Don’t ever let someone tell you that your story doesn’t matter – because it does. Your story defines who you are and who you want to become.
My story sounds like the plot of a Lifetime movie most of the time: I was your typical Southern California girl with the perfect mom and dad living in suburbia, going to a great school, earning straight A’s (okay maybe there were a few B’s), with two sisters and two dogs.
The twist in the story of my life occurred when I was 13 – my mom died of a rare blood disease, Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP), leaving my two sisters and me with a grief-stricken father and no clue how to live without the glue of our family.
It took a few years, but we got a pattern down: my older sister worked and carted us around after school while my dad worked full time to support us, my younger sister played softball and focused on her education and trying to be a kid, and I helped with homework and eventually took over the “carting around” when I turned 16 – we all pitched in as well as we could. My dad, sisters and I kept going on with our lives the best we could, because we all knew my mom wouldn’t want us to stop living life and being happy.
Those first few years were tough – which isn’t to say that 12 years later, it has gotten any easier. Losing a parent, especially at such a young age, is hard to describe to anyone. You feel gypped – like you didn’t get the life you were supposed to; you feel lost – like you are walking in the dark down an open field, and you have no idea which way is forward; you feel lonely – like you are missing a piece of yourself.
Her death molded who I became, and that is why my story is so important. My story, her death, it made me, me.
And your story made you. The experiences you go through teach you lessons about life; they challenge your fundamental beliefs; they force you to make decisions you may not have had to make.
Your story is made up of experiences entirely your own – your life is unique; just as you are.
Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
We are each hand-crafted, one of a kind works of art, created and loved by our Lord.
Our story matters because God wants it to matter – He wants our lives to be unique and special.
Our story eventually becomes our legacy, and our legacy is how generations will remember us after we are gone.
But today, my story matters, because it defines who I am.
I often imagine what life would be life if my mom was still alive. I know I would not have gone to college so close to home, and I probably wouldn’t be living in Nashville, 2,000 miles away from the rest of my family. My little sister would probably still be an all-star softball player, but she maybe she wouldn’t be at Colorado State University. My older sister would probably have gone to a four-year university instead of starting at community college, and would probably be a teacher right now, instead of working in Inside Sales.
But because my mom died at such a critical point in all our lives, we grew up – quickly. We took on roles and responsibilities our friends did not quite comprehend. We made choices for reasons that others did not even think about. We took the path to the right while others went to the left, all because of our pasts – because of the experiences we had endured.
Your story matters – it influences who you become. But remember – it does not always define you. You can choose to let the experiences of your past haunt you, or let them shape you and mold you into a better person.