In need of a new story

So I’m reading Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I just finished chapter eight in which he talks about a friend whose daughter is struggling. He makes the comment that “she isn’t living a good story.” The Father hadn’t mapped out a good story for his family. “And so his daughter had chosen another story, a story in which she was wanted, even if she was only being used. In the absence of a family story, she’d chosen a story in which there was risk and adventure, rebellion and independence. ‘She’s not a bad girl,’ my friend said. ‘She was just choosing the best story available to her.” After laying awake the next night the father decided to set a new course and find a new story for his family. He found a village that needed an orphanage and risked much to meet that need.

For many years the Harvey family story was how God moved miraculously to birth a new community of faith. We were all part of it. All equally called and used by God to announce good news. We had purpose. We were on mission. The narrative was clear and exciting.

Then it happened. It all crashed…at least that’s one way to look at it. But if Miller is correct in what makes a great story makes a great life, the conflict is not the end. It is the moment when the characters change. The protagonist becomes something he wasn’t. The family is at the juncture of becoming something new and better and stronger. The story is not over at the point of conflict but is ready to give birth to something new.

During the last two years the story of our family has been put on pause. My children have been left to find their own story line. In my pain and loss I have left them to drift in the sea of questions. Tears are coming to my eyes as I realize how I’ve failed them. I’m so sorry for that…more sorry than my marriage falling apart.

I need to find a new story for my family. Maybe not find as much as listen for. After all, this is God’s story that we are finding our place in.

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One thought on “In need of a new story

  1. Thanks Darrel for opening your heart to us, that took courage! The truth is that the story I offered to my family was not the story I would offer today. May we all learn to live in God’s Story.
    From Ransom Heart (Eledridge) about entering into God’s Story:
    April 28, 2010

    We Are Faced with a Decision That Grows with Urgency
    We are faced with a decision that grows with urgency each passing day: Will we leave our small stories behind and venture forth to follow our Beloved into the Sacred Romance? The choice to become a pilgrim of the heart can happen any day and we can begin our journey from any place. We are here, the time is now, and the Romance is always unfolding. The choice before us is not to make it happen. As G.K. Chesterton said, “An adventure is, by its nature, a thing that comes to us. It is a thing that chooses us, not a thing that we choose.” Lucy wasn’t looking for Narnia when she found it on the other side of the wardrobe; in a way, it found her. Abraham wasn’t wandering about looking for the one true God; he showed up with an extraordinary invitation. But having had their encounters, both could have chosen otherwise. Lucy could have shut the wardrobe door and never mentioned what had happened there. Abraham could have opted for life in Haran. The choice before us is a choice to enter in.

    (The Sacred Romance , 148–49)

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