Have you ever had a day that was so chock full of emotion that you are completely, emotionally hungover the next day?

Well…that is me today.

Yesterday my niece graduated from high school.

I may be weeping under those sunglasses…but you can’t prove it! 😍😍

To say that I am proud of her is the understatement of a lifetime.

My niece is one of the sweetest, strongest, most beautiful inside and out, hilarious teenagers you’ll ever meet.

Sitting through convocation and graduation, one word kept running through my mind.

The word STORY.

You see…we all have a story. When we’re children, our stories are largely out of our control. When we get to a certain age, though, we find the pen in our hand.

You can no longer blame your parents.

Or your teachers.

Or the bullies.

Or the mean girls.

The story is YOURS.

The valedictorian of the class talked about how she had to get out of her comfort zone to address the graduation crowd. She talked about how her grandparents had to leave the comfort of their country to afford her family the opportunity to hear her speak.

If you’re reading this, YOU are the author of your story.

Yes, I know that God is the ultimate Author, but He gave you free will, so get your religious panties out of their bunch and follow me.

YOU have a choice of how you will react to circumstances presented.

YOU have the choice to increase your talents of bury them.

YOU have the choice to continue lingering on me telling you to un-bunch your panties or to learn something.

Last night, after the high of seeing my niece and the WHS Class of 2018 graduate, I dealt with some really strong, STRONG challenges.

I had to be strong when my knees wanted to buckle.

I had to allow people I love write a chapter of their story that I wanted to carry as my own.

Even as I type this, tears sting my eyes and my head is pounding.

I can’t unsee the fear, the helplessness.

I can’t un-hear the guttural screams of deep disbelief and fear.

I can’t un-feel the agony I experienced as I was utterly helpless to help write this next chapter in the life of someone else.

You see…the highest of highs and the lowest of lows are what makes our stories our own.

Without darkness, you cannot truly appreciate the light.

Without deep sadness, you cannot fully appreciate utter bliss.

Until yesterday, I never understood just how proud God is of the things that make us proud.

Until last night, I never understood why God allows bad things to happen.

Until last night, I never understood the depth of grief God feels when one of His children suffers.

Until right now, I never truly understood the depths of God’s love.

Emotions are not meant to be controlled. Emotions are meant to show is the heart of the Father.

The outrage you feel at injustice…is how God feels about injustice…times infinity.

The love and pride you feel when someone you love succeeds…is how God feels…times infinity.

The helplessness you feel when you can’t pluck grief or fear from a loved one…is how God feels…times infinity.

Have a teachable spirit. Don’t run from your emotions. Don’t numb your emotions. Lean into them. Look them in the eye. Validate them. Hear what they’re saying.

As much as I hated the way I *felt* last night, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

It’s part of my story.

What’s your story?

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