so much has happened since I last posted.
Mostly, my intention to "start writing" is relentlessly nagging me, and the "but where to begin?!" answer is becoming swallowed up in the pleas of that voice inside...
And something happened to motivate me... I was inspired by the sweetness and creativity of a woman who is busier than I (with 4 darling children to attend to). A woman who I feel a connection to although our paths have never crossed (as far as I know) and maybe won't in this life. But her story moved me and motivated me in ways I just cannot explain, which I find is common for a spiritual connection... God just places people on our hearts and says "I'll tell you later...".
So much of what holds me back from telling my story is that it doesn't look pretty right now. A few close friends can see the dazzling beauty that I see in the hope of it, but for the most part it is still messy and rarely enjoyable to put in print. In my less faithful moments I am reminded that the only difference between being devoted and pathetic is the outcome... if the story ends well it is romantic and inspiring, but if it's not a happy ending the one holding on to hope looks like a big loser. Maybe I hesitate to share the beauty I see until there is more tangible evidence of it... since the current state of things seems to taint the love story that came before, rather than being part of a bigger story that is just beginning to unfold. Sometimes I just get tired, and I wish THIS wasn't my story, that it didn't include such ugly things. Sometimes I am stunned by disbelief that this is really happening.
As I process this, I think I understand why I feel so close to Stephanie and her story. It's because she is about to wake up in the midst of the ugly part, the part that she would never choose for herself, the part that will truly test her and stretch her and hurt her, but will make her privy to a facet of who God is that most will never know if she will just keep looking at him. She will have moments of agony and dread that break my heart to even think about. She will have nightmares recalling what happened and wake up still in that reality, wishing that she could wake up and stair at the ceiling as her husband assures her "it was just a bad dream". She is on the cusp of something that I understand and would not wish on anyone; when the tranquility of your lovely story is shattered, and the future is more scary than anything you ever imagined. But the other thing I know is that she will have some moments, (maybe not for a really long time) that she will be so cared for and loved and refined that she will catch herself more than once being glad for this. The terrible, agonizing, transforming power of grace will astound her when she gets the meaning of it on a different level than she could have ever known had her story lingered any longer in "happily ever after".
I think that could be the difference between a story and a testimony.