Maybe you recall a Christmas that was simply awful—a time you were heartbroken, or homeless, or broke, or far from home, or jilted, or frightened, or sick—and your future looked bleak.
You remember it as the worst Christmas ever.
But I invite you to think again.
Writing a memoir can be such a blessed project. Memoir requires taking long, deep looks at the past. Memoir involves pondering, re-thinking, unearthing, and finding gems we might not have known were there.
Sometimes what seems to be our biggest disaster
turns out to be a blessing—
one we couldn’t have received without the difficulty.
Sometimes we think a calamity will destroy us, but God works in the midst of our situations and, in the way only He can do it, He turns everything inside out and upside down and—instead of destroying us—it makes us stronger and better.
Failures. Tangled messes. Catastrophes, Tragedies. Conflicts. Blows. Adversity. Upheavals. Disasters. Setbacks. Unwelcome surprises.
God can use our deep disappointments to get our attention,
shake us up a little,
clear our heads,
help us see we were putting our hope in something we shouldn’t,
open new doors for us,
give us new perspectives,
tenderize our souls,
give us fresh starts.
God can do all that.
That’s what Romans 8:28 is about: “…God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purposes for them.” (NLT)
A long time ago, H.C. Trumbull told this story:
“The floods washed away home and mill, all the poor man had in the world. But as he stood on the scene of his loss, after the water had subsided, brokenhearted and discouraged, he saw something shining in the bank which the waters had washed bare. ‘It looks like gold,’ he said. It was gold. The flood which had beggared him made him rich. So it is ofttimes in life.” (Quoted by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert, January 20 selection.)
When turnarounds and relief and solutions eventually come our way, it’s so easy to snatch them, run with them, and never look back. We too easily fail to recognize God’s intervention on our behalf, and we pay too little attention to the good He has brought to us out of the midst of our hardships.
Take time—make time—to dig through the dirt and ashes of what you thought was your most disastrous Christmas, and mine those bits of gold.
Search for evidence of God’s healing, new directions He offered you, new friends, and new hope.
Pinpoint the ways He strengthened your faith for the future.
Recognize these were all part of God’s unique plan for you and your life.
Gather those discoveries and write stories in your memoir that detail the ways God was with you in the midst of your worst Christmas ever.
Write stories about the way He took a disaster and turned it into something good—blessings you couldn’t have received without that difficulty. Instead of destroying you, it made you stronger and better.
If you’ll make time to do that, you can receive heaps of blessings.
But it doesn’t end there. Your readers can benefit, too.
Like Jeff Goins said: