Fact: some stories can not be told. Sometimes they don’t belong entirely to you.
While powerful pieces may be yours, there’s no good to be gained from the telling. These stories are best entrusted to the hands and heart of God who lovingly absorbs them into the greater mesh of His own.
Still, others need to be told… gently.
God alone knows which is which and guides us to know the difference. He also guides the how and when…and to whom these stories ought to be told.
Reading Scripture I think about the crazy collection of stories God chose to present to us. Out of all the stories in the world since time began, He chose these for us to learn from, share from and declare for His glory. The beauty is they’re not all “pretty-pretty-happily-ever-after” stories. In fact, some are downright ugly. Painful, good medicine.
My story has places in it like that too. Some things need not be told because God holds them now. I trust Him. Others, must be offered because they contain the threads of hope woven into the common fabric so many of us share.
It’s the rare beauty of story redeemed.
Hanging over my desk, I have a framed artwork based on the beautiful promise and pronouncement found in Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon you…”
Oh how I love to sit beneath that promise now. Because there was a time when I didn’t understand what any of it meant.
I was not raised in the church so much of my time since meeting Jesus was spent learning church culture, figuring out how to behave and what to do…or not do. It hasn’t been pretty. There’s been a lot I did not understand or know. However, not knowing didn’t stop me from behaving as if I did. For a long time.
I’ve said before; what I lack in talent (in this case wisdom), I’ll make up for with enthusiasm.
I broke sweat, flexed muscle and worked hard at my salvation, spending a great deal of time serving my heart out in the Jesus club. I was His “yes girl”. Slowly working my way through the ranks of service in the church, ticking things off one by one: women’s ministry, choir, praise team, VBS, sunday school, bible study teacher, mission team member and leader…the list goes on.
In fact, you’d have to look hard to discover where I was not involved on some level. Lorretta, the consummate “suffering servant”; as sincere as I knew how to be and yet clueless and oh so ignorant.
And busy. Very, very busy.
I gladly became the automatic ‘go to” person for news and information, maintaining the email list and producing the newsletter almost single-handedly. Information had to come to and go through me…and I liked it that way. I felt needed and important. I was pleasing people and it pleased me to think that pleasing them was also pleasing God.
Most of the time, honestly, my heart was in the right place. I sincerely wanted to be and do good. I actually, factually loved Jesus, the church and God’s word. The problem was I was still using the old-girl methods and understanding while trying to live this new-girl life.
I just didn’t get it.
Mostly, I think, I just wanted to be loved. I needed it bad. I don’t think I understood how deep the need was. All I know is that it was nearly impossible to get enough so I kept piling on more. Nobody stopped me….it seemed like the “norm”.
It was encouraged. It was invited.
and some people took more…… than others.
Heady stuff…my vainglorious Icarus self winging upward towards heaven with drippy, waxen wings…flying higher…higher until… I’d flown too high. One step too far. I’d become a disgusting glory thief and worse. God was about to send me to wilderness training. Spiraling downward, sliding face first through the dirt of my own making, I skid to a stop beneath the shadow of the cross.
There I came face to face with the truth that all my good works were not about serving God at all; it was about serving myself. It was about serving man.
I had prostituted God’s great gifts.
Oh. My broken heart.
Recoiling from shame, my aching soul howled in repentance.
I met with Mercy.
I tasted sweet Grace.
A Light shone into my darkened understanding and I was simply overcome by His great Love once again.
Broken free and forgiven, I’d been unburdened for the journey home.
This was not so long ago.
This moment thrust me into this spacious and sacred place of ministry and writing and propelled me to go unashamedly deeper with God. Although it’s a space I’ve danced along the edges for some time, now there’s no mistaking who’s in control of my every and my all: God.
I’m a story still being written but
I’m no longer the one writing it.
Guided by the Spirit, I’m still involved in things as before although some have been let go in favor of others. I’m careful about what I say “yes” to and why. There’s NO guilt or obligation when I have to say no.
The difference now is motive.
It’s a gift to see now how fear-driven and focused I was on things that clearly do not matter… at all.
It’s a gift also to see how easily we fall into this devil-laid trap. With new perspective, I watch while the unholy scramble and jockeying for power and position continues and my heart is so burdened for those caught up in the never-ending do and do and do.
I’m praying for revival.
I write from here. This is my offering: to God and anyone who reads and recognizes pieces of their story in mine:
- Those who are broken and way off track who have no idea how to find the way home. I’m willing to share more and be a guide.
- The one who needs prayer to keep holding fast to what is true. I’m willing to pray.
- The discouraged because living faithfully can be lonely sometimes. I’m here.
So maybe this is you? Let’s walk it together. Find me on Facebook or email mslorretty(at)gmail(dot com).
I’d love to be a part of your story.