Do you have a hard story that has become a God story? Have you thought of sharing it with your readers or audience to help them through their own hard story?
Moments ago, I came across this journal entry from the day that would have been my 50th wedding anniversary. My heart was tender. No gathering. No celebrations. No presents. But today, three gifts emerged from this journal—three reminders that God knows I needed today, and perhaps you do, too. They’re from His heart to mine, and now to yours, as I share some of that morning’s slightly-tear-stained journal pages:
June 22, 2019: Today would have been our 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty years ago on this day, I was a smiling young bride with a heart full of dreams. Thirty years later, when another bride replaced me, I watched those dreams die. I thought I would, too. But today I awoke with a grateful heart, thanking the Lord for His care—as my provider, protector, and peace-giver—and for His blessings these twenty years since that young bride’s dreams ended and new ones began.
I was determined to allow only happy thoughts to enter my mind as I read that journal entry. But God had some things to teach me yet. Again. Imagine that. ☺
If you have a “hard story,” I trust that these reminders will encourage you as you continue to communicate hope to others:
God’s Reminder #1: There’s “a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance…” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
When storms hit, I tend to want to skip past the mourning to get to the dancing; ignore the sadness to focus on the singing. And that can be a wise and godly choice. But sometimes, it may not be the best—or the most honest, healthy, or biblical choice. By not dealing with those emotions and giving them to the Lord, I allow the enemy to have a heyday with them, and with me. “Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:10).
God’s Reminder #2: Without acknowledging the heart-hurt, we can’t point others to the heart-Healer.
If people who hear us speak or read our books know nothing of our sorrow, how can we testify to the Savior who brought us through—the One who can do the same for them? I believe we’re to neither dwell in the pain nor disregard it. God can use it for His glory, and for the good of His children. The psalmists, the apostle Paul, and other biblical writers have painted a sometimes-graphic picture of their battle so we can rejoice in the victory—and give glory to the Victor! “…It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them” (Psalm 44:3).
God’s Reminder #3: When Jesus walks us through the storm, He brings us out the other side, stronger, more focused, and growing more in His likeness.
We have a powerful testimony, not based on who we are, but on who He is: Our Rescuer and Redeemer, who lifts us from the pit and sets us on a Rock…takes our broken and makes it beautiful…turns our mess into a message. It’s all about Him. He comforts and restores: “He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds” (Psalm 147:2).
So here I am today, lifting the memories off the shelf momentarily, acknowledging both the heart’s aching and the heart’s healing—grieving the loss, yet being grateful for the gains.
- Am I sad that none of our loved ones will be gathering to celebrate today? Yes.
- Do I grieve the loss of my happily-ever-after dream for our family, and the shattered vows of “Till death do us part”? Absolutely.
- Am I grief-stricken or hopeless? No. I see now who God is and who I am; I know from where He has brought me, and who He has shown Himself to be through it all. And I am most grateful.
So today, dear friends, my heart is filled with hope from the Ultimate Hope-Giver to pass along to my audience, my readers—and to you, His faithful hope-giving communicators: “…in this world, you will have trouble but be of good cheer! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Our story, His glory. Let’s spread the good word, shall we?
Question: Has God ever put someone next to you for the purpose of sharing your hard-story-turned-God-story? What was the result?
About Sandi Banks
Sandi Banks is a certified speaker, published author, and inspirational storyteller. She weaves biblical insights into her stories of struggle, adventure, and misadventure in forty countries and forty-plus years of life. Sandi teaches devotional writing at the Speak Up Conference. Her stories are published in numerous devotionals by Zondervan, Guideposts, Tyndale House, and others. Connect with Sandi at www.sandibanks.com and follow her on social media.