A Chair and a Story

I sat in the chair and shifted around nervously. I wasn't worried about the hair cut ahead, more like the questions she would ask.For the better part of the last 7 years the same girl has done my hair. She was there to witness my journey, the good parts and the bad. I remember sitting in her chair telling her of Joel's cancer and her eyes filled with tears. I also remember sitting in her chair exclaiming with joy at long last I was pregnant! She became a friend. Every other month I would go in and sit in her chair and we would catch up on life, every part of it. I was sad when I found out recently she was no longer going to be doing hair due to a move to Texas. There was another excellent girl in the same salon who would be able to do my hair from now on. I had never met her before but decided to take a chance. It was in this new girls chair I found myself sitting, anxiously, nervously. She knew nothing about me. The small talk began. She asked if I had children. Yes, a son. She asked about where I live and I told her. I told her about my parents moving in right around the corner. She asked where my son was that evening. I said my parents were watching him. I could tell by her line of questions she was arriving at the conclusion there was lots of talk about a son and other family members, but there was a husband missing from the equation. We were able to do a little bob and weave around that fact until the question presented itself in full force. I took a deep breath. Here goes. "My husband passed away this summer." Silence. The kind of silence where you can tell you've left a person stunned, speechless and at a loss for words. I've had this moment before. I hate it every time. The moment where my story is told and met with uncomfortable silence. I wish my story were a normal one. Mom, Dad, child, home, family and all of the typical things that go along with it. But it's not. It's actually the farthest thing from normal. If I were to sit down and write a timeline of the last 4 years the timeline would be nothing short of head spinning. But it's my story still. She broke the brief silence with questions. How did my husband pass away? How was my son doing? How was I doing? I started to relax and just share. Share all of the crazy details of the last few years. Share how we were doing. And most importantly share how God was moving in the midst of it all. Our stories are not our own to keep. They are to be shared. Not just the ideal and perfect parts but the messy parts too. Not just the moments of Gods unparalleled goodness, but the moments where you felt His goodness had left you completely. Anything God has lead us through can be used to lead others through as well. It's normal to be scared to share. What will they think of you? Ignore all those fears. Dive in any way. Your story can make an impact. It can change a life. It doesn't even have to be a complicated story like mine. It can be simple and beautiful. Your story makes you-you. God never said we would have perfect, un-messy stories. In fact, sometimes the messiness is what makes the beauty shine even brighter. And makes Him shine the brightest. Through you. Through the story. That only you can tell.