By B.J. Funk-
My daddy never liked that my friends minimized my double name into initials. Until he went to heaven at the age of 87, he called me Betty Jo unless, since I was the baby, he affectionately called me Baby Jo. He often put me on his knee and told me the story of the Betty Jo Princess. That’s me. I was his princess. His story of me was filled with sweet thoughts, beautiful pictures, and happy endings and was formed by how my daddy viewed me. I wanted to stay in that story forever.
But, then life happened. Young adulthood brought disappointments and difficulties, and the Betty Jo Princess felt the need to hide from life. Climbing back up and shaking myself off, I was ready for the next story. God’s story. That’s where my heart is now, and that’s the story I want to stay in forever. He, too, sees me as His princess. The real story of me is formed by the way my Father views me.
Like me, your story has not turned out exactly as you had planned either. During your up days and down days, every question and every answer did not feel good. Perhaps you felt the need to hide. After some time, you climbed back up, shook yourself off and began the real story of your life. God’s story. That’s the story that balances highs with lows, smiles with tears, and brokenness with strength. No glossing over. No kisses making it all well. No rainbow hunting or sugary hugs. Just a reality that is hard and yet secure, because we all know by now that it’s much better to let life shape you than to hide behind everything we presume is real, only to find out it never was.
In practically every story you read in the Bible, you can find yourself. Let’s take, for instance, the book of Genesis. Walk into the Garden of Eden as God comes down to visit with his children. Are you hiding beside Adam and Eve, hoping God won’t find you because you have disobeyed? Move with Moses as he begins the long desert journey with the Hebrews. When all of the weary travelers begin to grumble because they have not found water, is that you standing close to Moses and grumbling the loudest because things aren’t going your way? When Moses came down with the Ten Commandments, had you given all of your gold jewelry to help make the golden calf you could worship with the others? When did you decide your God is not enough? Seriously?
Watch Joseph’s brothers throw their little brother into a cistern, leave him for dead and then lie to Jacob, deceiving their aging father for years. How long have you held on to a lie in your family? Have you deceived someone who trusted you?
The remarkable and unbelievable part of your walk through Genesis and all of the Bible is that God walks it with you, making a weaving out of the ups and downs of your life, placing love right beside every wrong choice you make. The amazing truth that stands out in your story is that God watched you hide, grumble, deceive, lie, and worship an idol, and he didn’t throw you off the planet because of it. Instead, he tenderly embraced you, loving you through slip-up after slip-up, never condemning you and always reminding you that you are precious in His sight.
You might not always hear His love sounds. He places them inside of us, near our hearts, where they vibrate healing life. You might not always feel his love touches, but they are there. Silently, sweetly, and carefully, he stamps your hand with “Approved” and then waits for you to find out that you really are.
As the story of your life takes the heavy waves that crash against your soul, you will be reminded quite often that you are loved with an unfailing love by an unfailing God. On the days when the tears flow and you don’t understand, God watches closely as you give your tears to him. He doesn’t plan on ever leaving you. If there’s any leaving to do, you’ll have to be the one to do it.
But, why would you? What’s safer on the greener grass of the other side? Only God. Realize today that whatever is happening in your life is the continuation of God’s story for your life. Your story is still unfolding. Seeing your life this way puts a stamp of “Whatever – and Hallelujah” all over your heart.
I choose the story of my life to be God’s story. What about you?