Letter From The Editor

Spending almost every waking moment of my days taking care of two very tiny boys, I have little margin for much else. I barely have time to get my teeth brushed or take care of basic human needs like getting enough sleep or eating more than leftover scraps off a highchair tray.

But I always, always can somehow squeeze enough time out of my day for a good story.

I will, 100% of the time, sacrifice precious sleep to listen to absolutely anything my husband wanted to share with me about his day. I literally delight in hearing his stories about work or friends or the run he went on during his lunch break.

TV can most assuredly be a time waster, but, for me, my one-hour-ish of television watching a day is life giving because it’s a good story played out before my eyes. Almost every TV show I sacrifice precious time to watch involves intriguing characters I invest in. I sit in a dark, quiet room eating Chicago style popcorn until I feel sick while watching a story unfold as I get to enter into another world. Sometimes I allow myself to relax and laugh and sometimes I end up in the bathroom weeping because the story opened something within me or triggered emotions that needed releasing. Or something. Who knows. (The weeping bit has maybe only happened once or twice, and may or may not have involved Toy Story 3.)

Immediately after my firstborn son, Noah, died after only a few weeks on earth, I threw myself into every single story I could get my hands on about loss, and specifically child loss. I don’t consider myself a bookworm or someone who always has his or her head in a book, but in this particular season I craved learning about someone else’s experience with grief and was compelled to read their story. I also had way too much time on my hands, living with the void of Noah not coming home, that I needed to fill with something. Books became a lifeline.


Stories have the power to bring people together.


Mostly, I needed to know I wasn’t alone. I needed to know the chest-crushing pain would ease up a bit. I needed to know that I had the capacity, somehow within myself, to survive this. I needed to know that Noah’s life mattered.

Stories have the power to bring people together. When we share our story, when we let others in, we unite. If our stories are similar, we validate each other’s experiences. If our stories are different, we deepen our perspective.

I don’t make it a habit to speak for God. I cannot claim to know his thoughts or what his desires might be for every single little situation of our lives.

I would like to think, however, that God loves a good story too. Think of it.

His son was born to a virgin girl in a stable alongside barn animals, yet visited by a group of distinguished foreigners bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Intriguing.

The closest friends of Jesus endured an agonizing three-day wait filled with wonder, confusion and massive disappointment, after the shocking death of their Messiah. The hopes of their entire world were seemingly dead. Cliffhanger to the max, am I right?

Seemingly, God is a masterful storyteller. Yet, we don’t always know how he’s working, or if he’s working at all. Prayers go unanswered. Questions overwhelm in the waiting. We don’t always know what’s going on and why. We wonder how involved he truly is in our story. Does he write our stories page by page? And if so, how do we explain the tragic parts? Is that really a part of his plan? Because, to me, that feels like he must be just a really bad planner.


We know something in the waiting that they didn’t know then. We know how it ends.


Here’s the thing. Our God is deeply mysterious. He doesn’t give us step-by-step instructions, or a detailed map to follow. He gives us freedom to live out our own story by allowing us to make our own decisions. He is not a micromanager.

But he’s also not disengaged.

What I know for sure is that God is closer than the very air you’re breathing right now. He weeps when we weep. He celebrates our joys. He’s near. He comes in close. He leans in.

Most days we may feel like the Jesus followers who were there right after his death – bewildered and confused.

Life doesn’t always make sense. We do not know what the next chapter of our story holds.

Yet.

We know something in the waiting that they didn’t know then. We know how it ends.

Spoiler alert. The story ends with redemption.

Each of us longs for resolution, for “it all” to mean something. And it does. With what Jesus accomplished on the cross, it’s finished. The suffering. The pain. It all will be made new. I have no idea how but I have to have faith that it will.

And that’s a happy ending we all will be satisfied with. No doubt.

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