New pages are turning! I’m anticipating adventure and exploration with a group of like-minded women writers this year. The following, a piece of creative fiction (originally submitted for the faithwriters.com writing challenge in May 2010), seems appropriate for encouraging the members of that group now, and a good reminder for me. You don't have to be a writer for it to resonate with you as well.
(Original Title: Text of Life)
Lord, I’m feeling really lonely. I want deeper friendships. I see the women at my church who have friends they go out to lunch with, have over to their homes, take trips with…they’re friendly towards me but there’s a sense of distance, like they don’t want to invite me in. But not just at church, in my neighborhood and at work as well. And I want to minister to them too. How can I do that if we don’t connect?
Have you shared your book with them?
My book? What do you mean my book? I’m not a writer!
Your life is being written moment by moment, child. What you’ve experienced from the day you were born until now is your book.
Hmm, I’ve never thought of it that way. But no, I haven’t really wanted to do that, share my book with anyone.
It’s… well, for one thing, it’s too depressing.
Who wants to hear about my parents’ alcoholism, the abuse, my dabbling in the occult and my promiscuity? Before I met you, Lord, my life was a real mess, a downhill slide…hardly inspiring or uplifting. I’d rather talk about You, Lord.
My darling child, I do want you to talk about Me, and you must. But I have a question for you. Your life story is depressing for whom?
Why, for anyone I’d try to talk to, of course.
Delightful child, are you sure the real reason isn’t because you’re the one it’s too depressing for?
Whoa! You sure know how to ask the right questions, Lord!
I know the right answers too, daughter.
I’m listening, Lord!
The people in your sphere of influence may not read my Word, but they do read you. They will relate to you when you are honest about your past, when you don’t deny or discount it, or dismiss it as having no bearing on the present, or assume it will be depressing to them.
When they know what you’ve been through, they’ll be able to see the clearer how I’ve made all the difference. Even the women at church have secrets they hide because they think no one will understand. What would it mean to them to know someone like you who has been there?
If I’m going to be honest, Lord, I have to admit that I don’t want to know their stories. Whenever I hear them talking about their pasts I’m impatient for them to just move on…to get over it. Is that a lack of compassion on my part?
I’m aware of that in you, my daughter. And the answer is, yes. But it begins much closer to home.
Are you saying I haven’t been compassionate towards myself?
Now you’ve caught onto that twist in your plot! And here’s an even better twist: My compassion will flow through you to others, as you are willing to receive it for yourself.
Wow, Lord! I think I know why I’ve been afraid to open up like that. What if they turn their backs on me, see me as the scum I know I’ve been and decide I’m not worthy of their friendship?
Oh, I know, some may turn away—I don’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want to. But I have established a mandate for other believers to be supportive when you open the book of your heart. I assure you, there will be some who welcome you, who want to read your story. And I will lead you to them.
Precious child, take a look in My Book. This is something King David discovered. See here? “God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.” You might have noticed that My Book is full of stories that could cause stomachs to churn and hair to curl or stand straight up on end. But David and many others recognized how important it was to record not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. You’ve been able to relate to that, haven’t you?
Oh, yes, Lord! I have! I love your Word so much!
So, child of mine, how can I rewrite the text of your life, if you’re not willing to open the rough draft?
This will not be easy but I’m willing to submit my manuscript to you, Lord, by sharing it with those who desperately need to see it.
They will be blessed, as will you, my daughter!
(Scripture from 2 Samuel 22:21-25, in The Message Bible)