I love stories.
I love hearing stories, I love watching stories, I love reading stories and I love telling stories. I have since I was a little kid. I remember my grade 3 version of myself with deepest desires to be an author. I would write these grand stories with every detail overly embellished and silly unbelievable plot lines that made sense to me, and probably only me. I was captivated by the mystical and magical world of Narnia. I was swept up in the worlds Rhold Dahl created and the mysteries of Enid Blyton. Judy Blume was central to my pre-teen years and as I grew, so did the stories I read or watched.
Now when I say I like stories I really mean it… any story. I can get totally captivated by plotlines in Peppa Pig, Twilight, Star Trek and One Tree Hill. My ability to become engrossed in almost any show comes so easily – it usually only takes one scene. I love reading everything from Harry Potter to The DaVinci Code and many other things in between.
I love stories!
It came as a little surprising to me then, that as I was reading a book in the midst of grief and loss 8 years ago – a book that chronicled loss and grief of another family and their journey through pain – that the most poignant part was the inscription to the writers son.
The book “Choosing to See” is written by Mary Beth Chapman. Mary Beth is married to Steven Curtis Chapman, a very successful Christian singer/songwriter in the USA. I have listened to his music since I was a kid and so, when I hear she had written a book, I was drawn to it. In fact, someone had flagged this for me after we lost our baby girl, as The Chapman’s story included loss of their own baby girl. It seemed a no brainer to me.
It was an incredible story. Mary Beth and Steven had 3 biological children and 3 adopted children. One afternoon, one of their sons (17 at the time I think) was driving into the driveway and as his 5 year old sister came to welcome him home, he hit and killed her with the car. The book speaks with incredible care, forgiveness and tenderness of the families journey up to and throughout the loss and devastation.
It was a great book. One that helps people dealing with grief that it’s a journey, nit an event. Grief is ongoing and moves in waves. (This I know very well).
The most incredible part of this book for me was the dedication to her son. It said this:
“You have been entrusted with an incredible pain! I’m so sorry. I wish as your mom I could take it away, but I know God has a plan for you to steward this story well and to minister to others through your suffering….”
Why did this speak to me more than anything else? Because, for the first time I was truly struck with the importance of a person’s story. That perhaps the circumstances and events that have shaped me into who I am have more importance than simply shaping me. Maybe there is a purpose and a responsiblity to all of what I have journeyed through that goes beyond people just “getting to kow me.”
My life; the experiences I have had; my unique personality and nature; what I have seen; what I know; (and most importantly) HOW GOD HAS WORKED; all fit together to make up my story – or more accurately – GOD’S STORY THROUGH ME. This is a story only I can tell.
I could spend hours asking why I had to walk through a particular circumstance? What good could possibly come from me telling someone else what is going on? Even question whether any part of what has happened in my life even matters to anyone else. I am learning that it’s not just my story. I am learning that God works in and through all things. I am learning that God does not make mistakes. His story matters – so if I profess that He lives in me – my story matters too!
So does yours!
This is ultimately my point. God weaves His own story through the lives of people. All of us are a part of his masterpiece that tells the world the story of our Creator, Saviour, Redeemer and Lord.
This is why I believe our stories are so important.
If you read through the bible you see a collection of stories about people. You can read the stories of Abraham, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, King David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jesus, the disciples, Paul. You could choose to read them all as stories in themselves; but if you took a step back and looked at the collection you can see the beauty of a storyteller weaving His own story through the lives and experiences of ordinary, flawed, sinful people. A collection of works that, when gathered, declare only one thing – JESUS CHRIST!
God hasn’t stopped telling His story. He continues to work in and through the lives of ordinary people to show the world His love, His mercy, His goodness and His Grace. He uses sometimes impossible circumstances to demonstrate His power. If only we have eyes to see.
I have only grown to love stories more and more and this revelation captivates me. The stories I look for these days, though, are the stories of the people in my world. I want to hear about the experiences of people and look to see how and where God is working. This is what excites me about stories these days.
I really love stories!