Watching the Story Unfold
by Kristen Hartman
October 16, 2019
I do a lot of watching. I watch birds. I watch people. I’ve spent almost two years watching the patterns of growth and death along the campus creek at work. Last month I watched a dozen giant swallowtail caterpillars decimate the foliage of the navel orange tree in the backyard as they grew into massive, four-inch beasts and then ventured off to find a place to form their chrysalides.
But recently I received an email that let me know someone had been watching and listening to me. It was a long email telling a hard and beautiful tale about how God is writing an amazing story within our church family.
As I read the email, my eyes filled with tears. The story is unfinished. It started decades ago, and there’s much yet to be written. There’s deep, deep pain in it, and it’s laced with staggering hope. The email was full of rich encouragement and wise admonition, and it showed me I am seen by far more eyes than I realize.
It was wild to read that a woman I’ve not met personally sees me as part of her story within this family. But the more I thought about it, the less wild it became. We are one Body made up of many parts. God is writing one story—in and through each of us—full of interconnected plotlines all pointing firmly to Him. It’s for our good and His glory.
We aren’t the central characters of our own lives, and none of us knows who’s watching us at any given moment. But we’re each invited to keep moving forward, saying yes to Jesus, as part of a bigger narrative we can’t fully see. I don’t know the impact of all my yeses . . . or my noes. So I trust that when my eyes—when your eyes—are fixed on Him, it helps turn others’ eyes to Jesus, too.
It’s His story.
And it has my full attention. It’s the best viewing around, and I love watching Him work. He creates the most extraordinary masterpieces out of the most ordinary of starting points. I see His handiwork in others more quickly than I see it in myself, so what a gift when someone takes the time to share that she’s watching, and she sees Him in me.
I’m just a caterpillar munching on a leaf with no inkling of what will emerge as I live out the transformative life God has for me within this Body, this church family. But He sees it all.
Kristen prefers to notice rather than be noticed (ideally with a cup of coffee in hand) and treasures the known-ness of family.