One's own story- between beauty and ashes
Updated: Apr 14
Dear friends, dear wonderfully created women of God,
every day of our lives is already set before it unfolds before our eyes.
It is set where we live, how we grow up, who we are and become. We are artfully conceived, a masterpiece of God's creation. Created in His image- as men and women. What a beauty! We come from love, are created out of love, and the plan, the days of our lives are conceived with love. We are neither a product of chance nor an accident. We are- deeply intended and wanted.
And yet. And yet.
I have struggled, wrestled with this passage. "Oh, Jesus. It was all meant to be. The poverty, the loneliness, the exclusion. My mother's stroke. The overwhelm. The sexual assault I experienced, the child molesters who tried to lure me into gardens. The boy who abused me when I was not even 11 years old. The desperate search for love, for support, getting lost in esotericism- all of that, all of that, Jesus? Don't you think that might be a bit much? Somehow?"
Fear, deep shame. The feeling of having been robbed. Feeling of having failed, too broken to ever be restored.
"All of this is YOUR work? Is it your storyline? How wonderful." Cynicism, bitterness, disappointment, inner distress.
"All the days were already written in your book". No, it didn't animate me to praise God for a long, long time. It seemed to me rather as if I were a dramatic, tragic side strand in an almost endless epic, of no relevance, of no value. And my soul wept.
Our own story.
When we look at it, we look at it "out of our own skin." With all the experiences, hurts, with all our own mistakes, with this perception burned into us. "I can't get out of my skin" - we say, and we mean, often resignedly: "I can only be myself - with all the imprints and all the experiences. I can't change the way I perceive the world". And yes: We will fail, without new experiences, without a new perspective.
Pain, suffering, shame, fear, anger: these feelings are intense.
They color our perception darkly, negatively, they focus our gaze on hurts and on what is not good. They hold our gaze captive like a wound on which we stare in disbelief, unable to avert our eyes.
"It's not okay, it's broken-it's not the way it should be"-it's the startled realization that what we see and have experienced was not meant to be. We are shocked to see the consequences of these breaks and these hurts - in us, in our hearts - and in our own ability to love. It is not just, it is not fair, it is not right!
No, dear ones, it is not either.
This inner cry for restoration, for truth, for beauty and the longing for an answer to all the pain - that is the truth.
Inside we feel very well and very precisely that this could not be the plan.
But why? Then why did the things happen that happened?
The answer has been overused, it has been simplified, and yet it does not change the truth:
Because we live in a fallen world.
Because we live in Satan's domain of dominion. Because he who comes only to kill and destroy does everything he can to make us doubt God's good plan for our lives, to deny it, to accuse God rather than him, who with his lies, his seduction, his destruction, wantonly runs sharpie over the perfect picture, tearing it apart and mocking it, twisting words and tempting us to actions that ruin the whole story, the whole performance. He entices, he promises power, he makes self-righteous. He tempts, he binds, he hardens hearts. And so we act wrongly, barely able to recognize the harmonious picture of beauty that God has created. So we are attacked by others, by their inability to recognize God.
The world is at war, and the target is your heart. It is your ability to love, bless, live and be free that is the prize. Where are you in this struggle? How is your heart doing?
One day, when I couldn't stand it anymore, these open questions- and this martial, brutal thinking that "God must break us", that I therefore had to suffer all this because HE wanted it that way, I threw my despair on the cross:
"Where were you, Jesus? Where were you, darn, when this was happening? Where? Why?"
The answer was one that came immediately. The one that came clearly, that I couldn't make up, and that is so fundamentally biblical that I was convicted, comforted, embraced, loved, and in His arms like a child just breastfed:
"I was there. I held you. I have kept your heart. You can still love."
"You can still love. It's not over. You were not broken. All of this could not break you."
It's a radical turning back to what Jesus wants for us.
A reduction to the essentials. And as I researched, examined my heart, I realized it was true. Whatever was, I never lost the desire to love. I never stopped loving.
It is important that we realize that all this violence, lies, suffering is not in God's plan for us. That our longing for peace, for beauty, for being loved and loving ourselves is the truth, the beauty and glory of our Lord. And that we go in search of traces. For Satan has raged in our lives, and Jesus was there.
When you gave him your life- whether it was yesterday, 20 years ago, or at an age you barely remember, he took it. He wrote it in his book. In his book of life. He knew and knows that you are his. And so he was there to guide you. To bring you to the cross, to recognize him. Always has been.
Let Jesus tell your story anew. You are a new creation, you are a child of God. Invite him to give you his gaze, ask him, and he will grant it. Only he can wipe away the sharpie marks over the story- with his blood.
All that has fallen into ashes, he gives back to you:
Your experiences as blessings to others.
Your pains as empathy and compassion.
Your mistakes as warnings.
Your successes as testimonies of his presence.
If you want to know Jesus, you have to seek him. You must want to find him.
And he says he can be found.
No, you can't get out of your skin. But you can understand that Jesus lives in you and is with you. And you may realize that Satan had the power to hurt you- but not the power to rob you of your inheritance in Christ.
However, to take hold of it, you must want it. Ask Jesus to show it to you. He will do it.
For you are wonderfully made. And all your days are written in his book. Do you want to know the true story, freed from Satan's lies?
Then let's go on a treasure hunt. Give him your story.
Be blessed, embraced and comforted.
You can still love.
And you are infinitely loved.
Sibylle/ Daughter of Zion.
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-This article is part of the series accompanying and preparing the online book study for "Becoming As You See Me" -Stacy Eldredge. Information on Zionstochter.-