From inside the meeting fellowship and outside of it.
From a workers viewpoint to that of just an ordinary person.
From a servant to a saint.
Am I any kind of authority? Not really. I’ve just had a very few experiences along the way compared to most. Have I had regrets? Yes, quite a few. Do those regrets come back to haunt me from time to time? Yes, they do. And, that is what this post is all about.
Re-writing my story.
I read an article recently by Heidi Priebe titled “26 Ways to Take Your Life Back When You’re Broken” and one of those ways was to re-write your story. She said:
“The past is nothing more than a story we repeat for ourselves and allowing ourselves to understand this is an incredibly liberating notion.”
She talked about journaling out experiences:
“until you’re able to come to a new understanding of why things happened the way they did. Learn to pinpoint the experiences for growth within the destruction of your past and then move forward with those experiences close to your heart.”
I don’t believe anyone gets through life without some regrets; decisions they made that they wish they hadn’t made. And, not just in our youth either. Those regrets can keep us awake at night, eat us alive, wear us down, rob us of our joy, and cause us to get stuck in the present because we haven’t deal with our past.
Of course, that is the essence of the Gospel; to forgive, to redeem, to set us free. We know this in our heads and hearts but sometimes there are unfinished chapters that come back to haunt us. Not because God hasn’t forgiven them but because we need to re-name them.
So, in this light, I thought first of all of the times in the Scripture when God renamed someone. He was helping them rewriting their story. Like Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Cephas to Peter. Revelation 2:17 speaks about a time when those who are saved will get a new name in heaven and that will be the ultimate life story do-over! Our names are going to be very carefully chosen by God Himself and each name will loaded with meaning. What I find also interesting in that verse is that it says that no one will know our new name except each individual person. I wonder why? Someday we’ll know. We can only speculate now on that one.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”
But my main point here is this; God is going to re-write our story. We will be known as we are known. Truly known. (Is a good thing!? I think it will be because He is going to finish the story; not us.) The Bible calls it redemption. Turning ashes into joy. Bringing to life what once was dead.
What about my story? I’ve already re-written some of those chapters from bad to good and it has really helped. Like my parents’ divorce when I was very young. God used this experience over and over again when I was in the Work (ministry) when working with children of divorce. Or my relationships with men (beginning with my father) that did not go well. My father forsook our family when I was 5; Jesus assured me He would never forsake me. I’ve dated men who could not commit, love me unconditionally, or choose me over others. Jesus is 100% committed to me, loves me unconditionally, and chose me!
A quote from The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen & Mark Hyman says
“God promises that he will fit everything – even your setbacks, relapses, and failures – into his plan and purpose for your life. God loves to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones and crucifixions into resurrections.”
A big one for me that needed re-writing was all my years in the ministry; nearly 22 of them. I have ranted and raved at others and at God for those years, calling them wasted at times, feeling they are the reason I am alone now and have so little materially compared to my peers; both relationally and financially.
This kind of thinking got me nowhere. I still don’t know for sure if it was God calling me into that ministry back in 1974 or if it was pressure from the group (the fellowship), or my own messed up thinking of wanting approval of others and to be the best in that group that I could be. I was so determined at the time to do something different in my life than other members of my family had done. Maybe it was a little of everything.
What I do know now is that being in the ministry those years saved me from some very likely heartache. I would not have known how to choose wisely in marriage at that age so the likelihood of ending up divorced (like all the women in my family) and being a single mother were in my favor. I will say this; ALL the women in my family who raised their children alone did an amazing job. They were powerful, strong women who raised some great kids who are now amazing adults.
Being in the ministry put me in the Word on a daily basis at a level I seriously doubt I would have attained otherwise and I will be forever grateful for that. I met hundreds of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise and got to see much of the US and Canada. I had strong friendships and experienced a comadarie with the workers that I miss to this day.
Finally, had I not been in the ministry so long, I may never have begun to long for so much more of God than I was experiencing in that church. To see what was missing and what was so wrong. I wouldn’t have started asking, seeking and knocking and I wouldn’t have discovered the Gospel of Grace and freedom and deliverance of the stronghold that church had on me.
It has taken me years to re-write those chapters of my life. The years of loneliness after leaving the meetings lead me into a deeper, sweeter relationship with God than I had ever known before. Without so many others to lean on, I leaned into Him hard and found He could handle it. Yes, I don’t have much materially or financially but I have what I need; just not always what I want.
God has been faithful every day, every year. He has not failed or forgotten me no matter how weak my faith at times, how small my love, how foolish my choices. He keeps refining my spirit and my character and teaching me more and more of His love and grace.
So, my readers, what chapters in your life do you need to re-write for the sake of your peace and your liberty and your growth?