The worst week of Joy Everhart’s life goes to show that Jesus loves redeeming our broken, messy character arcs.

“T ell a story where you are the main character but not the hero,” my professor said.

“Hmm. Interesting,” I thought. After all, isn’t that the epitome of the gospel? We are each the main character of our own stories, yet we cannot save ourselves. (Enter Jesus Christ.)

The assignment was to write a narrative introducing myself to my professor. My professor wanted a narrative writing from each student in order to get to know his class better. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about until I looked back over the month of August and the chaos it had brought to my life.

In order to know me, you have to know what I’m not. I am not outgoing. I am not cool. I do not have it all together. I do not know what I’m doing. So when Silas Nelson called me and told me dorm scholarship money suddenly became available to put me in the dorms for a semester, you must understand that I felt like the least capable person. Yet I accepted, knowing more can be done through my weakness than my strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). I didn’t know how correct I was.

A week later, after a few Rockers and I were praying about being missional in the dorms, I returned to my car to find the window smashed and my wallet and purse missing. I cried a little, but unwilling to cry in front of my friends, I quickly pulled myself together. We called the cops, filed a report and I called my bank and cancelled my cards. That night my dad called and told me a childhood friend had been killed in a car accident. I didn’t cry. I was in shock. I called my sister and listened while she cried. I promised to be over first thing in the morning. Later that week, I realized there was strange activity on my accounts. I rushed to the bank but it was too late. My account was negative. Despite my cancelled cards, the person successfully robbed me blind. I filed claims and a day later I moved into the dorms.

That Friday, I went to my friend’s funeral. Up to this point I was calm, unnaturally so. Where was the meltdown? Where was the breaking point? Why so strong? I didn’t know. As I prepared for the funeral, my grief grew. By the time I arrived to say goodbye to my friend, I was a mess. Halfway through the funeral I got the text I was dreading: the repair guy was done fixing my car window, and I had to leave to go pay him. I was furious. Livid. Angrier than I had ever been ever. The guy had been late. Now I had to leave my friend’s funeral to pay him. I raced home in my mom’s 15-passenger van, paid the man and raced back to the church. The parking lot was packed and my spot was gone.

Now I’m weeping, since I’m alone. I find a tight spot in the back and swing in. Remember, it’s a 15-passenger van. I get in halfway and now I’m stuck. If I move I’ll hit one of the cars I’m sandwiched between. This is the part where I lose it.

“I can’t do this, God! I can’t do this!” I repeated, screaming and hitting the wheel. I’m done.

This is who am: broken and useless and wailing at the feet of God. I can’t go to the dorms and I can’t recover from my car break-in. I can’t park this van and I certainly can’t help bring others to the church. “I can’t do this, God! I can’t, I can’t!

“Turn the wheel.”

God rarely speaks to me, but when he does I hear it and I obey. I shift into reverse and turn the wheel. Less than an inch from side-swiping the green Subaru next to me, I back out of the parking spot and straighten out. I pull in, performing one of the neatest parking jobs one can imagine in a 15-passenger van. I return to the church to say goodbye to a much-loved friend.

I am not the hero (or savior, if you will) of my story. I am messy and unqualified. God is the savior, and it is only by his strength that I made it past the worst week of my life still holding onto the courage I need to enter the dorms and love people. I have my strengths, but more importantly I have my weaknesses, which God uses to show his power and strength.