Hi! Welcome to FACETS of Faith! We’re in the final week of sharing a brief glimpse into our life stories. It’s our hope that as you read through ours, God will reveal a thread of truth through your own.
I love stories. Moving a lot as a child, my books and stories were constant companions regardless of where I lived. I could plunge into a mystery with Nancy Drew or go on an adventure through the wardrobe with Lucy and her siblings. I even remember my very first favorite book. I was three and loved to read Hamilton Duck’s Springtime Story with my mom. It was a gripping tale of a duck who fell asleep under a magnolia tree only to wake and think he was stuck in a snowstorm right in the middle of spring. Hamilton eventually realized he wasn’t stuck in a storm, but (spoiler alert!) magnolia petals as they fluttered down from the tree.
I remember being pulled into the story, wondering alongside Hamilton how in the world it could snow in spring. My mom read the story to me so many times I eventually knew which words went with which pictures and could “read” it back to her. But even though I knew the story, I still felt joy with Hamilton when he figured out it wasn’t snowing after all.
I love when stories do that: when we’re pulled in by the details of the story and feel what the characters feel and see what the characters see. I’m surprised when they’re surprised and feel fearful when they’re afraid. It’s a thrill and yet dangerous all at the same time. I zero in on what’s happening, and often lose sight of the bigger picture.
Kind of like Hamilton.
Truth be told, that happens to me in life, too. I get so wrapped up in the details of my life that I almost miss the bigger story God is writing.
I look at my life and see very clear chapters . . . maybe volumes: my childhood, teen years, early mamahood, a blended family, until . . . tragedy struck through the death of my youngest daughter followed years later by a heart-wrenching divorce.
It would’ve been easy to stay stuck there, mired in those details. To gaze at that part of my story and only see the snow, just like Hamilton the duck. I could’ve remained in the sorrow and grief, allowing it to consume me, define me.
And yet . . .
Through those devastating years I learned there was an Author who had been writing my story all along, allowing the good and the bad as He worked to accomplish a greater plan.
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 11b-12a, NIV
“‘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, NIV
I learned that God is good, regardless of my circumstances. In fact the heartbreak, the sorrow, and the sadness all seemed to highlight His goodness, not as the world defines good, but as Scripture defines it.
“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13, NLT
And oh, how I have seen His goodness! No, my precious daughter no longer walks this earth, and my heart yearns to hold her once more. But until that day, the sweetness of God’s comfort through those moments of sorrow gives me the strength to wait.
He has provided deep friendships and loving relationships. He shifted my perspective from the details of my circumstances to see the bigger plan He is creating and how my story fits that plan.
He has gifted me with a heart of hope—not in circumstances but hope in believing God is who He says He is and will do all He says He will do. He allowed me to experience the darkest moments a human can: staring death through the eyes of my daughter, as He revealed His love to me even in that—the stuff of nightmares. His deep, abiding, lavish love that knows no bounds or limits.
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17, NLT
And now? Now He is redeeming those years of broken hearts and shattered dreams. He’s revealing the work He’s done in me in order to pour out His grace through me so I can encourage others to find hope and healing through seasons of loss. I’m able to create safe space for people to hear that facing our worst nightmares may be our reality but He is bigger, He is stronger, He is with us, and He is victorious!
Then one day, when the time on earth has come to an end, God promises that everything we hoped for, everything we longed for, all of our brokenness will be fully healed.
“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’” Revelation 21:3-4 NLT
And then we’ll see that the snowstorm in our lives just might become fluttering magnolia petals, just like Hamilton.