I didn’t realize I did it. Honestly, I never really paid much attention. Until one day when a friend of mine teasingly made the statement, “You know how Mandie is–always telling stories!”

Always telling stories? Huh. Doesn’t everybody do the same thing?

As time progressed I realized that she was right. You ask me how school’s going and I awkwardly pause to remember what I’ve been taught to say in these situations, “It’s going well. Just trying to hang in there. . .how are you?” And then there’s more awkward silence. And eventually one of us walks off, fake-smiling the whole way.

But stories? That’s different. It’s my way of saying, “I like you. Let me show you my world.” I want to tell you about a beautiful lady who fell in love with a misunderstood man. And how together they raised three rotten children. Let me describe the way we suffered together and fought and eventually grew closer than we’d ever imagined. Listen to me and I’ll show you where I’ve been. And what I’ve felt.

Yes, stories are glorious things.

Every single person you encounter is made up of millions of stories. Some trivial, some life-changing. Some happy, some sad. But none, surprisingly, are worthless. All these stories are working for a much greater purpose. They scream, “Here is a person, hand-crafted by God for a specific purpose.” They whisper, “Here a person lived and loved and laughed. Here was life. Praise be to God.”

And more times than we’re willing to admit, these stories cry, “Here a person chose to be ungrateful, to toss purpose aside, to shut the door on God.”

Story-telling is wonderful. It’s where I’ve found my purpose, it’s where I’ve found hope of a brighter future, it’s where I’ve found my God-given gift. But, as always, there’s a catch: in my own story-telling and through this arrogant heart of mine, I oftentimes forget Who really is the writer here.

I had a lot of dreams in the years past. Dreams that have pretty much faded in recent days. The main dream consisted of a red polka-dot dress, bare-footed laughter, star gazing, dancing, dates, and banter. Oh, the banter.

I even had the perfect character all lined up and ready to go. I submitted the script to God numerous times, but it was a no-go.

And when my hopes went down faster than the Titanic, I got mad. At God. In my silly, girlish head I felt like somehow He was toying with me. Or laughing at me.

I found it was neither. God simply needed to teach me that my story is none of my business. He’s in charge and if my life is to have any purpose at all, I have to accept that. I kick and I scream because I want answers right. now. If He wanted a submissive robot He should’ve created one, right? I mean, I’m like a journalism major. You can’t just not give me answers to my questions, God. I’ll even put it off the record for You. That’s a bargain, Sir.

^And there’s what God listens to all day. When I go to Heaven, I really should take Him a Starbucks. Hopefully my angel won’t mind a quick pick-me-up.

So basically? Trust in Him. Live your life and enjoy the story unfolding before you. It really is beautiful and do you know why? Because it’s being written by the ultimate Writer Who loves you. Who is working all things for your good.

And one day, we’ll all look back to these dream-crushing times and say, “Oh.”

And God will smile and say, “See? I told you.”