Have you ever wished you could tear certain chapters out of your story? Or that you could erase the painful pages? If so, this post is for you. I’m writing over at Proverbs 31 Ministries today and wanted to share this with you too. Let’ me start with a game my son and I played when he was a little boy…
“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.But God never intends for us to say 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 was only when I turned the broken pieces of my life over to God that He showed me 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 forward 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. Show me how I can move from mourning to dancing and from ashes to beauty in each chapter of my story.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one difficult part of your story that you have seen God use for good?
Today is release day for my new book “When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if your worst chapters could become your greatest victories?” Click here for details.
Many of us feel broken. Our mistakes, the pain others have caused us, and circumstances outside our control taunt us every day, though we long to turn a new page. My new book, When You Don’t Like Your Story, challenges us to ask: What if God doesn’t want us to rip out our difficult stories but repurpose them for good?
What has been done to you and what has been done through you does not disqualify you from God’s best for your life. It qualifies you for an even greater purpose than you would have ever known without it. In fact, the worst parts of your story might just be what God uses the most. So sink deep into God’s life-changing truths. The next chapter is just beginning. Includes an in-depth Bible study for individuals and groups.
I love your writing.
Your words resonate with me.
Thank you for writing this book.❤️
My husband came from a “Christian” home, but sadly his father was very abusive and regularly beat him, his sister and mom. In church as well as church school he learned that God hears and answers the prayers of children. So as a child he poured out his heart to God for the abuse to stop….but it never did. Additional pain was then heaped on top of his already traumatic childhood because he felt God didn’t hear or care about him. So he has never reached out to God for healing because deep inside his pain, in part, stems from his prior experience or lack there of with God. How do you deal with that? As his wife I could really use some sound advice.
It starts with “forgiveness”. Just as Christ forgives us; we are to forgive others for wrongs done to us. Think how we have offended the Savior in thought word and deed and yet HE willingly forgive us. HE can do that because HE paid for that sin with HIS blood. Your husband needs to forgive and allow Jesus to heal his heart.
Dear Barbara- I am praying for you and for your husband. That’s the first thing that came to my mind- prayer for him to open up to God. God knows how to reveal Himself- in fact He wants your husband to know His love even more than you do! Meanwhile, I will be praying for you both Sister!
Barbara, I am so sorry for the pain that your husband experienced as a child. I’m wondering whether he has ever really grieved all that he lost from his childhood? I’m also wondering whether you are alone in trying to help him through his pain? and whether his pain impacts you or other family members in ways that could harm you. If you are not safe with him, then you first need to pay attention to your own safety. If you are safe, then look for the helpers in your church and/or community. Is there a grief support group at a church? because there is great pain in what you describe. It really seems as though this is too big for you to handle without help from others. Sometimes, it is just so hard to open up. I know. I really know. Praying for him? I would hang out in the Psalms in chapters where David cries out to God because he feels forsaken. So in devotions, maybe read through Psalms and see what touches you? Perhaps your husband would read them with you? one chapter a day? Please promise that you will not go through this alone. I’m praying for help to show up for both you and your husband (human help). I also will be praying that your husband will be able to see the Father heart of God and be drawn to Him. May God grant you peace of mind and wisdom.
Love it thanks so much for sharing God Bless Could you please pray for my daughter Liz that her Social Security Benefits will be Approved please pray for me that my Cholesterol will go down it’s very high
This is all so interesting. At present, I can’t remember anything good about my life, and I’m 73 years old. The events of the past year have added to despair and sadness. I pray for God to show me anything at all.
Oh Elenor I pray that God wrap you in his Mercy, that the lies of the enemy be bound up. That He send an earthly angel to meet you and care for you in your sadness. I pray that you are flooded with memories of the good that has been in your life. Blessings to you sister in Christ.
I am praying for you Eleanor. I pray that sunshine or rain will touch you today and warm your soul. A bird flying by will bring a smile or maybe the smile of a stranger who can become a friend. There is hope and joy within the sadness- search for the rainbow. God sees you and loves you ❤️
Sweet Eleanor, I am praying right now that God will show you goodness about your life…already I know something incredible and beautiful about you:
You are a Chosen, Adored, Mighty Warrior Princess! May you feel loved, hugged and respected today.
God Bless You, Dana
Oh Eleanor it makes me sad to read your comment. You will be in my prayers that our Lord will show you more than your dark days
Elenaor I pray you will look to Jesus he loves you.much!! I don’t know all you have been through but the Lord is there for you. I have been through cancer the Lord used it for his glory. When I had to get my treatments I got to share the Lord with my dr. Pray with him give him books and Christian dvds it was such a blessing my dr. read the books watched the dvds he even shared them with others.he passed away I got to share about the Lord at his memorial service. My dr. was from India he was always.open to hear about Jesus. The Lord knew his heart.he wasn’t hindu or muslim very open to things of the Lord.. when we have troubles The Lord can use them to help others reach out to something nice for someone it will get our eyes on Jesus and we will feel so blessed. I have been depressed also but got help from friends. And some medicine for a short time. Don’t be ashamed if you need medicine.from a good dr. Or some counseling. Enjoy the blessing just knowing Christ as your Saviour. Some day we will be with Jesus all sorrow and sickness will be gone. Go to church.get. involved get lots Christian fellowship read your Bible . I will.be praying 🙏 for you Debbie
Good evening Eleonor, I am 74 years old and I had some difficult time in my life.
I heard about Jesus that He love me and care for me and He paid the price for my sins.
I gave my life to Him and I am learning to trust Him and give Him all my pain from the past.
He healed my heart and still working in me but what I learned to do is TO ASK AND RECEIVE
From Him. I PUT MY TRUST IN HIM FOR MY FUTURE.
I am praying for you that you will find peace and rest in Him.
Give Him your pain and simply ask Him to heal you and thank Him that He is doing it. God said: I will turn your mourning into dancing. Believe and receive.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and begin to sing His praise. Declare His word and don’t let the devil tell you that it will never change. Rebuke him and declare that by His stripe, you are heal. Amen.
Love, from Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Your story is probably a list of sad events just like my mom’s. My mom has had very few good events in her life and still has few, she’s never really been a happy person. Through all the things I have heard about her life and seen, if one sits back and thinks about the past God has been there walking with you and my mom. Although some peoples lives are not as blessed as others there are always things to be grateful for even a simple thing like running water from your tap is such a blessing which many do not have. I pray God will reveal to your the simple blessings in your life that are huge blessings to others. May you in that find peace and contentment. Xx
So excited to get my copy today!
May it help me find peace in my grief.
sharon, I can absolutely tell you that God can turn the difficult chapters of our lives into Glory moments for Him. As a sexual abuse victim of 15 yrs as a child to now being a Pastor’s wife that leads women’s Bible studies and has been able to minister His goodness to others. HE absolutely turns ashes to beauty if we will let Him. Thanks for the reminder.
I got my book today. I have had many problems with health and husband. I didn’t get COVID but got my first shot.
I hope this book helps settle me down. Miss talking to you.
Thanks for your help before.
My e-mail doesn’t show up right. I corrected it. I get all GIG stuff.
Dealing with the after effects of leaving an abusive marriage is certainly something I never thought would happen to me – or something that our 13 year old daughter would have to go through with me. But, God is amazing and He can turn my ashes into beauty. He’s already in action and I look for signs all the time. This current chapter of my life isn’t anything I would want to re-read but I look forward to see what God’s gonna do.
I pray that my sister’s story changes from mourning to dancing. .
This devotion hit home. All that you wrote is true and God is our strength. But there can be events in our past that may cause deep trauma and daily suffering deep in our souls. These types of scars require long time recovery. I was lead to try Christian counseling. At age 61, my counselor proclaimed that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That news was a complete shock to me!
I’m sharing this for 2 reasons. It is OKAY to seek CHRISTIAN counseling and seeking counseling isn’t shameful despite what society may think! May Jesus shower us all with His peace!
I agree. I don’t think that society looks at counseling the way it did 20 years ago. Most of my friends have gone to counseling at one time or another, and it has been so helpful to talk to someone objective. Proverbs 31 Ministries podcasts have a wonderful series on Therapy and Theology that you might enjoy.
Sharon, my book arrived today! I can’t wait to start reading. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for speaking to us from God’s perspective on your “story”. May God bless you, and each of the dear women who have shared their needs here. I pray that we will all continue to write new chapters in “our stories”, and that we will be put in a place to help others with God’s message of love. 🙏🏻
Good Morning everyone Thank God for another day I’m asking each and everyone of you to pray for my father Satan has taken control of him which caused him to be put in jail which this is his first time I don’t know what has happened to my father to make him become so aggressive he started drinking it’s so much that is going on and his actions are putting a strain on me
Thank you Sharon. I look forward to reading your book! I am in the deepest, darkest cistern I have ever been in or ever hope to be in, and I need to be reminded that God can use even this season for His glory.
My son committed suicide in 2018. My oldest daughter died in March 2020 from complications from a seizure. My youngest daughter (my son’s twin sister) died in October 2020 from liver disease. All in their 30s, all struggled with addiction, all gone! It feels pretty dark in here! But I know Jesus is with me and I can feel him through the kindnesses of my sisters in Christ who send me devotions like this one!
Hi Sharon, I just ordered your book and it couldn’t come at a better time. I was wondering if there was going to be an online bible study to go with it? I am currently doing “It’s not supposed to be this way” with a group of women at my church and I feel this goes hand in hand! Thank you so much for writing it.
Hi HOlly! Yes, the Bible study will start Feb 15. You can sign up on my homepage at http://www.sharonjaynes.com!