On Friday morning, four days ago, my beloved aunt tried to take her own life. She shot herself in the stomach after a months-long struggle with anxiety and depression.
At 11:00 a.m. my phone rang and Lauren, at 22 the oldest of their seven children and more my little sister than cousin, came on the line. She told me what happened and asked me to pray, bravely fighting back sobs.
“I have to go,” she said. “The police are here.”
They flew my aunt to the hospital. On a road somewhere in western Kansas a husband drove to meet the paramedics fighting for his bride’s life, and my friend Amy Williams and I threw our backpacks in the car and hit the road driving the other way to go hug on the kids who saved their mother’s life.
There are just some twists in your story you never see coming. Some scenarios you never expect to face.
I couldn’t help but think of my conversation the previous afternoon, walking with another friend in the midst of her own storm.
“This isn’t the end of the story,” I told her, and believed every word.
“I know,” she said, her fingers gripping mine as we walked. “But this is the part of the story I don’t like.”
And we all come to that junction some days. The days when life hurts. Relationships get messy. The unthinkable happens.
The days and seasons when everything changes or nothing changes and real hope seems as hard to grasp as mist over the lake on a frosty morning.
What do you do when your story hurts? You trust God and turn the page.
You hold tight to those you love, broken souls pressing against broken souls, and let them hold tight to you. You take their hand and don’t let go and anchor them in the truth that you both know–Jesus saves and He doesn’t let go either.
You curl up on the couch and watch Firefly and cry into your boyfriend’s shoulder and celebrate a tough love kind of Valentine’s Day, the kind that sails right past sentimental cards and paper hearts and goes straight to the heart of the kind of love that walks with you on the dark days when you’re in the part of your story that hurts.
Every story has a part that hurts. Every. Single. One.
You don’t get a choice. You will face many such days in your own story. A friend betrays you. Money and time runs out. A relationship falls apart. A pink slip takes away your dream job in an instant.
You can make the right choice every single time and that day will still come. You don’t get to decide every twist and turn in your story.
But you do get to decide how to respond. Every day, especially when your story hurts, you have the power to say, “This is not how my story is going to end.”
You don’t get to determine every twist and turn of your story. But you can decide to turn the page.
Where are you at in your story? How have you gotten through difficult days or seasons? Let me know in the comments below.