Written for the July Issue of NADCE Quarterly
Whether it’s the child cuddled up next to mom enthralled with a picture book, a group of teens huddled around a campfire reciting tall tales, or the page turner that keeps us until the early hours of the morning, at the heart of us all is the desire for a good story.
Psalm 139 declares, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Every moment and chapter has been divinely authored. His hand penned the story of all creation, and it pens even the smallest detail of each of our lives. The stories He writes intersect, and in the intersections, we discover beauty, brokenness, love, and grace.
Too often though, I like to be the one holding the pen. Everyday, I’m learning to give the pen back to Him, because if I were the author of my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
As a high school student, I sat in World History class, examining a map of Asia, and thinking about how I would likely only ever read and learn about the places and never experience them firsthand. Then, in college, I was sent to Thailand on a mission trip and to Vietnam for student teaching. Only God could have penned those travels.
I remember hearing some fellow teachers during student teaching talking about their Christmas plans in Hawaii and distinctly thinking, “It must be nice to be able to go to Hawaii; I’m sure my finances won’t allow that and probably won’t ever visit there.” Now, here I am a Director of Christian Education in Hawaii. While I would have penned a ministry in the Midwest, God is writing this chapter in ways I couldn’t of imagined.
No matter where we are, what a joy it is to have a ministry of building relationships, hearing, and telling stories. We ponder His penmanship and plans and how our stories are woven into a greater narrative.
We tell of the Master Storyteller: the stories of God’s people defeating armies with clanging jars, men standing alive in a blaze of fire, women at wells, radical love on a cross, and a terrorist’s life transformed by the power of the Gospel .
We tell of the ways He’s intersected in our lives and lives of those we serve: the VBS volunteer who should be dead because his heart stopped twice, the boy with autism who has made friends at Sunday school, the embrace with 89 year old woman in the emergency room who has just lost her only daughter.
Giving Him the pen is an act of trust. We never know exactly where we are in this ethereal narrative. Some chapters pass by fleetingly, while others are retold time and time again. No matter what, His presence is always there, intersecting in each moment in ways we often don’t even see and transforming our hearts to tell His story. Let this be our prayer: “Lord, Write your Word on our hearts. May the our lives proclaim your story.”