bookQuestion for you:  Didn’t you love hearing and reading a good story as a child? So did I! Do you remember when all the stories ended in “and they all lived happily ever after”?  The good ol’ days, right?  But then, as we got older, the fairy tale endings became fewer, and real-life endings set in. It became apparent that stories don’t always end the way we wish they would. 

Well, we all have a story, so, what’s your story?  And what chapter do you find yourself in, in your story? I shared a bit of my story last time, about my miscarriages and stillbirths (if you missed that, you can find it here).  If you find yourself in a tough spot in your story, I’ve got good news ahead.

Like you, I have had my share of challenges. You already know about the miscarriages. But there was also Foreclosure. Divorce. Single parenthood (with two boys ages 2 and under), while working 2 jobs to make ends meet. Lights switched off. Wondering how bills would be paid. Not quite the life one expects if they “did all the right things”. 

During that period, I was constantly hearing “you’re such a strong woman” from people that knew only a small portion of my story. Can I be honest? I got SO TIRED of hearing that phrase.  I did not WANT to be strong.  I just wanted my life to be easier. But I later realized that there was and is a purpose for that (God-given) strength. I have come to realize that one of the reasons God allowed me to go through my experiences is so that I can encourage others.

But what if others (or even I) had judged my life by where I was at that point in my story?  It would look like such a sad story. But thank God that is not where my story ended.  And even where I am right now is not how it will end. And so it is with you.  It doesn’t matter where you are right now. Please know that your story is not over. You will hear me say this over and over, like a broken record, because sometimes we need to be reminded of what we already know.

I have come to look at challenging experiences as being similar to those required classes in school that were really tough, but were necessary in order to graduate. Challenges, struggles, and trials are not electives; they are required for all of us.  And they are pre-requisites for promotion, for the next level.

The required courses for a Biology major are different than those for a History major. Yes, there is overlap with the basics (e.g. everyone has to take basic English, Science, Math, etc).  But as you go further in your course of study (your major), the classes start to differ. And so it is with our various life experiences. We all start off with similar “basics” – as babies we have similar experiences, we cry, we crawl, learn our first words, walk, etc.  But as we get older, our experiences begin to differ. We face different experiences and challenges from those faced by our friends and even close family members. But the different challenges help stretch us and grow us. 

Ok, I didn’t mean to take you back to school!  Here’s the point:  Just like my story didn’t end there, neither is yours ending in whatever situation you feel stuck in at this moment.  I am happily remarried and by the grace of God, my boys are thriving. Four months after my wedding, my mom died totally unexpectedly. Yet again, I can still say that my story did not end there in that dark place.

So in your story, if the chapter you’re in is one in which you find yourself struggling, or you feel like you just cannot catch a break, OR if you know someone who feels this way, please reach out to me.  I’d be glad to talk and see how we can get over the hump. One of my life’s purposes is to encourage others during tough times and to equip them with tools to get through the tough times.

So my friend, as you already know, challenges, they will come. Most certainly.  But by God’s grace, the story doesn’t end there. Flip the Page.

P.S. Let’s stay encouraged and encourage each other. Please share these posts with your friends and anyone who can benefit from them. 

P.P.S. Are we connected on Instagram or Twitter? Find me @ememwashington – I’d love to connect!