Not sure how all of this fits together, or if it does, but here it is anyway …
It’s a curious thing, this business of living. We go through each day in a whirl, triaging the things that need to be done until we fall in bed at night with most of our list still waiting for us. We focus on the individual minutes, and sometimes there are so many things staring us in the face that we barely realize we’re stringing those individual minutes into a life that means something. We look up and a week has passed, a month, another month, and we’re not sure where it went or how we’re any different now than when it started.
That’s why we have to be purposeful in our moments — because they are what make up our lives. We can’t have a grand plan for our lives and then live as if that plan doesn’t exist each day. The plan is in the details.
In those moments, we’re living our stories. We all have them, whether we think we do or not. Many people tend to think they’re not interesting, that they have nothing to offer, that they don’t have a story.
I beg to differ. And here’s why:
Imago Dei. The image of God. It’s in all of us, and it expresses itself in a multitude of ways. None of us are boring, none of us are ordinary, none of us are the same. We all have stories.
Especially as Christians. We are the stars that Abraham saw flung across the sky. We are his descendants in Christ, and God has purposes for his glory that transcend each one of us, but that use us to display that glory.
Walk into a church, any church — say, our church — and point someone out. If we don’t know their story, we can find out. It’s there, you just have to dig sometimes. You never know what you’re going to find when you peel back the layers.
Here is a young mother who lost her baby boy at 37 weeks. She’s displaying grace and courage and salvation in the face of heartbreaking loss, and we’re all better for it. That’s her story for now. She will have others.
Here is a young man, engaged to be married, waiting for his fiancee’s visa to come through so they can begin their life together. It’s just a piece of paper, but it’s an important piece. With it comes happiness. Without it, there is longing.
Here is one of the most cheerful men you’ve ever met. He runs a plumbing and heating company and provides jobs for guys who need them — he’s like a one-man employment agency. He gets his hands dirty, he’ll answer your random plumbing questions and he does it all with a smile. And then he likes to preach the glory of God on the weekends.
Here is a mom with three little boys. Here’s another one with four little girls. And they’re not alone. Dozens of young families are training, growing, struggling, living, reaching for the ideal of what they think they’re supposed to be. And it’s hard. Sometimes desperately so. But ask any of them and they’ll tell you it’s worth it, that these small, eternal lives with runny noses, dirty diapers and constant questions are motivation enough.
Here is a pastor with a brilliant mind and a booming voice. He could be off in an ivory tower, but he’s here, using his heart of compassion to drum theology in the lives of young men so they can turn it into practical application in the lives of their future church members. And for fun, he coaches soccer. From eschatology to how to spread the field, he’s got you covered.
Here is an older couple with silver hair. They’re retired, but far from useless. They’re experts at providing rides for people who need it in the service of God’s kingdom. And he hiked the entired Appalachian Trail — who knew? He’s got a journal in enormous three-ring binders to prove it.
Here is a family — several families, in fact — who have moved from various states to pursue God’s call in their lives. They’ve sold houses, taken their kids out of school, packed up all their belongings into a truck and then unpacked them in an unfamiliar house. They’re out of their comfort zones, but they’re following God.
Here is a young father. He works hard by day and does graphic design — for websites, books, billboards — by night, usually late. And he’s good, really good. He should be paid for doing this full-time. Maybe someday. His wife just spent three weeks in a medical clinic in another state, learning to manage the pain and fatigue brought on by a disease. This after several surgeries to fix a different physical problem. And that after their newborn son endured surgery after surgery of his own so he could, you know, breathe. And they endure each day, each trial with hope.
There are many more stories to tell. Some are inspiring, some are incredibly hard. We all have stories, and they all point to God and his gospel. We live, work, move and breathe only by his grace. We talk, we celebrate, we dream, we grieve with hope, we press on because of Him.
What’s your story?