What A Journey...

...my life has been.

I have now written over 54,000 words about "my other chains."

As I write about and relive this abuse, which began when I was just 16 years old, I see clearly how God enabled me to endure for so many years until it was His appointed time to deliver me. It's so hard to explain to someone who hasn't traveled this road. But I believe with all my heart that there was a purpose in all my experiences. Not that God wanted me to be abused, but that all along He was working on my behalf to give my experiences meaning and purpose, to use them for my good and the benefit of others.

Even as I am writing and sharing chapters with a few select friends for feedback, it feels like God is giving confirmation that my book will help others. I am an unknown author and my book may not reach thousands of people. But God can put it in the hands of those He chooses. Several times already, I have written something and it has addressed an issue that one or more of my handful of readers has struggled with. In one case, I was asked about something distressing that I had not yet written about. And when I read the question, I realized the friend had not read the chapter in which I elaborated on the very question she was asking -- without knowing we had that shared experience. I have not even finished the book and I am already feeling rewarded for writing it.

I also finished a book I've been reading yesterday... Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It reassured me that even though my story is painful to read, it ultimately glorifies God. My book is nowhere near as painful to read as Louis Zamperini's history. There were times throughout that book when I could hardly bear to continue the story. The only suffering I can imagine equaling his would be that of a holocaust survivor. But as difficult as it was to get through chapter after chapter of his suffering, I was so glad I absorbed every detail of what he went through because it made the conclusion of the book that much more amazing and joyful.

Toward the conclusion, Zamperini's reflections were shared about God giving us the grace we need for the challenges He allows us to face.

It's not that God chooses the strongest of us to endure hard trials. It's not our own resilience that we rely upon. God supplies what we need to survive and overcome our greatest challenges. He was doing that for Louis Zamperini before Zamperini even acknowledged Him.

I highly recommend the book.

As I've written about some of my darkest days, I am occasionally tempted to give myself credit for being so resilient. But I know that God gets the credit. I did not have what it took to overcome those struggles within myself. But God was always there beside me, helping me make it through each and every situation I faced. Just as He will be right beside me for all the challenges in my future.

I have been writing for a little over four weeks and have written 15 chapters. I don't know how many more chapters are in me or how long it will take to finish this book. But at the end of each chapter, I have exhausted my motivation and desire to write for that day. I have been so focused and expended so much emotional energy working on the book, I haven't had any leftover inspiration for my blog. But I know some of you check periodically for a new post. So I wanted to say something about what I've been up to lately.

I am continually amazed by what God has done in my life. This afternoon, I was remembering a time when I begged Him to let me die in a car wreck because I didn't think I could possibly face what was ahead of me. That was a long, long time ago. And there was no way for me to fathom back then just how worthwhile and meaningful that very suffering would wind up being for me as well as others. It brings tears to my eyes and also a smile to my lips just thinking about God seeing my whole life outside of time and knowing His plans for me when I was at my very lowest point. I'm so thankful He does not answer all of my prayers according to my desires at the moment I'm praying.

Comments

Jannelle said…
Shari, I read this with tears of frustration, thankfulness, and hope. Today has been one of those days that you described. Just begging Him to let me come home so I could be in peace. I just couldnt imagine feeling this pain any longer. Each breath has been a struggle today. I sat down at the table & sobbed & prayed (with all 8 kids screaming in the background.lol). God told me to check your blog. And yet again.....HE answers my prayers through you!!

I just am speechless and in awe of His grace & love. Thank you again for always being a vessel for His glory!! I love you!!
Shari said…
Jannelle, you really have no idea how much these words mean to me. I love you so much. And I am thankful God put you in my life! I now know God reminded me of that day so He could speak directly to you! Hang in there! Know that God has a plan of redemption for you just as surely as for me! One day you will be His instrument in someone else's life, if you aren't already without even knowing it! And never forget that He has used you to encourage me many times!
Jannelle said…
Shari, I love you!!! I can't wait to read your new book! But in the meantime, I just ordered Mending the Soul today! I cant wait to get it & start reading. God is really doing a work in me. So many doors are being opened to help me heal. Such a journey! :)
Shari said…
I'm so glad you are going to read that book. It's excellent. Best book I've read on the subject and I've read many. It's the kind of book you want to read more than once. I hope today is a better day!

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