Have you noticed how often we hear quotes and see posts about how we are the authors of our own life story? That we have the power to take and transform our lives, molding them into precisely what we want them to be? Do you believe that we are authors of our own life story?
To a certain degree, yes, we are. We are the ones who write down the draft of what we’d like our life to be like. We make the choices that determine how the story progresses forward, and we choose how we respond to new chapters and circumstances as they arrive. We can choose which other characters in our narrative we do or don’t interact with.
However, have you noticed that sometimes life takes the pen right out of our hands and writes in a scene we don’t want to be there? One that topples our expectations or inserts a plot twist we never saw coming? Perhaps it brings with it unimaginable grief and pain or sends our life careening on a path we never wanted.
I’ve been reading an excellent book by Rhonda Robinson called FreeFallthat discusses how we can hold on to our hope and faith when life writes in devastating plot twists.
Rhonda writes, “We live in a culture that values self-reliance. We are told we are masters of our own fate. We can write our own story. We did not write this story… You never think your life could shatter so quickly. We plan our lives for what makes us happy. We don’t plan our lives for sorrow. But the God of the universe knows the depth of sorrow and what can be birthed out of it.”
We Can’t Control Our Story
The idea of being able to write your own life story is birthed out of the idea that we have some measure of control over what happens. While we do have some control over things and how they go, quite often, things happen that we have no control over. Losing the feeling that we are in control can be ground-shaking. And the destruction of our expectations can be equally as jarring.
It’s so hard to do, but we have to let go of our tight grip on the pen and hand it over to the One who writes our stories and knows every word, every backstory, and every ending. Even if God allows life to write in a tragedy or painful plot twist, which He will, He provides us comfort and a way to have hope. He writes in ways for us to navigate those moments as we cling to His hand.
God knows our deep sorrows and grief and the tragedies we’ve faced. He knows the traumas and hurts from which we try to heal. He knows the struggles in the seasons of waiting. And He knows what things can grow out of those circumstances.
Growth in Unexpected Places
I’ve traveled a lot and have seen some pretty remarkable things. But an old petrified tree has stuck in my mind over the years. Thousands of years ago, a volcanic eruption buried the tree in ash and mud, leaving its base and roots preserved as petrified wood. The top part of the tree was destroyed. Now, thousands of years later, flowers and a new tree have taken root inside that old tree and are growing tall. A new forest has risen up around the old one that was destroyed, creating new life and a thriving environment for animals.
I often think of that tree when something burns down my world. I cling to the hope that the Author of the Universe has written something redemptive into my story and that something beautiful can grow even out of my hurts, sorrows, and grief.
Lysa TerKeurst says, “While we can’t change what was we can appreciate the breathtaking reality of what is. We can look for what is truly beautiful in our lives right now.”
There are still moments of beauty and hope to hold on to when things are at their darkest and most difficult. While we may grieve what has been written into our story and the loss of how we expected things to go, we can trust that God will carry us through those sorrows and birth something beautiful from them.
© 2023 Lainey La Shay