A note from Connie: Stewarding your story

by Connie Hougland, VP Ministry Services

When it comes to walking alongside and supporting my husband in his brutal cancer journey, there are a LOT of things I cannot do. Two big ones are that I cannot fix it and I cannot take it away. But there are things I can do. I can take things off his plate, like scheduling doctor visits, managing medication schedules, and serving and caring for him. I can also help steward the story.

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

From the beginning of Blaine’s diagnosis, I felt called to help steward the story God is writing in and through us. I don’t try to tell Blaine’s story – that’s his to tell. But I share our story and how we see God at work even through the most trying times. 

Sharing God’s generosity in the midst of the storm
When we steward our story, we invite others in. We put words to what God is doing so that others might have hope and be drawn to Him. To be attractive for Jesus, if you will.  

But I’m also learning that when it comes to stewarding our story, it doesn’t mean we put on rose-colored glasses and only share when it’s good. We share about the suffering too. For me, the epitome of vulnerability is inviting others into our raw emotion that says,  “I trust you God. I don’t understand, but I trust you.”  Trusting when you don’t understand, when you can’t see what He sees, when the desires of your heart may not be consistent with His answer, when the timing seems too long, etc. Trusting like that is way easier said than done. 

The more I don’t understand the more I have to take the posture of gratitude – calling out the miracles, the provisions, the blessings within the storm and not just recapping the intensity of the storm. I look for Jesus in the storm instead of simply looking at the storm itself.

Gaining perspective to find purpose
In one months’ time, Blaine was hospitalized with sepsis for the sixth time, face-planted on concrete while on blood thinners, and tested positive for COVID-19. And yet the recap of miracles, provisions, and blessings amidst those same hardships goes like this: we caught infection early with no setbacks, injuries from the fall were only superficial, and his experience with Covid was mild with no major setbacks. 

When I look at it that way, I’m blown away by God’s goodness versus being distracted or distraught by all the “hard.” It doesn’t remove the hard. It doesn’t mean I understand the hard, but it gives me perspective to find purpose in the hard – purpose that glorifies God. And isn’t that what we’re here on earth for anyway?

Trusting God with our story means stewarding His
Don’t get me wrong – I have intense one-on-ones with God as I wrestle through the hard. I let Him know how much I don’t like it, want it, or understand it. Sometimes things get ugly (on my side), but here’s the thing: The Author knows me and loves me to the very depths of my being and He simply meets me where I am and stays with me in the storm. His love never wavers during, or because of, the storm. 

God is still writing our story. We don’t know if the healing of Blaine’s cancer will come on this side of Heaven or not. But we know that God is trustworthy. We know that His plans are good because they are rooted in His mighty love for us. We may not understand or like parts of the storyline or the current chapter, but we can always, I said always, trust the Author! 

Spoiler alert: Victory is ours because of Jesus! It’s the eternal part of the story where it’ll get really good! But by stewarding our story in the here and now, we can offer others hope and glimpses of God’s goodness that may help them in their own story. 

How might God generously use you and your story today to help others see Jesus in their storm?