HAD known? Guilt consumes me.
Does your book deal with forgiving the unfathomable?
I have been abused and betrayed by everyone who should have been family.
Knocked unconscious and almost strangled to death, by my “Christian” family.
Grappling with forgiveness when there is no real repentance.
When they blame the victim, and go on as if nothing happened, …
, simply b/c nothing did happen,….to them.
What does forgiveness look like in such a case?
Where the unthinkable is done, I was left so injured I couldn’t even walk…
and they just went on and “played church”, even holding teaching positions,…
while my life was shattered.
Yes it does.
Right into the Covid outbreak, I found out my husband was unfaithful to me and have a son out of this affair. Heard stories of women going through this and never thought I would be one of them.
Today, 1,8 years later, I see and feel God restoring me and our marriage. It’s not been easy but God…
Thank you for sharing your story. I too learned of an affair just recently. I knew things were off for sometime and my worst fears were confirmed. God has taught me so much through this experience and I can see him restoring not only my marriage but me! I’m a better version of myself. And my relationship with my husband is growing deeper than it ever was. My prayer is that through the pain I had to suffer my husband will accept Jesus. That by experiencing my unconditional love and the grace that I have given him will magnify what the Lord promises. I believe and trust the Lord is making a miracle out of this mess.
Letting go of past sins,losses,self abuse has been difficult for me.
I continually deal with self forgiveness. I have 35 years of sobriety and my oldest was 9-10 when I sobered up. He remembers a lot. Although I have repeatedly asked him for forgiveness and apologized as well, I hate myself for things I did. I neglected him and must’ve instilled fear and insecurities in him. He suffers today from anxiety and panic attacks. I know it’s because of me. We have a great relationship but in his personal life he has difficulty with alcoholism. I take full ownership for this.