Each and everyone of us has a story. The big and the small events, people, and circumstances that have shaped our lives, our character, and our beliefs stand as landmarks in our lives. There is a reason for our story.
We have a God who loves us and is so involved in the little details of our lives that we will never fully grasp the glory of His power, love, and might until we are with Him in Heaven.
One of my favorite promises in scripture is Romans 8:28:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
God is working out every detail for each of us for a much bigger picture than our little minds can grasp. I believe when we intentionally remember what God has done in our life, we start to get a glimpse of the vastness and majesty of our God.
Yet, we are a forgetful people.
Turning our eyes to the Bible, we see the Israelites in Exodus. They experienced many incredible miracles right before their eyes (e.g., parting of the Red Sea, manna from Heaven). But each time they would forget God’s faithfulness and deliverance and go right back to asking where is God and why has He forsaken us in this desert?
Moving forward into the era of Jesus’ ministry, and we see Peter in John 13 & 18 who is adamant that he would lay down his life for Christ, but in the end, he denies Jesus three times before the rooster crows.
There are so many stories of the forgetfulness of God’s people all throughout scripture, where God has provided so much through the lives of His followers, but they all forget so quickly.
We are no different.
I want to point you back to the faithfulness of God. I want you to remember the path you have taken to get where you are today.
There are two reasons for this little exercise.
1) To help you realize how far you have come in life, and 2) To be reminded of God’s faithfulness in mending all these pieces together for good.
I promise that you will get out of it what you put into it, and in the end, it will be worth the time you take to complete this simple exercise.
How to Determine and Write Your Story
In order to do this little exercise, you’ll want to grab a journal and pen, as well as commit to a few hours of work.
Note from Leigh Ann: As a mom of little ones, this exercise was challenging due to the many interruptions. From start to finish, this exercise took me more than a week to complete. I just worked a little here and there, being diligent to continue moving forward. It can be tempting to put this exercise off, but outlining my life story helped to reveal many wounds that needed the healing power of God and an opportunity to see the “why” behind some of the hard moments of my life. It’s worth plowing through even with all the interruptions of being a mom of little children.
On your piece of paper, divide your paper into three vertical sections. You can do this by folding your paper to create creases or by simply drawing three vertical lines.
1. Create titles
First, look back at the many seasons of your life, and jot down a title for each season in the first section. Be sure to space your titles out giving you plenty of room for the next step.
Some examples would for me were Preschool, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, College, Grad School, Marriage, My different job changes, major moves (from TN to CO), and the list goes on.
Your seasons may be similar to mine, or completely different. However, break up the seasons of your life, giving them titles.
2. Take a trip down memory lane
Second, jot down some memorable events, people, and moments in your life during each season. Don’t worry about putting them in perfect order, but try to capture all memories into categories.
3. Summarize each life category
Finally, go back and read through the notables of each season and summarize how you can see God working in your life and shaping you for each stage of where you have been, where you are, and where he may be taking you.
When was the last time you thought about many of these things? Are there life events you had forgotten? Isn’t it encouraging to be reminded of how God’s hand has been all over your life?
We are a forgetful generation, and it is so important that we remember what God has promised and what he has already done.
How has God gifted you?
So now I have one more step for you. Looking at your whole story, think about and jot down some of the ways God has gifted you as an individual?
Consider how you can use those gifts for God’s Kingdom here on earth. More specifically, how can you use those gifts within your family and your home to live out and share the Gospel with others?
A tangible example from my own life after doing this little exercise:
One of my gifts is encouragement. I didn’t realize it until many people in my life pointed it out and either shared how my encouragement has blessed them or someone else they know. It has always been pretty natural for me to see something about a person that is worth pointing out and genuinely encourage them in that area. I just like to make people smile and feel appreciated and significant.
That is much of the reason I wanted to write this post. I want to encourage you to discover your gifts and the significance you have in the story God is putting together. Never underestimate the power of one person to make a difference in the world around them. You don’t have to be recognized for the Nobel Peace Prize to have made a difference.
In fact, life is so much more about the thousands of small moments than the few big ones. As I have discovered this gift God has given me, I have a strong conviction that I should steward it well and use it to glorify God and not for my own self-advancement.
This is how this gift plays out in my life in the area of my home and in regards to living the gospel out through my family and home.
We love to have people over to our home. We enjoy providing hospitality (Leigh Ann’s gifting 😉 ) to people we meet in town, through church or whatever other activities we get involved in, by having them over to share a meal with us (dinner most of the time) and just being intentional about getting to know them.
We like to ask people what their story is, and then encourage them in their purpose and gifting, and even go so far as to challenge them to use that gifting for the glory of God. If they are not a believer, we pray for the words to share the Gospel with them through the conversation and help them understand why Christ paid the great price He paid with His life for them.
God has a purpose for each and everyone one of us, but it is not for the purpose of our own glorification (albeit for our good), but to glorify the one and only God who is deserving of all the glory and honor and praise that we could ever bestow.
God has written our life story from beginning to end. Our past and journey is not without purpose. Our life story gives meaning to why He saved us.
Our story, understanding it as fully as we can this side of Heaven is an integral part to our witness. The hard parts of our life work in us compassion for others walking the same hard roads. We can come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ in their struggles because we’ve been there.
But too often, we forget we’ve been down that road before. Like the Israelites, we forget all the ways God has provided for us. But taking time to put pen to paper will remind us now and in the years to come as we review our life story over and over again.
Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! ~Psalm 96:1-3
Complete the steps in this post to determine how God has worked in you and through you over the years of your life. What has he equipped you with? How can/do you glorify Him and further His Kingdom through this gift?