It is a lazy, summer day. My husband suggests we drive out to the St. Clair River, watch the boats, and walk along the river together. We get there early afternoon and walked the river and look in some shops. Mike goes to get lunch, and I find an empty bench near the river to wait for him.

People watching—one of my favorite things to do. I watch and wonder why they’re smiling, or fighting. That man looks sad and lonely. Those kids have so much energy! I smile as I see the two young lovers laughing. I wonder what each story is.

Seeing Stories

I look at my watch and wonder what happened to my husband—and my lunch. As I turn to look for him behind me, I notice a woman over my shoulder to my right. She sits in a chair, under a tree, writing frantically in a notebook. She seems sad and burdened, and my heart is drawn to her.

Earlier that same summer, I sat in a park, feeling sad and writing in my journal. So, I know she carries something heavy in her heart.

A few minutes go by, and I turn again to look for my husband. I notice now the woman is crying. My heart weeps with her, and I feel God moving, saying, “I’m giving you time to share your story.” But I tell God I am not going over to the woman; I don’t want to interrupt her. I don’t want to look nosy. I don’t want to be intrusive, I argue.

But to no avail. Again, I feel the nudge. “Go speak with her.”

I realize I won’t win, so I might as well give in now.

As I approach her, she wipes her tears away and seems quite uncomfortable. I say I don’t want to interrupt or bother her, but I noticed she was writing and crying. I say I had done similar things when I was working through a hard time not long ago. She says yes, she is going through a very difficult time. She says her name is Susan.

I share my story with Susan and ask if I could pray, and she says that would be fine. I take a big risk as I hold her hand and call out to God to help Susan with the heavy burden she is carrying. As I finish praying, Susan thanks me.

She says she felt hopeless and asked God for a sign it was going to be okay.

When she looked up from her notebook, I was walking toward her.

Sharing My Story 

God not only helped Susan and renewed her hope that summer afternoon, He helped me, too. God showed me that sharing my story, sharing my pain, was helpful to others who are hurting.

Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone makes all the difference.

Now I try to see my story—even my pain—as a tool God has given me. When I share my story, I can show God’s power, and He uses it to help other people. And I’m blessed too. Maybe I need to remind myself that my struggle, my story, is all a part of a bigger story God is writing in my life.

And by the way, I did find my husband and my lunch!


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