The Story Behind Our Stories

I wanted to quit… writing, thinking, breathing.

I was just minding my own business, following Jesus the best I knew how, working and creating the way I was designed. And pow! The sun went down.

I never saw it setting.

Walking through the forest of our past can be a scary place, at any age. The path to healing wholly is laden with danger. Have you read Genesis? No one gets to the promised land without facing their own private wilderness.

Twelve years ago my oldest daughter gave me a book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, and something clicked. I wanted to do what she did. I was committed to writing out my pain. Say what never felt safe to say, find the grace to be grateful, and like Ann’s subtitle suggested, Live Fully Right Where You Are.


Have you ever witnessed another doing what your heart aches to do? Deafeningly their story speaks to you. And now you can’t help but do it too.

I ran after Ann’s liberation. If I could just put myself into words—who I was would make perfect sense. I would experience greater comfort and purpose hashing out all that nonsense. I could be part of that rippling effect. Others would read my story and know they weren’t alone, find their purpose, and be rid of their own scary unknown.

The day I carried hundreds of pages and thousands of words to the burn pile, I was in a panic to put an end to the voices in my head. The fear, failure, the bitterness went up in flames. And I went like ashes to the ground.

No one gets to the promised land without the full measure of God’s forgiveness. Until we throw down what keeps grabbing and shaking and screaming in our own thick skull—we carry the sentence of death inside. None of this comes like Amazon deliveries. None comes so easily—this sanctifying work of God clashing with the pain of scars. This madness of wanting what we can’t have: a chance to rewrite the past.

But you’ve got to keep moving forward.

I waited while the pages went black, silenced by the flames devouring them up, and a deep breath left my chest. I walked away, thought it was over, like human hands and man’s wisdom had power to stop demons from speaking. Not even an inferno could rid of us of our predicament.

What I know now that I didn’t know then is—grace moves us forward even in the thick of our past. We don’t go back and camp where we felt most alone and afraid. The Holy Spirit walks with us—in us—redeeming every stinging detail along the way.

There is this one saving way. It’s narrow, difficult, but leads to a life few find.

The voices of fear that take you by the throat are no match for the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.

“I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16)

DIVINE SURPRISE: A Story of Fear, Failure, and Trusting Love for the First Time will be in print just as soon as God wills. (Cuz who can really say what a day may bring?)

Don’t worry that you’ll miss it. I’ll be bombing social media for weeks once I have it in my hands.

DIVINE SURPRISE will be available on Amazon. You’ll find a link at “HOME” page when it’s here. I can hardly wait to  share it with you!


4 thoughts on “The Story Behind Our Stories

Add yours

  1. Good morning, I know that story and it could, for the most part belong to others. The beauty of it is the story can be read. I can relate to the beautiful lady on the cover. God knows her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t wait to read your beautiful story! God always brings beauty out of ashes JoAnn! Love the picture of you & Karen behind your house. Many play dates and fun memories there swimming in the pond. ❤️ May those who read your book, be touched for eternity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jackie. So many beautiful memories back then. The best part is seeing how God was there. Grateful for your encouragement and prayer sweet friend. Sending love your way.💜🙏🏻


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