Sunday, February 1, 2009

What's Your Story?

You have one. If you're from the church world, you might have one of those "gutter to God" stories that pushes people to the edge of their chairs. Or you could have a story about growing up in a healthy family with parents who loved each other and loved you -- they truly believed what they said they believed! (That's my story.)

Yesterday we told stories. It was a room of 15 or 16 Prayer Partners. They didn't all know each other. They ranged in age from teens to a few in their 70s. Female, male. Seasoned Christ-followers, newbies. And each told her/his story.

I heard a teen weep as she described the abandonment of a biological father whom she really never knew. She talked about her feelings of guilt that maybe she was to blame (she was a baby when he left). She spoke of the love she receives from her stepdad who is fully and completely her dad. And she spoke of how she has forgiven her father and hopes he gets his life together.

A lady in her seventies (eighties?) sobbed as she told of her childhood abuse and the guilt she carried for years before she fully learned to live by the truth.

A man spoke of the pain he went through when he had to bury both his parents within a few weeks of each other. His dad had terminal cancer and was near the end when his mom passed suddenly.

Another man -- in his seventies -- told of how he couldn't live at home anymore because of a worthless father and a mother who wouldn't stand up to him. He left, hitchhiked across country, even living under a bridge with hobos. He was 13.

A young woman -- one of two young cancer survivors in the group -- spoke of the burden she carries because her little boy is autistic. The load has been so heavy of late that she thought God had abandoned her. "This morning," she said, "I realize that it was me who abandoned God."

These are just a small sample of the stories I heard yesterday. Most of them full of pain. All of them full of hope.

That's because each of them was telling a larger story. The story about their discovery of God's love and forgiveness. The story about stepping from the darkness into the light.

What's your story?


Liz said...

My story can be very long. But the condensed version is: poverty, sexual abuse, angels, sexual assault, abandonment, faith, family, friends. Through it all, I was fortunate to never doubt God, to never doubt my faith. I think I'm rare that way. But there is a twist to my story that I keep very private but that proves, without a doubt, God's existence, love, and purpose.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I have a lot of stories (that's why I'll never run out of things to blog about!) but if you're looking for a life-defining moment, it would have to be the time I did work experience at a primary school and managed to get an elective mute to read aloud to me. I have never forgotten that feeling - it was the first time I felt I could 'make a difference' as opposed to just being good at exams...

Dina said...

Sam, you ask a loaded question. Before I answer, I want to first thank you for making me your Saturday Selection yesterday! I'm very honored.

I was just thinking the other day about writing a blog post about defining moments, which relates to your question. I won't go into much detail, but here's a bit about my most recent defining moment. It was the death of my dad and it will forever affect my life story. Spending the last two weeks of his life at home with him and my family and watching him take his last breath seems almost surreal to me at times. However, it helped me put life in perspective and while I still get caught up in the worries and things of this world sometimes, it's then that I draw back on those days and what they taught me about the true meaning of life. It's been a year and a half since his death and I'm just now starting to feel ready to write more in depth about the experience. I imagine some of the writing will appear on my blog in the coming weeks or months.

Thanks for the question. I'm always inspired by other people's life stories and what we can all learn from the power of hope. I look forward to stopping back and reading more people's stories.

Sam said...

I'm always amazed at the comments I receive after a post. Sometimes I'm not sure if you will simply read and move on. Each of you who has (so far) responded shared enough to pique my interest in other parts of your stories.

Liz, as you feel free to share your story in more depth, please bump me -- I don't want to miss it.

Rachel, in a few words you pulled me into that room as you had that experience. What a great day that was.

Dina, you have shared a bit at a time about the way your dad's death has marked your life. I'm interested to hear more as you tell it.

Thanks to you all!

Sandy Carlson said...

I grew up with an alcoholic dad who mentally and physically abused my mom. Every night he came home late I would fear what he'd do to my mom when he got home. He was a very loving person when he didn't drink. After many times of my father being unfaithful to my mom they got a divorce when I was 10. I was the last of five children so I guess my mom felt she could finally leave. I was relieved when they divorced. I lived with my mom and my brother who was fourteen eventually went to live with my dad. I spent every summer with my dad. I loved him so much even though he had treated my mom so badly. One summer I found out my dad was cheating on my stepmom. I was very disappointed because I thought he was happy with her. My sister who is eleven years older than me said that that was the way men were (her husband cheated on her) and that I would never find someone who wouldn't. That made me angry! A couple of years later I was praying that God would send me a man who would love me for who I am, that I could be completedly comfortable around and who would be faithfull. By that next summer, I met Rial and he has definitely been the answer to my prayers and I will never doubt his faithfulness. We will be celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary Feb. 6th! (o: