Nothing throws the blanket of anxiety around me like the question “What’s your story?” Such a simple thing to answer, but it catapults me into a panic. How should I respond? What am I going to say? After all, my story is just, well, ordinary.
An Ordinary Childhood
Childhood was a happy time. Days were spent playing in the tree house or riding bikes with neighborhood kids. We looked forward to the Miss American pageant each year, mainly so we could slurp 7-Up floats!
Books were a great friend for this shy little girl. Nothing suited me better than to curl up in a private corner of the yard, surrounded by azaleas, with a book in my hand. I solved murders on The Orient Express with Hercule Poirot. I fought for my life at Auschwitz during the Holocaust.
Though I traveled the world with books, my life revolved around home and family. I never imagined my college years would take me so far away – in more ways than one. It was an ordinary time, studying, partying and having fun. I met and married my college sweetheart, who was not a Christian. We moved away to a different state, and my heart moved away from the God I grew up with, knew, and loved.
During those years of married life I had been doing NOTHING to build my relationship with Christ. Here’s the extraordinary thing: God still loved me. He drew me back to Himself in a most unusual way: He pruned me through divorce.
We had been married eleven years, when I came home and found the note. It said “Babe, we need to talk.” My husband wanted a divorce. After all those years, I was being rejected. Utterly rejected. Tossed out. Like trash. It seemed nothing good could come from this. But God had other plans.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Fast forward several years. The Lord brought a wonderful, God-fearing man into my life. We married and began serving Him gladly in our local church. Everything’s coming up roses, and life is good. And then, the phone call.
“Ellen, Mama’s had a stroke.” I was able to spend precious time with her in the hospital. She fought hard for two months before the Lord took her home.
Who would have imagined it would be so hard…losing Mama? Her death brought a jumble of questions: Who am I, now that I have no parents? What legacy will I leave? What is my purpose? How will I remember my childhood stories? Mama couldn’t remember yesterday, but she could tell some tales from when we were youngsters! What’s a girl to do without her Mama? But God had a plan.
He began bringing the word “story” into my life. So much so, that I had to pay attention. I had write down the occasions it popped up. You know, so I wouldn’t forget! And to make sure I wasn’t crazy…
I googled story. Not “my story” or “your story”…just “story.” Here’s what I found:
The word story is derived from the Greek word meaning knowing, knowledge and wisdom.
Hmmm, one of my spiritual gifts is knowledge. What was God telling me? I began to write down stories from my childhood, stories from my ordinary everyday life. Stories of how God was working in my ordinary days. These evolved into my blog, and this is what I saw:
- When I was rejected, God caught me in His arms and assured me I was His beloved
- When I was overwhelmed with grief, the God of all comfort carried me until I could walk.
- When I didn’t know my purpose, He showed me the story He wanted to write with my life.
Who would have thought this shy introverted child, lover of words, books, nature and privacy, would be telling stories on the world wide web? No one, but God…
Linking up today with these lovely writers:
Barbie at The Weekend Brew
Kelly at Purposeful Faith
Holly at Testimony Tuesday
Holly at Coffee for Your Heart
Jennifer at Tell His Story