A dusty picture, cropped with precision to fit artistically on the page. Scissors tossed on a pile of metallic ribbon. Letters torn from a journal placed in the corner of the gold book where they belong, taking us deeper into a story where pictures just don’t finish the story.
This is the disarray of the space where I’ve begun a scrapbook, a project to compile the adventures and questions and meaningful memories in an overarching story that spans my life.
This is the place where magic is made.
Because individual stories have a magic of their own, don’t they?
I am fueled, inspired really, when I see a story spin together in graceful and whimsical perfection. It’s like following a chaotic path of lightning bugs – seeing one light up in a notable moment, when all too soon it fades away and you’re left in darkness until you see another one glitter, just momentarily. We can’t understand the pattern. Is it divine glory or merely a string of fleeting coincidences?
Until soon enough, those spontaneous bursts of nature’s glitter lead us to a quiet and inviting place of reflection, a space where stories are revealed and dreams didn’t come true because we couldn’t dream big enough; our ideas were too mediocre. After enduring all of those detours, disappointments, and darkness, the place we find ourselves in is a reality that begs to be told.
Those fleeting beams of light actually lead us to a culmination of artfully woven beauty. Beauty that lights up our souls and whispers that all those times of doubt and delay were not without divine purpose.
Because it’s fresh in my mind, I think of the new movie I Can Only Imagine. It’s very difficult to walk away from that movie and not wonder at all the intricate details – the painful details – that had to come together to make Bart Millard’s life what it was: a story that compels other people to something bigger and more lasting.
Or Soul Surfer, the movie of Bethany Hamilton’s life. After losing her arm from a life-threatening shark attack, I don’t believe Bethany immediately knew what her life would be from that point on. I don’t suspect that she envisioned all of the millions of teenagers she would inspire by her courage; I doubt she believed that she would sit back at the movie theater one day and watch her story play out in front of her.
But these stories are written because it’s truly difficult to hear them and not wonder just Who could be behind all of those plot twists and climaxes. And as inspiring as these individuals are (as you are, for your life has a story that’s worthy to be told) they merely point us to Someone who is limitless in His craft and artistry. There is an Author out there who is capable of using something so mundane and lifeless to fit together in a masterpiece that rivals nothing else.
I’m not creating a scrapbook to be cute and crafty. It’s a book of things I’ve wished away in my life, of questions that haven’t even been answered yet, of memories that I treasure, of seasons that grew me or beat me down. Ultimately, it is a place for God’s handiwork to be showcased. He just happened to use my life (all of it, including the pieces I still do not understand) to display it. He can use yours, too.
Could we dare to believe that if we gave all of our disheveled pieces of our lives to God, that He could make a story worthy of being cast into a movie one day? Or could I venture further – a story that angels would even speak of?
I don’t believe we’d be the star of the show; we have to be content with that, for sure. God is the playmaker. He’s calling the shots and orchestrating the most “pointless” pieces to play a significant part in a story that’s designed to be about Him.
Don’t miss it. My encouragement (my challenge) to you is to take a moment of reflection. Find a way to mark and record the ways God has clearly moved in your life, moments He has crafted something that you might have forgotten about or neglected to consider.
Oh, one day might we be able to string together those fragments of glitter into a display of striking, glorious proportions.
We would sit, gaze, wonder. Not at the story itself but at the Artist and Author behind the shining work.
Keep writing, Lord. Keep creating whimsy and wonder that leave us starstruck and hungry to delve into more.