I wrote a devotion over at Proverbs 31 Ministries last week and I thought it might give you a bit of hope too…especially if parts of your story haven’t turned out like you thought they would. If you’ve already read it over at P31, consider forwarding it to someone who needs a dose of hope in her life.
Everyone loves a good story. But not everyone likes their own story. I wouldn’t have written my childhood story the way it now appears on the page. Instead, I would have had a daddy who loved me, a momma who cherished me, and a big brother who was my best friend. We would have spent holidays eating turkey, weekends playing board games, and quiet moments before bed saying goodnight prayers. But that’s not the story I got.
I would have had a passel of children, a calendar overbooked with afterschool activities, and walls full of picture-framed little ones all grown up. But that’s not the story I got. And to be honest, sometimes I struggle with wanting a different story.
I think we’ve all looked at our lives and wanted to rip a few pages from the narrative. But it’s difficult to understand a story if there are missing chapters. Each chapter helps explain why characters are the way they are—why you and I are the way we are. We can’t tear out a page or skip a chapter and still make sense of our story. But we can learn to embrace the story we got, and to trust God to keep writing our story into his.
The Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well didn’t like her story at all. Rather than go to gather water in the cool of the morning or evening, she went in the heat of the day to avoid all the other women who met there. She was embarrassed, ashamed, and most likely felt thrown away by husbands numbers 1-4. Hers was not a good story.
But Jesus came to change all that. It started with a question, “Will you give me a drink?” (John 4: 7) And ended with an astounding revelation that Jesus had not spoken to another soul, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he [the Messiah],” (John 4:26). She dropped her water pot on the ground and ran into town to tell everyone about a new chapter in her story.
When we drop our water pots filled of anger, shame, condemnation, regret, and bitterness, the Living Water cuts a trail in the dust and send us on a new course for life.
What’s the story you got? Whatever it is, I’m guessing there are pages you wish you could rip out of the narrative. I’ve never met a soul who didn’t. But what I want to tell you is that the whole of it matters. Every crossed-out word. Every worn-thin erasure. Every ripped-out page. I believe that with my whole heart. You can have a better story, even with the marred pages intact. You can change the ending of your story, just like the Samaritan woman, even if it feels like you’re trapped in a chapter that has come to a dead stop.
We can grab redemption from the jaws of brokenness and then allow God to use it for good. Click & Tweet! That’s what God did with the Samaritan woman at the well. She used her story for good. By running to town rather than hiding from town— by telling her story of her encounter with Jesus, many believed. John wrote: “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did” (John 4:29 NIV).
It may be hard to believe that it’s possible for God to use your pain for purpose if you’re still living through a bad story, but don’t give up hope. I have experienced it and witnessed it in the lives of others.
God takes the hard things and uses them to showcase his mercy, grace, forgiveness, to create a new beginning. Yes, our worst chapters can become God’s best miracles. Our pain can become a portal of God’s grace. Our ravaged pages can become God’s redemptive masterpiece.
Heavenly Father, I trust that Your pen never slips when it comes to writing my story. Help me to give You the messy pages and the broken stages and not to cling to them with an unrelenting hand. I trust You to make beauty from ashes in my life. Give me the courage to tell others about what You have done in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
How has meeting Jesus changed you?
My latest release, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What If Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories shows us how the pages we’d like to rip out can become the pages God uses to stand out. Get ready to see how your messy pages can become God’s beautiful masterpiece.
God is the Master of turning our messy pages into beautiful masterpieces. Click here to download 55 Bible Verses of How God Transforms My Life and Redeems My Story to see how.
I read this as part of our ladies small group devotional last night. It really smoke to me so I pray it spoke to someone in our group.
Thank you! I won’t give up and opening my heart to the story God is writing for me
From the first book I bought at a Penn Del conference I attended @ Hershey Motor Lodge to now. I have loved your books. I signed up for you to send email to me. Each one I read I have saved. I’m now almost 72, but on SSI I seldom have enough to send for books. This has been after my husband died October 13, 2013. I have two of my 3 children who are helping me since I lost one of my sons on July 9, 2020. He worked night shift and would check to see if I needed anything. My other son worked 3-11 shift. He was a phone call away so I didn’t think my life story was messy until the son that died. My daughter came up from NC and the shock of finding my son dead was to much for me. I have a good relationship with God, and I stayed faithful. Even though I’ve had to deal with an anxiety attack that night yes my story is messy. From 2020 to present 2021 it has been an up hill battle. You’re so encouraging to me. I love to journal and my daughter bought me a small house and I now have the room to get my things out of storage. I found the books you wrote. Fixing up this small house has made me want to write my story. It’s healing the hole in my heart to hear you say don’t tear out the messy things. GOD has been there for me ever since my personal relationship with him started on June 30th 1964. So much of all those boxes I’m going through that contain memories. I call them keepsakes I look at and think I really do need to write my story so I can see how God has been with me every step every path I’ve taken. Down through the years I’ve had many times when life was messy. Mostly my own fault, but God never left me. He was always there pointing the way. I was just to lost in being a perfect wife mother grandmother and church person. Yes I will write my story so my children and grandchildren can see how God takes our story and makes it the best story. Until then may God continue to bless you and your ministry. I know it has been a blessing to me.
Thank you sooooo much. You have no idea how much your comment blessed me today!
If you send me a book. Please send, “If You Don’t Like Your Story”. To my address. I will still be getting my mail at: 1130 Ninemile Run Lane , PO Box 52, Burnt Cabins, PA
I want to thank you for liking what I wrote. By the way I read the comments made after your 31 ministries and they encouraged me that others are just like me. Keep up the good work you do for the Lord. You plant the seed and others water and so many more reap the harvest.
Beautiful honesty. Hard story. Love how you have been cared for by your children. That’s a testimony of your love coming back to you!
May God bless you as you continue to lean on him for your needs and your story continue to impact other’s lives whether reading your “living ” life or in written formal of a book some day! Blessings!!
I wish I could rewrite
This was meant for me! Hallelujah!
So I am a little behind in my readings. God is good, all the time. As I am trying to rekindle a very broken relationship with my adult daughter, God gave me the courage to forward this to her. This message hit home with me, and my prayer is it will with her as well. She is not a believer at this point in her life, but was raised as a Christian. Many people have said she is not worth the HOPE, but God never fails. Thank you for always sharing from the heart Sharon.
Just happened upon this after my morning devotions..
Its so easy to look around and think that everyone else has not suffered like you have. People appear like they have been married for so many years to the same person, have help and love from family, live more comfortably and have more …well..everything.. some do ..but some don’t.
I didnt have a great childhood. Divorce, neglect, a depressed, mentally absent mother, alcoholic step father, more neglect, grounded to my house for years with no phone and only school to go to. The brightest light I had was going to a Bible Camp for 2 weeks every summer from age 12 to 16. I’m so thankful that even though I had many more hard days to go through after that God was still with me. My own divorces, marriage with a trusted “man of God” that I met in church who was a pedophile that groomed everyone around him so he could get to my little daughter, have kids with her and then continue the process. Its been a long. heartbreaking journey but He is still here with me. I still have much to be thankful for!