Everyone has a story. When I speak at women’s retreats and conferences, I hear many. Some stories draw laughter. Others draw tears. Some leave me speechless, in awe of how God reveals Himself to those who seek Him. How He provides for those who ask. How He grants wisdom to those who lack.
I spoke at a women’s retreat on the past weekend, and once again, I heard stories. Several broke my heart. One in particular stands out. This one I can share because it’s public knowledge. Most are confidential.
A woman I’d met at a retreat a couple of years ago approached me to say hi. Then her eyes filled with tears and she told me that her daughter died last February, killed in a car accident only five days before her nineteenth birthday. She described the details, and I recalled hearing about it on the news when it happened.
Words cannot describe the pain I felt on this mother’s behalf. “I’m so sorry for your loss,” I said. And I gave her a long hug.
Other women shared their stories with me throughout the weekend. Some, like that mother, verbalized them. Others left notes at my book table—written words exposing the pain they could not speak.
My trip home last evening took six hours. Plenty of time to ponder the stories I’d heard. Plenty of time to pray for these precious women and for the many others who attended the retreat, some likely carrying secret and heavy concerns.
Undoubtedly you have a story, too. Maybe you’ve faced a recent loss or bitter disappointment. A friend or spouse’s betrayal. The pain of watching your child make negative life-altering choices. The ongoing pain of health issues that baffle medical professionals.
Some mornings you wake and wonder how you’ll get up and function. Some days you’d rather stay in bed than wear a plastic smile again. Perhaps you’re living a story that you wish could be rewritten. If so, I want to encourage you today with a couple of verses I read this morning:
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
“I listen carefully to what God the LORD is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people” (Psalm 85:8).
Take time to read and reread these verses. What is the Lord saying to you through them?
Here’s my prayer for those of you with difficult stories: “May you experience peace through the knowledge that the Lord of peace is with you now and always. May you keep your eyes and ears tuned for His voice. As you walk with Him through this journey, may He speak peace to your heart. May you listen well, for His words might come through a song, a poem, a quote, or a quiet whisper. Ask Him to help you take His words to heart. And know that you are loved. Amen.”