If you’re reading this, it is likely because you love stories. Whether you’re a reader, a writer, or love a good movie or TV show, we all relate to story. However, sometimes that story takes an unexpected turn. When it does, do we stop reading or watching? Or do we trust the author? Today, my sweet friend, Carrie, joins me to talk about the middle of the story.
In the Middle of the Story
by Carrie Schmidt
Since I was very little, my life has been all about story. I drank it in wherever I could, however I could, in whatever form it came. Especially books. Always books.
And one of my very favorite things about “story” is how every story at its root is ultimately a reflection of THE Story. God’s Story of redemption. The Truest of true stories. The one that starts with “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1) as its “once upon a time” and ends with the happiest “happily ever after” of them all (Revelation 21:3-4).
But that’s another blog post for another time.
Because right now I’m in the middle of my own story.
Life is not at all going the way I had planned. Especially not the way I had dreamed. And trusting God in the middle of this not-going-according-to-plan story He’s writing for me? Well, to say it’s not always easy would be one of my greatest understatements ever.
And yet… I do this on a much smaller level every time I read a new novel or watch a new movie. You do, too.
If we had stopped reading Pride and Prejudice in the middle of the story, Mr. Darcy would never have become one of the greatest heartthrobs in romance. Instead, he would be forever memorialized in our minds as arrogant and aloof and a relationship-wrecker. And Colin Firth would have not been nearly as famous… but perhaps he would have been drier.
If we had stopped reading Little Women in the middle, we may not have grieved quite so much … or gotten quite so irritated … but we also certainly would not have rejoiced as much either. We wouldn’t have seen independence and triumph and unexpected selfless love.
What about the movie Sleepless in Seattle? If we had turned it off halfway through, we might think that Tom Hanks (spoiler alert – although, really, if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s your own fault, haha!) ended up with that annoying woman and Meg Ryan went back home from her stalking research trip and settled for the adorable but boring Bill Pullman who didn’t understand her.
But we keep reading. And we keep watching.
Why? Because we trust the author, the screenwriter, the director. We trust them to give us the happily ever after, the need for which – incidentally – is imbedded in our hearts and called “eternity” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We trust them even though we don’t know them.
In God’s Story, our own personal happily ever afters may not look like we envisioned. But that’s because our individual separate stories aren’t individual or separate. They are subplots in THE Story, all threads of grace and redemption that tie together in one ultimate Narrative called Jesus. We can trust Him because we know Him.
When the middle of your story looks a bit chaotic, a little murky or a lot hopeless, trust the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). Trust Him to complete the story He’s started writing in you (Philippians 1:6), the one He’s promised to keep writing even after everyone else thinks the story is over.
Because the truth is – it’s not over until our Prince Charming comes riding in on His white horse to sweep His bride off her feet and conquer the enemy with a single word (Revelation 19).
And that’s my favorite story of them all.
Carrie Schmidt (aka MeezCarrie) is an avid reader, a book reviewer, a story addict, a KissingBooks fan and a book boyfriend collector. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Her passion in blogging/reviewing is to connect readers with a new favorite author or book, especially in the Christian fiction genre. Carrie lives in central Kentucky with her hubby Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is the long distance cool aunt to nine nieces and nephews. When she’s not reading or reviewing or “cool-aunting”, Carrie teaches English as a Second/Other Language to international adults. Learn more about Carrie at http://readingismysuperpower.org.
Let’s talk about this: Carrie opened up about how her life, in the middle of her story, isn’t going according to how she planned. I think it’s safe to say that most of us feel that way. However, she also talked about not giving up in the middle of our story and trusting the Author. Have you ever felt like giving up in the middle of your own story? How did the Lord bring you through that chapter? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below (or over at Living by Grace) so we can encourage and pray for one another.
Love this. Knowing we can trust the Author is key. Knowing the ultimate end of the story is also great!
(I tend to get more annoyed at characters doing dumb things on the second read-through of a story, but I am not as stressed about the outcome.) =)
Amen! And your analogy made me smile. 🙂
yes!! Knowing the end of the story is KEY!! I love that God knew that about us so He went ahead and gave us all the spoilers 🙂
Carrie, I needed this reminder today! Thank you so much! 😉
Hi, Caryl, I’m so glad Carrie’s post encouraged you! I love her wisdom and transparency! 🙂
i’m so glad, Caryl ❤
Beautifully said, Carrie. Really touching some cords right now because I’m definitely in the gritty middle of my story. And yes, I’ve been tempted to just give up. A lot over the last six years and wallow in the messy middle. The Lord knew just how to reach me though. Through story. Christian Fiction has played a huge part in lifting me up. Reading blogs like this where others share inspiration is another. Delivering a church right into my neighbourhood which is going to have small groups starting up in the fall (yeeehawwww!) is a HUGE one. So I’d say community is what nudges me forward.
Oh, Kav, I hate to hear you’re having such a tough time. That’s hard. I’m so glad God used Carrie’s story to encourage you, and that He has surrounded you with a loving support system. Hugs!
Hey sweet friend! I am THRILLED for you about the small groups! Community & providential relationships are so important in our ability to trust God in the messy middles of our stories. You are an encouragement to me in the middle of mine! ❤
What a beautiful message, Carrie! My life is not going how I’d hoped either. Not at all lately. And that may be how it remains. Disappointing? Yes. It’s easy to forget that it’s all only the middle of the story.
Such a beautiful post, Carrie, and so true – thank you!! My life’s plan certainly didn’t include spending my retirement years, aka the “golden years”, battling cancer for the 3rd time (stage 4) and helping care for a seriously ill mother, father, and aunt. Yet, God has used the gift of story to draw me out of my trials and bring joy in my life through Christian Fiction, fellowship and prayer with it’s godly authors and reader friends, seeing His hand in CFRR as I plan it along with you and Annie, and drawing me ever closer to Him. His timing in all of it is perfect, I trust Him enough to know His story ending for me will be also and that He will use all my trials for my good!!
Bonnie, my dear friend, YOU have taught me so much about trusting God in the middle of my story. You have been a gift to me ❤
Wow Carrie! I just finished reading “God’s Will” by Meghan Gorecki this morning, now this. I think Someone it trying to tell me something. It’s been almost 6 years since my husband got sick. We still don’t have a diagnosis, he nearly died a couple of times. The most the doctors can say is it’s something neurological they don’t have a test for yet. He’s on oxygen, blood thinners and a whole host of other medications. To say that my story has not gone the way I thought it would is a huge understatement. I’ve not seen my daughter and grandsons for 2 years, money is too tight for both of our families and my husband does not travel well. I have my own health issues but they have taken a back seat to everything else.. I am “in the middle of it,” trying hard to trust the Author, some days are harder than others. I’ve nearly given up several times. I am alone in my care giving role. Friends have fallen away, family lives too far away to help. I have neighbor boy, though he’s 21 now I shouldn’t call him a boy, who helps, he brings the mail, mows the lawn, removes the snow and carries in the groceries. He has truly been a blessing. The past few of weeks have been very difficult for me.I turn to books for escape and The Book for comfort and strength but sometimes find none there, and I am in the pit of despair. I trudge through the days and wait for a still small voice.
oh Andrea – my heart aches for you! i relate to what you’re experiencing on such a very small scale but i do know that the Author is writing an exquisite story through all of this. Even King David fell into the pits sometime, and I think as long as we keep our eyes fixed to Jesus we eventually find that joy in spite of our circumstances. I’m praying for you, my friend! I’m here if I can help ❤
What an inspiring post! You’ve touched many people’s hearts with it and helped us all remember that we are not alone in our many struggles. Life isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. We learn and grow from our trials, and everybody has them–they’re just different for each person. We can look at someone and think she/he has a perfect life, but we don’t know what’s going on inside and what they might be battling. We all hit rough patches–some more rough than others–but we need to keep the main goal in mind. We need to have faith that things will work out. Thanks to both of you for your beautiful post and for being an inspiration to me and countless others! Hugs!!
Thanks for your honesty, Carrie. I find strength in this simple (yet profound) quote: “Everyone has a happy ending. If you’re not happy, it’s not the end.” To me it means there’s more to the story/situation to be experienced, and hopefully it gets better from here. ((Hugs))
What a great reminder! Thank you Carrie!
Carrie, I would say that your brilliance is showing again today, because this is such a heartfelt post, but I have a feeling that you would just re-direct me back to the One who is the author and finisher of our faith. ( it’s so cool that God shared truth through stories)But I will say, having lived long enough now to look back on chapters of my life that I never wish to repeat, that those experiences made exactly who I am today . . . . . and amazingly, God is not finished with me yet!
I participated in First Line Friday and decided to check out your other posts from this week, Carrie, which led me here. Glad I did. The analogy was beautiful and very real to me. The word picture is going to stick with me when I travel another valley. We’ve been told we will face tribulations in this world, but as you reminded us- thd spoiler alert is out- He overcame the world! Praise Him! Then comments have reminded me how blessed I am even during times of personal struggle. Thank you for reminding us of the grace of our Author and Finisher. ♡
Wow this is so powerful and inspirational. I stumbled upon this and opened it, thinking it was something else, but it was truly what I needed to hear. Thank you!
I am so glad you were encouraged! God is so good to lead us to just what we need when we need it!