Sunday, February 24, 2013

Your Story Matters



I recently went to a woman’s night – you know the kind – where aching (probably calloused) feet relax in a bubbling foot spa, eyelashes are tinted, sore backs are massaged, giggling is heard and copious amounts of chocolate and desserts are consumed. It was a tired mother’s haven.
   When the initial catch up was over, spot prizes were given out. Questions were asked in order to match up the recipient with each gift. There was the gift ‘for the woman who cannot live without lists’, ‘the woman who is always rushing’, and so on.
   Finally, when the pile of prettily-wrapped parcels had dwindled, there was a pause. “This gift is for a woman who encourages others by sharing her story, her struggles.”
   Everyone was silent until my friend Helen cast a sly smile. She began pointing at me and giggling. I accepted the gift, wondering what I would receive as I peeled back the packaging.
   The little decorated block of wood really made me grin. The meaning for me went far beyond what had been intended. My story matters.

   As writers we sometimes wonder why we do what we do. Are we insane, agonising over a single word choice, staying up all hours to edit one section, pouring out our pain for the sake of unknown others, staring at the page wondering how to impart what an imaginary person is feeling?
   I think not. This particular night I was reminded by this sweet ‘coincidental’ gift, that my story matters. The label may have a different meaning to others, but as a fiction writer I look at that little block of wood and remember that what I am doing, matters. Somewhere, sometime, someone is going to be impacted by my story.
What if you are not a writer? The message is the same. Jesus used stories (parables) to impart meaning and hope to the world. Every one of us has a story, a testimony to share. You just never know what impact your story will have, who will be forever changed because you took the risk of sharing a part of yourself.

Do you need reminding? Let me tell you today – your story does matter.
I’d love to hear some of your stories – those little ‘coincidences’ that reminded you that your story matters, that your writing matters.

26 comments:

  1. Thank you for a great post. It's always good to be reminded that our stories matter.

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  2. Great post Catherine. What you say is so true. I always thought I had a boring testimony because my parents sent me off to Sunday School when I was 3 years old and I've believed in God since then. I spent some time with YWAM back in the mid-90s and we all had to share our testimonies. I wished I had something more interesting to say - like the girl who'd been a stripper before becoming a Christian and the girl who'd left the occult after she came to Christ. But I'll never forget the ex-occult girl coming up to me and saying that she really loved my testimony because it showed how God could be faithful to someone throughout a lifetime and she hadn't known that. She said she wished she had my testimony. God reminded me big time that all of our stories are important and each of us can impact others for his Kingdom. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Nola. And yes - what a wonderful testament of His love, carrying you your whole life. Warms my heart. Thanks for sharing

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  3. Catherine, amen. May we never forget the power of story and how it has the ability to transform not only the reader/listener but also the writer/teller..

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  4. Thanks Catherine. I look forward to reading one of your stories one day.

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  5. Hi Catherine, that's a great little gift you got. Thanks for this reminder. It's something I'm sure we all need to hear.

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  6. Glad you all feel encouraged - I know I was. Thanks Ian, Meredith and Paula. I've enjoyed stories from some of you!

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  7. What a special and encouraging gift to receive. Thanks for sharing. Our stories and testimonies will always have the power to impact someone.

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    1. Thanks Amanda. It was special. I love it when God encourages us like that, to keep plowing on with our writing

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  8. Great post, Catherine! I would definitely be keeping that little decorated block of wood in my line of vision near my desk to encourage you! I have various items around me here at my own desk for that purpose. God bless.

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    1. Thanks Jo. It's peering down on me from the bookshelf now as I am editing.

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  9. Oh, how we writers need encouragement. Lovely story, Catherine. In my reading today it spoke of rejection and how we need to keep on regardless, as even the harsh things that happen are after all part of our stories.

    God bless you!
    Rita

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    1. Bless you Rita! I hope you feel energised to keep soldiering on today, writing out whatever story God has put on your heart

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  10. Great post, Catherine.

    Everyone has a story but too often we become so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget the wife whose husband is having an affair, the child who has no breakfast or lunch for school, the father who has lost his job and has no hope of another.

    It's only by remembering the stories of others that we can see how much God truly loves us.

    Lee

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    1. Amen. Let's keep our eyes open to see those around us, being ready to be gracious, and offer His love and forgiveness to those who need it. Then they will become part of the greater story.

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  11. Shauna Niequist was commenting on her blog the other day that the reason we know our words matter is because once, and maybe often, someone else’s words mattered to us.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Susan. I can remember exact words, that have been life changing in the moment they were spoken or read.

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  12. I needed to hear this, especially right now as I'm diving back into edits yet again. Thank you so much for sharing. :) All the best as you write for His glory.

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    1. You are welcome Lucy. And remember, the pruning you're doing now will made the story shine out even brighter, make your message even stronger. Can't wait to read the finished book!

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  13. We all have a story to tell. As we write them maybe we learn things ourselves (I know I do). I know that my story does matter, a devotional or a message in one of my novels, will touch someone out there. I know I put myself in parts of these novels, so in a way I am telling my story. And I matter to God, so writing for Him it does matter.
    MEL

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    1. Absolutely Mel, and I agree - even in a novel that is fiction - we are still 'in there'. A part of our story, or the power behind our own stories, is there for the reader to glean from.

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  14. Catherine that was such a beautiful post and what a perfect gift for you. I would think it is also an encouraging reminder that communication with others and sharing our stories is what helps people to connect and grow. I really enjoyed reading this today. Thank you!

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    1. You are welcome Kayleen and having seen your work I know you are helping people connect and grow - be encouraged.

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