Every day, it’s a new book, or so it seems. The pages of words line so many spaces in my home. The books are piled up on shelves and night stands and my dresser. In the living room and bathroom and all over my car, in the seats and in the trunk. The words that fill my world are flowing all around me, and I live in those words, and I love them.
Tonight I am reading a new book and as I reached over to my nightstand to find something to use as a bookmark, the thought passed through my mind as I grabbed an index card lying in front of my clock:
I am but a bookmark in this life.
My life, the novel of my days — of my triumphs and heartbreaks and victories — is a story unfolding in front of me. It’s looming, and I hope there are more pages yet to come than those I have passed through. I can’t be sure of that, though. But I know one thing.
I am not writing this story.
My story is already written. It has an ending, and I’ve spoiled the ending already for myself — but I am so glad I’ve read the last page. Even if I can’t tell you the details, I know the climax of these chapters and years and valleys, the unfolding bits of grace and mercy in my life: eternal life with my King — not judgement or death but everlasting life.
Of all the things I’ve ever wanted to write in my life, the beautiful words and the words that make you stop and reread… All of the words I’ve wanted to speak into being and into other people’s lives… For all of that want and desire, I want you to know:
I am so glad I am not writing my own.
I would have left unwritten the best parts. I would have fast-forwarded through the lessons in forgiveness and grace and love. I would have missed the breath-taking moments, the orange and pink sunsets, in favor of the dimmer sundowns. I would have missed God’s blessings because I’d’ve skipped right past the moments of struggle. I would have said no to the tears and yes to the average and mundane, to showing and not telling. I would have tried to skip grit and in doing so, never have lived to see the glory.
But God never made me mundane. He made me loud and bright and colorful. He made me an extrovert and crafty with words and a lover of people. He didn’t write for me the boring roles full of dull colors and one-liners. No, when He wrote this story I am living, He wrote me in with passion and strong, vibrant lines.
I would have given anything as a teenager to tone it down. To blend in and do life like everyone else. I tried. So many mornings I woke up and thought, “Today. Today is the day where I just act like everyone else already.”
And every day, I failed because that is never who He intended for me to be.
I’m living this moment, bookmarked for Him.
He is whispering to me, “I colored outside of the lines with you. I picked the vivid crayons, the ones with the crispest points to make the sharpest lines. I never wanted you to fit into the rest of the world. I have always wanted you to stand out… for Me.”
I am so glad He is writing me.
He has written me as poetry, fluid and approximate, as I have traveled these years.
He has written me as prose, stubborn and boxy and detailed as I’ve walked these decades.
He has written me, line by line, a bloom of petals on pages.
He writes me still, in my stillness and when I cannot hold my body still.
I am just living the words He already has written for me.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
(Psalm 139:16, NKJV)
Page by page. Each day the bookmark is placed in a new chapter, a new season. The plot thickens. I am a mystery He is writing but I know how it ends. With this story He has begun a good work and He will complete it because He keeps His promises — before they are ever lived, when they are only a mere whisper of words on His pages.
He has engraved me into the palms of His hands. I am, for this reason, His chosen genre and His bestseller.
So I will live my story boldly.