I love a good story. At an early age I was read many stories and as soon as I could read a whole new world of stories opened up to me. I am now watching my kids fall in love with stories. Both of them are ravenous readers but will also ask for a story at any time of the day. I loved the sound of my mother’s voice and her ability to make stories come alive. I loved listening to stories of my parents’ childhood and we often had guests in our home who told the most amazing stories of their own lives. Some of my favourite stories were Enid Blyton and now my Brooke has started to read them for herself. The power of technology means that Brooke can also listen to them on the iPad as she is going to sleep but nothing beats snuggling up next to mum and asking for just one more chapter.
I also learnt to appreciate the stories of the Bible at an early age. Sundays were pretty full on for us as kids. Often we would sit for hours in a mud brick church hall on hardened pews with the women and children on one side of the building and the men on the other with the few windows filled with african faces. After an hour or so of the place being filled with the most amazing praise, we would settle down to a very long sermon often spoken in the local dialect. With little knowledge of the language I was left to browse through my mum’s bible (NB no pictures). My Mums bible became even more fascinating when I could actually read it for myself. It was a bible that was well-worn and well-marked filled with photos of family back home in Australia and bookmarks that meant something to my mum often given to her from people she loved. My mum can’t wear perfume but would often spray her favourite perfume on a card and slip it into her Bible so her Bible it’s very own sweet fragrance. My kids would be horrified if I asked them to sit for an hour or two and read my Bible while the preacher spoke. But for me Sunday mornings were often where I found myself swept away to another time and place. As I got older the bookmarks marked pages that began to take on greater meaning for me. Many Sundays I would be lost in my world of imagination reading the story of Esther or David and Goliath or Shamah defending his patch of lentils or of Jacob running away from home or a story of Jesus healing a blind man or leapor or casting out demons or raising the dead. Those stories have stayed with me all my life.
I remember when Brooke was little and used to watch the Princess Movies there was always a plot that included good overcoming evil. Because Brooke would get scared when the evil witch or evil force would appear I would turn it off but she never got to see the beauty of the story that good overcomes evil and would always be left in the middle of the darkness not realising the story had a better ending. Sometimes we get stuck in the low point of the story but God is good and He is the alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. When he is part of the story the evil will never last.
When was the last time you picked up the Bible and got lost in the story. A story of grace, faithfulness, redemption, love, rebellion, brokeness, freedom, hope, peace. When was the last time you recounted a story from the Bible that inspired another to pick up and read what you’ve read. Each of these stories give us hope for our own.
Then there’s your story. Every one of us have a story. Everyone of us has something that has happened in our life that someone else needs to hear. Do you have any idea how your story can transform another. Just last week I listened to someone share their story of how they survived the birth of their child and how they both should have died but both lived. I came away so inspired and full of faith. You may be in the midst of your story and the chapter that is being written right now is not such a pleasant part of the plot but the because I know the author of your story, I also know he knows how to tie up all the loose end and show his creative genius in how this chapter will transition into the next. I encourage you to look back and see how faithful the author and the finisher of your faith is in bringing together all the loose ends of this story to make a best seller.
–Go get lost in a story of the Bible. Let a hero of faith and their story inspire your heart to endure, to break free, to believe, to commit, to resolve, to forgive……
-Ask someone to share their story and listen and let their story bless you. If their story is in a difficult chapter, include yourself in the plot by being the one to bring a twist to the story and bring life, hope and peace to what could be a tragedy or an endless drama of despair. Let your life be the one that brings hope, grace, peace, faith or love.
-Share your story. Let your testimony empower and enrich the life of another. You never know how that story may change the direction of another. Even the wrong choices we have made and the story that unfolds can be used to break shame or lead to conviction.
some of you need to write your story down and share it. I hope this blog inspires you and gives you permission to do just that.