My husband and I went to see a movie Friday night. It had a very odd title: Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close. And while I’d heard it was about 9/11, I found it to truly be a story about, well, stories.
I began blogging to tell my story.
It was October of 2005. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine had started a website for homeschooling moms and offered space to anyone who wanted to try it. There was a contest for funny stories, so I told our favorite family story about Rusty, our hamster. It’s pretty funny, and wound up in a book. You should go read it. I’ll wait.
One of the things I’ve been surprised by over the past six years, though, is that telling my story has allowed me to hear yours. Reading your comments and emails has touched my life and encouraged me in so many ways. It’s more obvious to me now than ever, the power of a story. Our stories … our tales of the way God has moved in our lives; the things He’s seen us through; the places we’ve come apart and been put back together; the mountains He’s moved, the ones we’ve climbed, and those we’ve gone around … and around … and around … They are all our own. And they are powerful. They tell us who we are. They remind us of what God has done. And when we share them, we give one another a very personal, powerful gift. We let someone else learn something of what we’ve learned. We build bridges between us. We let one another know there is hope.
It was a theme in the movie, where a boy in search of his father who was lost in the 9/11 tragedy, travels all over New York City hunting down people with the last name “Black”–and listening to many, many stories in the process.
I have been extremely honored to listen to several stories as I work on interviews for Titus 2 University. Last night I had a real treat as I was able to listen as Amy Bayliss shared her own life story with me as part of the series. Once again I was amazed at the goodness of God and the strength of His women, and the power of our stories to convict and change hearts–especially mine.
I remember the first time I started thinking about all the stories in the world. We would often drive the hour and a half back and forth from Columbus to Omaha, Nebraska, where my grandparents lived. We spent most of that time on long stretches of highway, usually straight and surrounded by corn fields. I would watch all the cars on the highway, and think about all the things that had gone on over the weekend–the interactions that had occured within my family, places we had gone, things we’d seen, etc. And then I’d think about how each car held its own collection of stories from the weekend.
I feel the same way now as I write here. Somewhere on the other side of this screen, there’s a you on the other side of your screen, reading words. Maybe looking for something to make you laugh, or to bring you some hope, or offer some advice. Maybe you’ve got lots of friends and you read blogs just for something to do. Perhaps you live in a remote area and read to feel connected and remind yourself you’re not alone. Maybe you are afraid of other women and blogs are safer than real-life relationships. Maybe you’re hoping to be inspired to get through one more day.
I can’t tell what you need, sweet one, from my side of the screen.
But I do care. I feel God’s love and care for you and how much He wants to encourage you. Sometimes when I write I know just what He wants me to say. He teaches me something and I almost can’t get to the computer fast enough because I know I need to share it. Sometimes something funny or sad has happened, and I put that out there, too. And sometimes I feel like I do today; a little emptied from the busyness of my own life. Longing to say something witty or wise to lift you up, yet knowing today especially that I am but dust.
We got a kick yesterday out of a cartoon on KungFu Panda. Po was complaining about how much hard work he had to do, and he said, “Leading is hard. You have to stand in front, and everyone is looking at you, and you have to … point … ” He didn’t really have much to complain about, so I guess that’s all he could come up with.
Today, dear one, can I just point?
Point to the One who has all the answers, Who laid down His life for you, Who paints the sky to woo your heart and soothe your soul.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Today, may you know the peace to be found in resting in His grace. And ask Him to help you find the courage to share your own powerful story!