START HERE

Today’s Truth

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:1, 3 NIV).

Friend to Friend

“Mommy, tell me a story.”

That was a common request when my son was a little guy. Whether riding in the car, getting a haircut, or being tucked in at bedtime, Steven loved for me to tell him a story. The one requirement for my made-up tales was that Steven had to give me the first line. “Okay, buddy,” I’d say, “What’s the first sentence?”

“Once upon a time there was a leaf . . .”

“Once upon a time there was a snail . . .”

“Once upon a time there was a tree . . .”

“Once upon a time there was a dragon . . .”

And so, the tale would begin.

Everybody loves a good story, but not everybody loves their own story. Mistakes pile high like weeks-old laundry. Shame whispers, “If they only knew.” Tear-stained pages warp and cause the volume to fall open to unwanted pages. Dog-eared corners mark traumatic happenings we keep going back to in order to make sense of it all.

Some pages have spots worn thin from rubbing a mental eraser over words that won’t go away. Lines we’ve tried to cross out instead stand out and taunt us. We’ve all got them—unwanted pages. Yes, I’d like a different story, please.

For most of us, it is not the whole of our stories that we don’t like, but just certain parts. Our tragedies, traumas, and too-dark-to-tell memories may be different, but the pain is the same.

A husband left.

A boyfriend cheated.

A friend betrayed.

A parent abused.

A boss misused.

A disease ravished.

A steering wheel jerked.

A gunshot fired.

A child died.

I don’t know the difficulties you’ve been through, but I do know your story didn’t end there. There is more to be written, and God is even now dipping his pen into the inkwell of wholeness, writing your story and mine into His larger story. God turns broken stories into beautiful prose and unwanted pages into stunning narratives of victory. That’s not just a promise; it’s a bedrock truth—one I know from personal experience.

God never intends for us to stay stuck in our past pain. He longs to heal the broken place and fill the empty spaces. The Bible says this about Jesus through the prophetic words of Isaiah:

The Lord has anointed me to proclaim
good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair. (61:1-3 NIV)

Isn’t it amazing that God can take our darkest chapters and turn them into our greatest victories? He can, you know. But He does require our cooperation. Great beauty can come from our marred and tattered stories. Immense light can emerge from our darkest and desperate days. It is only when we turn the broken pieces of our lives over to God that He shows us how to have a better story.

I want to encourage you today. Don’t get stuck in the pain place or the shame place. Keep moving ahead and pray for God to show you how to turn your mourning into dancing.

Let’s Pray

LORD, sometimes I just don’t like my story. However, I know that You can use every single page to bring glory to Your name. Help me to release the burden of my past to You, and to use what I’ve been through for good.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What is one chapter in your life that you long for God to redeem—to turn it around and use it for good?
Click on comment to share. I’d love to hear about it.
Read Luke 4:14-21. What did Jesus say about Isaiah’s prophetic words in Isaiah 61?

More from the Girlfriends

We all have pages of our stories that we wish we could rip out and throw in the trash. Chapters of heartache from what has been done to us and shame over what has been done through us. God doesn’t want to rip out those stories, but repurpose them for good. If you’re ready to turn your worst chapters into your greatest victories, know this, God is ready too. So, sink deep into God’s life-changing truths in Sharon’s book, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. The next chapter is just beginning.

Includes an in-depth Bible study for individuals and groups. Downloadable Bible Study Videos also available.

Need prayer? Click on Sharon’s Prayer Wall to share.

© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

14 Responses to “Can I Have a Different Story Please?”

  1. Tiffany says:

    I’m 30 years old. I would love to see God redeem the years in which my immediate and extended family broke apart after some deaths and squabbles happened and we all went our separate ways. We used to have family holiday parties, people would regularly visit, and the older and younger generations knew each other. I’m praying and believing that Jesus is going to bring my family back together, save my family members who don’t know Him, and unite us as a family in Christ. I’d appreciate prayer support! Thank you, Sharon, for a great devotional.

  2. Connie says:

    Tiffany,
    i know the hurt and pain of a family split apart that you are going through. After my brother went through a painful divorce, he became distant, and his alcohol abuse took over his life. He is gone now, but God graciously restored our relationship and we had about 5 good years before his death.

    i will be supporting you in prayer. may God’s Peace be with you.

    Connie

  3. Patricia says:

    It is so true that God can write a different story for you. He did it for me in 1977 when I surrendered my life to Him. He took all my brokenness and my heartache and turned it around to a story that praises God everyday. He is the only one that can for we are new creations in Christ Jesus. And He makes all things beautiful in His own time. I look forward to the end of my story. For I know that .God has a perfect ending for me. It is then that I will see God and all my love ones who have gone on before me. PRAISE GOD!

  4. Victoria says:

    I would like to have my story be redeemed
    I have stage 4 Metastatic Colon cancer and I want to rid my body of the cancer so I can help other people facing the same story to give them help & support so they can see that it’s possible to rise up from this horrible disease and be a better person and become string and well again in Jesus name Amen 🙏

  5. Sharon Jaynes says:

    Oh girl, I know that He can!

  6. Pam says:

    Tiffany,
    Trust in Him for this desire of your heart. Praying the Lord would touch all hearts involved, and use family members to extend the Hand of Christ to one another. Praying for healing & restoration as He works in the midst of the circumstances of your immediate & extended family. God is Able!

  7. Jillian F. says:

    I kind of feel like I’m in between two books. I’m 36 and grew up in an emotionally abusive home. I always struggled with anxiety and found it difficult to trust others, or even myself. Not just in my family, but within friendships too, because I never really had healthy ones. To shorten a long story, I developed agoraphobia as a teen and ended up withdrawing from public school (and pretty much life in general) at 15. I was later also diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder.

    I had a couple of attempts at returning to school, and going to community college, but the agoraphobia and anxiety got the better of me. So I just gave up trying and learned, eventually, to be content with life at home. It did result in Mom and I repairing a strained relationship, to the point that we were best friends and nearly inseparable. Even when I did move out on my own, she handled many things for me (did all the driving, phone calls, interactions with strangers, etc.) and eventually she even moved into an apartment down the hall from me. It took many years for me to feel settled, and to begin to heal and reach a point where I actually felt I could learn to be independent. Sadly, just as that point came Mom suffered a brain hemorrhage and died three months later without having fully recovered consciousness.

    It’s been over two years now, and I’ve gotten through better than I would have thought- all because I chose to turn to Christ even though I wasn’t sure what that looked like nor was I feeling particularly trusting of Him at that moment. I just didn’t see any other good option, at least leaning on Him had the promise of hope and a future. I remember thinking I could just reject Him, but that seemed foolish. I’d not gain anything and just continue in pain. So I began reading the Bible every day and supported a couple of the radio ministers Mom and I liked. By doing that I received shipments of books each month, and reading the selections has helped me to grow spiritually. One of the first was Knowing God by J. I. Packer, which was very much what I needed. I’ve found multiple times that the selections of the month often fit perfectly with something I’m needing or wondering about just then. I love that! I also buy other titles throughout the year from other places. I have a 17-page wishlist on Christianbook, and every time I visit I seem to find more to add, lol.

    I am still living alone but have been managing to handle things independently. Not that there aren’t still many things I just plain avoid or find unusual workarounds, but I am improving. And I have been improving my relationship with my aunt, Mom’s sister, so that I’m not completely isolated. I feel God’s working on healing me slowly, and preparing me for a future. I feel good most of the time. I’m an introvert, even without the other issues, so can happily keep myself entertained. But sometimes I get so lonely. I miss sharing my life with someone. Mom and I shared many interests and most days we were together in the evenings, eating dinner, watching vintage game shows or listening to an audiobook or Old Time Radio (we loved Burns and Allen, particularly), and doing hobbies/ crafts into the wee hours of the morn. I miss making plans for the future or talking about memories from the past. I do these sometimes with my aunt, but she has a husband and lots of friends and other commitments, so it’s not something we get to regularly. I’d like to make Christian friends, and join a church and become involved- but even more than those things, I find myself particularly longing for a husband to share life with. Even though it scares me at the same time. People, in general, scare me, but guys are scarier. I sense that God has plans for me, a sequel to my pain story, maybe even marriage, but that for now, I’m to just focus on Him. I’m trying to do that, though I feel impatient at times.

  8. Bernadette says:

    I was abused as a child and I grew up in a dysfunctional home. I thank God for delivering me and healing me.
    My story is not over and I am looking forward to see what God writes next. My life belongs to Him now.

  9. Miss says:

    I’m still going through troubles at 51. Started when my mom slept with HS sweetheart and fiancé. To now, my dad is a sick pervert that when my 15 year old daughter calls him out on it, he kicks us out. The middle parents are full of abuse from ex husband to my own coping issues and struggles. My mom isn’t allowed to see us because of my heartless father. So, we are all alone. My daughter and I

  10. Jamie says:

    i was married to a non believer. We had three beautiful boys. After my third one was born, I discovered my husband (now ex-husband) had been going behind my back with another woman. He would tell me I will stop – no more of meeting other woman. This devastated me- broke me on the inside. I strived so hard to get back prebaby weight, have the house all nice & clean & meals cooked. I felt like if only I could … always feeling I needed to improve. His affairs ended up getting two other woman pregnant. The stress of all this caused me full blown lupus flare. I had to do months of chemotherapy. Two days after being in hospital, I finally had the courage to move out. Got myself & three boys in a new apt. It was not easy but I look back & so grategul how everything turned out. I kept thinking “i will meet another nice Christian man” This is the end of my story that I wish would change. I am falling back to those thoughts of “am I not good enough”
    i pray to God please help me feel content just being alone but I do “secretly” hope to find someone to share my life journey.

  11. I’m writing on behalf of the women dealing with a family member who has mental illness. My son was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at age 10 and is now 27. Since high school, we have been on a mental health rollercoaster. Most days I come home from work not knowing what to expect. My son may be crying, in a screaming rage, ranting for hours about social media or just wanting some company and attention. Despite state services and a job coach for the past 7 years, he has been without employment. His days are filled with empty, repetitive routine, without purpose of fulfillment of his dreams and goals. For myself and others in this same place, our story is not one we would have chosen. It is ongoing and at times heart wrenchingly painful and relentless. The one thing I do know is God is a God of hope. He knows me and my son. He sees us and He loves us passionately and completely. If you are helping someone with mental illness, do not give up hope. My son has been in some very dark places but the light of God’s hope still shines in. I continually pray for my son, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you hope and a future.- Jeremiah 29:11. It goes on to say that we must continue to pray and earnestly seek God. And it is that prayer and daily dependence on our heavenly Father that keeps me from falling apart. Some stories are long, and the main characters have more conflict than resolution. But I know that God is not done writing my family story. I encourage you to keep telling God you trust Him, no matter what your story may be. He will never leave you without hope.

  12. Mandy says:

    I lost my niece to Covid in July. She was thirty years old and eight months pregnant. The baby was delivered on July 23 and she passed away on July 25. We are all completely heartbroken. My nephew now has a two year old and a two month old and he is lost without his Brooke. Please pray for him most of all (Layton) but all of us who lost Brooke. She was very special to many people ❤️

  13. Kate says:

    Jillian,
    your story made me want to give you a big hug! I lost my mum suddenly 3 years ago and I feel your pain. You sound like a lovely person, and I’m so glad you decided to trust God because He loves you more than you can imagine and is holding you tight through all of this, even when it doesn’t feel like it. I believe that the things we go through are never wasted but God can grow us through this and often uses us to help others in similar situations. I know there are people out there who would love to meet a friend like you and spend time with you. You have much to give, and I encourage you to look for a church where you can fit right in. When you’re a Christian you always have a family, brothers and sisters in Christ, who you can love and they will love you. I know you’ve struggled in the past to have the confidence to meet new people, but pray that God will show you which Church and then trust Him to show you who your people are.
    Much love,
    Kate

  14. Lorri says:

    My 34 year old daughter Kristy was born with developmental disabilities. Her IQis very low. Her school years were miserable. To this day she has no friends. I pray constantly for our Lord to change this. To give her something. I worry so much about what will happen to her when I am no longer here. Who will take care of her.

Leave a Reply

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8