I recently returned from a glorious week at the beach with my family. There is nothing better than waking up when the sky is dark to wait for the sun to paint the colors of a brand new day. With a flashlight in one hand and the palm of a three-year old in the other hand…we walk together down to the shore. She shines the light on the waves splashing our feet as the sun begins to peek over the horizon to swallow the darkness. We shield our eyes and we say, “God is good. He is good. He is good!”
Experiencing God’s goodness with a three-year old holding a flashlight makes for a better story.
I’ve been creating and writing my storyline…a timeline of my life thus far, mapped out with dates and a few words describing significant events and memories. Spilling those words onto paper has stirred my emotions like ocean waves rolling in, rising and falling till it meets the sandy shore, only to begin again. I wipe away tears of joy and taste the saltiness of regret and sadness…and hope for a better story.
A living hope is needed to get through life and endure suffering. A living hope enables a better story of both sorrow and joy. This living hope is an inheritance achieved for us by Christ. (a living hope…1 Peter 1: 3 ESV) 
Writing my storyline has been a challenging exercise, yet beneficial because it has forced me to unpack a trunk full of tattered and worn out memories…some that I’ve tried to patch-up or forget with a quick fix of self-medication. I find it easier to put messy things that aren’t very pleasant in an “out of sight–out of mind” place.
Writing a better story has the power to change us. It tells us we must change and it tells us how we must change. We learn from our lines in the script. The gospel of grace does that.
Of course, my storyline begins with the day I was born and that date is marked with an image of a rock. There are many rocks–stones marking light-hearted and significant events on my storyline but the first image of a boulder was placed on the date of my ninth birthday…the beginning of a remarkable deeper story of learning what it means to be rescued. 
A storyline with God as the rescuer is a better story.
We all have a story…a story worth remembering…a story worth passing on. A better story is to preserve knowledge and a legacy of God’s goodness over many generations. I chose to use stones or a boulder as a visual reminder of pivotal moments that are life changing and undeniably God working. There are many references about stones in the bible. For example, Joshua’s pile of stones is a story prompt, by which a new generation could understand the power of God.   For me to live a better story is to take all of those stones and boulders—chiseled, hammered, cut and etched with scars—and learn from the tears, celebrate the joy, and never forget that my human heart is so hard like a stone, so self-absorbed, so filled with anger and self-pity and pride, that nothing but God’s power can cut it, change it. 
Living a better story is to belong in God’s storyline…this is a very good story!
What is your story? How are you living a better story?
This song is about the goodness of God. Written and composed by Seth Irby and sung by Phil Kirk. Enjoy!
Remembering the story of a nine year old child: “God doesn’t dress you in dirty clothes”