Sometimes, life gets hard. Mistakes are made. People fail. Bad stuff happens. Or, to say it more poetically,

“Into each life some rain must fall,” Longfellow

While preparing to speak at a college fundraiser, Wendell and I have gone back through thirty years of our family and church history. Most of it is encouraging. Some of it is embarrassing. And a good bit of it is completely messed up. And painful.

It is tempting to leave those bits out the way we want to hide the pictures of our hair and clothes from the eighties. But our mistakes, losses, and disappointments are all part of history. If King David didn’t hide the fact that he was an adulterer and murderer, I probably shouldn’t hide my stuff, either.

The king and I have this in common: God’s grace has covered our mistakes. The blood of Jesus has covered our sins. And the daily work of the Holy Spirit keeps us walking forward with our heads up and our hearts clear despite our past.

It is never easy to read about the places where life went wrong, and I’m not going to dwell on those or make them the Main Thing. But, I’m not going to edit them out of my life history either. If my grandchildren are going to know about the books I wrote and the awards I received, they should also know about that time I lied and blamed my best friend for something I did. Or those years I thought my little church had a corner on all the truth of the Kingdom of God.

When I read our history, I’m so grateful for God’s mercy and His redeeming love. That is the best story to tell.