Have you ever taken the time to look back to the beginning of your life and considered how it has unfolded? This is an exercise I did during my second year of grief with the help of resources from an organization called OneLife Maps that enable you to recognize and respond to God in the story of your life. Their resource is a portfolio of unique visual maps that help people document their life stories for the purpose of spiritual growth and meaningful forward action. It is a self-directed journey written from a Biblical perspective that helps you invite God into the process of reviewing your past, assessing your present and to continue walking with God into your future.
The workbook is for a person who is seeking God in a deeper way and desiring to rediscover who you are through His eyes. It is for someone who is thinking “I don’t know myself anymore“, wondering “Is there something more?”, or standing at a crossroads in life and are asking “Which way will lead me toward expressing more of who I am made to be?“. Or perhaps you are looking for a way to understand the restlessness that you feel inside or find yourself relationally at odds with yourself and/or others in ways that have ties to your past.
When I sat down and took the time to really look back at my life, I was amazed to see how God has been working in the peaks and in the valleys – in those dark places where I could not feel Him and wondered where in the world He was. I could see how He has been orchestrating my life all along.
From the time I was a young girl music has always been something that deeply touches my soul. I took piano lessons for many years and although I am far from an accomplished pianist, I used to play for church services and vocalists in church. Nothing made me feel happier and more fulfilled than to just sit down at my piano at home and allow all of my emotions and whatever I was feeling to come out through my fingers.
For a long time after my husband died, I could not listen to music. It was too painful for me. Gradually over time, I began listening to christian music again with tears streaming down my face. Something had changed within me and I began to really listen to the words of songs and research why the composer wrote the lyrics. Most music is written from a person’s life experiences.
Last night my daughter Annissa asked me if I had ever heard the song THE GLORIOUS UNFOLDING written by Stephen Curtis Chapman. After listening to it with tears streaming down my face, I had to know what was behind the lyrics of the song that he . I knew that Stephen understands grief because of the tragic loss of his daughter some years ago. This is what he had to say:
“There is a story that God is telling in our lives and He knows the story that He’s telling. It is a story that’s ultimately going to be incredible and good and amazing and yet, it involves chapters that can be very hard….be very difficult… Throughout this music, really, I kept revisiting that through just different truths that I’m learning and holding onto…that God is committed to finishing the good work that He has begun, the work He starts in us. He is working even at any moment in the story, even in the hard chapters, and that He is at work, working all things together for good. He’s taking even the broken pieces, and hard chapters and hard parts of the story, and weaving them into the epic, amazing story. It’s in that process, watching and seeing those places wherever the story is unfolding, where He’s revealing it to us and revealing more of Himself to us.
It takes us holding onto that by faith sometimes, and really choosing to see those places and believe even in those dark places that God is at work….The nature of my music, I think more than not, has been that I want to encourage. I want to speak this in a way that encourages someone else in their journey. In a way, that’s what this album is a bit of a return to for me, from the place that I’ve walked and lived and am still living in my family, to begin to say to someone else, ‘Can I say this to you? I’m not pretending to know what you’re going through exactly, wouldn’t dare to do that. But whatever it is, I want to say this to you with confidence and with certainty from my experience….'”
I challenge you to do what I did. Get the Listen to My Life Portfolio/Workbook and take the time to look back at how your life has been unfolding. See how God has been working all along unfolding His glory in your life.