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The Long and the Short of It

“Your life is a sacred journey…You are on the path…exactly where you are meant to be right now.”

Caroline Adams Miller

Before I even knew what was happening, my story began. I entered this world on a cold winter day in Minnesota. Since then, my mom has told me that she looked at me and told my dad, she looks like a Pam. Suddenly I had a name. Of course, I have no memory of that. If I wanted to tell you my story, I may begin telling the story differently, maybe from the vantage point of a tree in our backyard where I liked to sit as a young girl.

We each have our own story with plot lines pushing us forward and beckoning us to come. Yet part of our story seems to come printed in another language - it’s hidden from us. Our story may sound different when told by our mother or spouse. There are parts of ourselves that we are still discovering. There are some parts of our story that we may never fully understand, Some of the best parts of our story are yet to come. Of course, we all have characters in our story. And movement. There are conflicts and climaxes. The best stories make us want to keep turning the pages and I think that can help us as we live out our own. We have to keep moving forward.

The other thing that is important to remember is that our story is long. You may be going through something hard right now. This is not the end of your story. You may be going through something wonderful. This is not the end of your story. There is more yet to come.

The powerful thing about living our own story is that we can shape it. We can make changes. We can move along quickly or slow down. We can grow and evolve. We can become stronger and wiser. We can invite others to share in the journey with us. And. we can even ask someone else to narrate our story. Have you ever considered that? What if you let God be your narrator? What would that look like?

Among other things, I think God would place your story within his story. He made you to be with him and knew all about you even before you were a spark of hope in your mother’s eyes. He wants to join your story with Jesus’ story.

One thing that you cannot overlook in Jesus' story is the fact that he suffered. He was misunderstood, mocked, betrayed, tortured, and suffered to the point of death.  Early on in his ministry, he spent forty days in the desert without food being tempted by Satan. It may have felt like forever but it was a short part of his story. While the desert may be lacking lush vegetation it is alive with the presence of God.

Maybe that is what your story feels like. Maybe it feels like you are in the desert. We will all face times of trouble and pain and suffering. Hard times can be an opportunity to get real with ourselves and real with God. There is great freedom in being who you really are in your actual life in good times and in bad. Perhaps one of the things we all most long for is to be known and seen in the fullness of who we are.

Because Jesus is acquainted with suffering and overcame it, what can we learn from him? Jesus prepared for the trials and suffering that came his way by practicing solitude and silence, making time for prayer and fellowship with God his Father, living in community with friends (who would later become the church), serving others, and remembering God and His Word in response to all that came his way. When you go through times of suffering, you can do the same.

You don’t have to have everything all figured out today. There is one who knows and understands all the details and the nuanced points of the plot line of your life. God is well acquainted with the long and the short of it. John Swinton tells us, “God’s time is slow, patient, and kind and welcomes friendship; it is a way of being in the fullness of time that is not determined by productivity, success, or linear movements toward personal goals. It is a way of love, a way of the heart.” This is the way God will tell your story. I think it is going to be a good one!


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