So confession… I requested to write the blog post for this week. I wanted this week because yesterday (March 19) was the five year anniversary of when I allowed God to enter my mess and brokenness following years of closing myself off due to depression. It’s a big deal for me because that began the journey into who I am today.
For a really long time I was fixated on that moment. It was MY story. It was the story I would share at retreats or when I found myself in a vulnerable situation with someone. But after my story/moment didn’t feel the same after telling it at a young women’s retreat I worked once, I was puzzled. I honestly didn’t think it had the same effect on people, because sharing it didn’t have the same effect on me. Then I realized: maybe that’s not my story anymore. It was a defining moment in my life; there’s no denying that. But it wasn’t the end all, be all on my journey to and with Christ.
Instead, it was the beginning of my story, because, well, all stories need a beginning. Mine just happened to feature an ugly cry during two hours of silence on one of the first retreats I ever went on (way to break me in, guys). So when I found myself sobbing in a courtyard on March 19, 2011, I like to think that that is the moment I turned over the pen of my story to a God Who has not ceased in His faithfulness.
I’m a writer.
I’m a writer because I’ve always been obsessed with storytelling. I truly see it as an art form. I guess that’s why I can appreciate a good movie (and, yes, eight times out of ten it’s probably a Disney movie) or book. If they know how to tell a story in a way that is visually appealing, in a way where the words flow in the only way they seem to know how to, AND it pulls at your heartstrings in some way, it’s guaranteed that I’m going to be obsessed with it soon.
I think that’s how God works in our own stories. But whereas any movie has its end credits and any book its “About the Author,” our stories are never-ending, and they’re constantly changing. Nothing is clean cut and finalized because mercy is always coming for us in whatever capacity we find ourselves needing it.
Just think: if I was still getting only the mercies and graces that I received at an earlier time in my life, say freshman year of college, I wouldn’t have continued to grow as a person, as a Christian, and I probably wouldn’t be able to handle the things life is presently throwing my way.
I know, Jimmy.
So today we celebrate Palm Sunday. Jesus is welcomed into Jerusalem like the King that He is. He humbly rides into the city on the back of a donkey, and the crowd lays down their cloaks and palms along the road in welcome. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s just the next step on Jesus’s journey to fulfilling His earthly mission. If we don’t have Palm Sunday, then we don’t have the Crucifixion or, more importantly, the Resurrection.
If we think the story stops when we accept and acknowledge God as King… There’s no Crucifixion, no suffering that has any worth in our lives, and there’s also no Resurrection in the areas of our lives where we desperately need it but feel we least deserve it.
The weight of the cross is a story. His cross, our partaking in His cross, they’re both two beautifully interwoven stories that bring real change into our world.
Our stories don’t happen without His, and our stories ARE His. He guides us through our stories by directing us back to His own. There is not one heartache that Jesus does not understand. There is not one wound that He cannot heal. He has not faltered, and I don’t think He’s going to. He’s been pretty consistent.