Sustaining: Thankful for the Story

We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.

Psalm 78:4

I don’t think it’s a secret that there is some contentious stuff going on in the Christian community, especially here in America.  To be fair, a lot of my resources come from Twitter and social media in general, which tends to be pretty divisive on a normal day.  But I also hear the heartbreak and frustration coming out of the mouths of friends and family, longing for a redemption for the brokenhearted and oppressed.  Feeling betrayed that the Church is silent or speaks out in half-truths.  Longing for truth, justice, and peace to prevail.

And I wonder how the next generation will view the church when they grow up, view Christianity as a whole, as they watch us from the sidelines today.  Will they see a place of rage or redemption?  Will they see peacemakers or persecutors?  Will it be a place that includes the lost, broken, and hurting, or will it be a place that excludes those who don’t understand the codes, rules, and expectations?

It’s important for me to remember that though the Church is made up of a flawed humanity, it was created by a flawless God.  We won’t get it perfect, but we can trust in the perfection of God’s plan.  When I was in my darkest moments, I looked with desperation to find God’s presence.  And He revealed himself in small and big ways.  That is what I want to pass on to my son, to the next generation.  

You will see a lot of heartbreak if you live for any length of time on this earth.  You will get frustrated, lonely, broken, hurt, and sad.  But there is a God that is willing to walk you through it.  And as heavy as the bad feelings are, there will be moments of joy, wisdom, laughter, healing, and happiness coming.  I have hope in the next generation because God will work through their lives, revealing himself in special ways to them, just as he has done in my own generation.  And that’s a story I can pass on.

Advertisements

Scars

pexels-photo-26298

When I was three, I was in a car accident.  My dad, mom, baby brother and I were headed either to or from home during the holidays.  My parents told me that a semi truck knocked our car off the road, and it slid down an embankment, turned upside down and spun to a stop.  I still remember waking up to see the seat belts hanging from the ceiling, and a few moments between then and the hospital.  I had been cut over my left eye and received stitches.  I was the only one hurt in the accident, and they could only figure that it was caused by a plastic tape dispenser.

Over the years, people have asked me about that scar.  I have never minded telling the story because it’s such a cool story. God protected us that night.  I never really asked why I was the one with the scar because I’ve always felt lucky to have received it.  This scar means I get to tell the story.

I think we all deal with the question why bad things happen, especially within the Christian faith.  We think that if we live the right way, come from the right family, pray the right prayers, go to the right church, and be involved with the right things, that nothing bad will happen to us.  It’s not something we think consciously, but when something difficult does come our way, we start to search for answers as to what we may have done that caused this awful thing to happen or what we may do to prevent it happening again in the future.

But perhaps one reason we are given our struggles is so that we can tell our story.

In both of my miscarriages, I prayed that God would produce a miracle, that the sonograms would be wrong and the baby might live.  Surely, that kind of miracle could be used to glorify God.  But if we don’t go through the grief, how can we understand those that do?  After my first miscarriage, I understood a whole new world of women who have been silently grieving for decades.  Being open about my grief and loss allowed others to do the same which strengthened me with hope.  Why aren’t we sharing those stories more often?  Why do we think that having it all together is going to reach those who are falling apart?

We need to fall apart.  We need to have lives that aren’t all together.  We have been editing our lives for so long, and it’s pretty scary to live life unedited.  But see, when we edit our life, we are editing God as well.  God isn’t some pretty cross hanging on the wall of an immaculate home.  He’s a lot bigger and more unpredictable than that.  Sometimes I think we forget that our job here on earth is to point to God.  Not in some put together, simple wave in His direction, but in a desperate clinging to His side.

And you will be judged.  By other Christians, by people of the world.  Remember that Christ was judged with how he handled the Sabbath or who he hung out with.  But if we tell our story, share our struggle, really live in the communities God has given us, then I truly believe that God will take care of the rest.   God is going to use your words to reach that person who forgot that they still have value and worth, no matter what they have done or what they are going through.  Because no matter what society says about how we look or what we accomplish, that doesn’t dictate our worth.  Only God does, and He has given us great value.

That’s why I share my story.  This life is hard.  There are so many things on this earth that can wound us, physically and spiritually.  But God’s love can heal those wounds.  And the scars that remain are a reminder that we lived through it and overcame it.  It’s a reminder to share that story with others whose wounds are open, others searching for the healing balm to their pain.  Share the beautiful mess, the imperfect path, and the healing strength of a God that walks with us.