When You Don’t Like the Plot Line of Your Story

I snuggle into the overstuffed nest-like chair in my bedroom with knees pulled up, feet against the ottoman, Bible and books scattered around me.IMG_0516

It feels safe here.

Through my window I see there’s a tug ‘o war going on between the clouds and sun that mimics the push and pull of the thoughts in my head.

Outside the gray is winning.


I’m reflecting on the plot line of the story God is writing with my brother, David’s life.

How many millions of times, with how many different words have I prayed for healing for my brother?

Please, please, please… Write the story THIS way Lord!

Now I’m out of words. Or when I have them, they end up feeling rote and empty of meaning or power. Like some mumbo jumbo incantation from an old tired magician. Now there are only groans and sighs left.


It’s not my words, after all, that hold any power. It’s just You. You hold the pen.

Come Holy Spirit. Have mercy.  Pray in my place please, with all the right and mystical and holy words that I don’t have.

I breathe. I listen. And then I remind You of how well Your razzle-dazzle work with Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter played, in case You forgot. I suggest that showing off with a healing like that again wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Write another amazing blockbuster!

I fluctuate between wanting to distract myself with a happy clappy crowd of people, and craving silence, and just You, Jesus.

Like an overloaded African truck, I strain under the most recent tonnage of  words like “It’s spreading too fast to fight”.


I share the weight of those words with both You and praying friends.

But once I’ve dumped them one last time, I end up sitting very still and breathing.

Not thinking. Not carrying. Not burdened, but just being. And breathing. Breathing in You.  Reassured that no matter what,  You are good and nothing – NOTHING – can separate us from Your love.

David is afraid of how this might affect his boys – seeing their vibrant, active dad, weak and helpless. But I tell him they are seeing a different kind of strength in him now; a strength of faith and character that far outweighs the importance of physical strength. It is a picture of Your strength that Kyle, Cris, and Cooper need so desperately. A strength that serves, and submits to a larger story.

1 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

There are so many physical choices Dave can no longer make – the choice to hike, to fly-fish, to ski, to golf. But he is doing hard and holy things. Each day he makes the loving choices he can – calling each of the many doctors and nurses by name, thanking them, affirming what a great job they’re doing, even as he is in tremendous pain. This is Your strength.

My sweet brother knows You as the Lover of his soul, and looks forward to spending forever with You, but he’s worried that if he dies, his boys will blame You. There are a million reasons why he wants You to heal him, but this may be number one.

He knows that in spite of how we may read our chapter, You see all the characters, all the plot lines, the beginning and the end and you weave them together for Your purposes. You are good and perfect, but we live in a world bent by sin, and that can leave us angry and confused and wanting to shout very bad words in frustration when the story doesn’t go the way we think it should.

Throughout the past months Dave has said repeatedly that You are the Holy Ghost-Writer of his story and he’s just a supporting character. Each day, he has shown up and waited for what You want to write. He’s looked for the moments to cheer You as the Hero. He’s been honest about the plot twists and turns that seem confusing, the times the Villain seems to be winning, times when he’d like to grab the pen back from You.

You are writing an epic Love story, while we sometimes want to settle for pulp fiction.

But David continues to trust You as the Master-crafter who already wrote the end to our story when You went to the cross.  On Golgotha, we were afraid maybe You were writing a tragedy. Or maybe You weren’t the hero we thought You were. Maybe it was just a story of death. But it wasn’t. We waited and discovered three days later it is a story of Life. And it is a good story.


  1. No words. Only love … for you, your dear folks, Susan & the boys. Thanking God with you for the safe place of His love.

  2. Your words say the questions we all have and show us the faith we strive for during this very difficult time. We are individuals who like being in control. It is times like this that “control” seems so impossible. Such a reminder that we never were in control. Our Faith is was leads us ahead. Your family shows how Faith guides our lives and how God’s grace teaches us patience. I continue praying for healing and God’s steady hand each and every day for Dave, Susan and your whole family.

  3. Beautiful: “But I tell him they are seeing a different kind of strength in him now; a strength of faith and character that far outweighs the importance of physical strength, … A strength that serves, and submits to a larger story.” Thank you, Laura.

  4. Laura McConkey

    July 4, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    Thank you for your messages, and the way you are continuing to serve as a voice for Dave’s witness. We continue to stand alongside you, Dave, and the rest of your family in prayer. It can take us a while to reach this point sometimes, but the best thing we can do I s pray the prayer that never fails–“Thy will be done”. Blessings to you in this time.

  5. Your family continues to be such an inspiration of faith and trust in Jesus. Praying for Dave, Kyle, Chris, Cooper and all.

  6. Jane Johansen

    July 4, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    Thanks for putting some of my thoughts into words, Laura.

    One of my dear friends who is praying for Dave commented (after reading some of the things he has written) that Dave is “doing the best parenting of his life.” That struck me to be so profoundly true. His example is impacting our whole family and all those who read his words of trust and faith during the storm.

  7. Well said and beautifully written – thank you Laura.

  8. There is absolute beauty and peace in the love of God that shines through your words today. Thank you for the blessing that you shared by writing these words. I love how God is our Author and now we need to put down the pen and let Him do what he does so well. Blessings!

  9. I’m new to your blog, but wow I have no words for your faith and trust in the Lord. A beautiful statement of faith and love. Without even knowing your family I’m sure that the parenting that is being lived out over your nephews is truly powerful! Visiting from #tellhisstory

  10. Trying to remember the good story of Life as I pray for all of you daily.

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