And while you process all of the above during this
Thanksgiving season, and when the time is right, consider writing your stories.
Use your words, your thoughts, your discoveries—your memoir—to do what MaxLucado says:
If you find yourself among “the nine,” you can become “the one” by writing your memoir.
Confused? Read on.
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus crossed paths with ten lepers—despised, cut off from society and loved ones, lonely, suffering, and desperate for healing.
They cried to him, “Have mercy on us!”
And he did. He healed them.
Then they all took off—we can imagine their joy!—but one man turned around, fell on his knees, and said thank you.
No doubt the man’s gratitude touched Jesus’ heart, but he couldn’t help but wonder, aloud, “Ten men were healed. Where are the nine others? Where is their thanks?”
Jesus seemed hurt, disappointed, maybe even stunned by their ingratitude.
How many times have you and I failed to thank God for what He has done for us? So often, when we get through something difficult or scary, we simply wheeze, “Whew!” and get on with life. Where’s our gratitude?
Could it be that we crush God’s heart when we fail to thank Him? That He’s disappointed at our ingratitude? Maybe even stunned?
Don’t be “one of the nine.” Be “the one” who deliberately says thanks.
By writing your memoir. Write it as a book full of falling on your knees in gratitude.
Your memoir can include all kinds of interesting, entertaining, humorous, and even wild and crazy stories about everyday stuff— childhood escapades,
falling in love,
health (or poor health),
death of loved ones,
—and in all those stories, you can include gratitude and thanksgiving to God.
Sometimes in the midst of writing our memoirs, we need to make
sure we’re on the right track. That’s why from time to time we must remind
ourselves what a memoir is.
A memoir is so much more than spinning yarns and passing on
Since the genre of memoir confuses some people, let’s get
back to basics: What is a memoir?
A memoir is not autobiography, which documents your life
beginning with the day of your birth.
Instead, a memoir focuses on one segment of your life—a specific
theme or time period.
You can write a memoir on a theme, like coaching Little
League baseball, or volunteering, or foster parenting.
Or you can write a memoir about events that occurred during
a specific time period, such as the three years you worked in a fast-food restaurant,
or the first five years of parenting triplets, or your tumultuous college years
during the hippie revolution.
Whether your memoir is based on a theme or a slice of your
life, you’ll explore your topic in depth. And you’ll include only details that
belong—only people and events relevant to your story.
A key component of writing a memoir is reflection. If you
want to write a memoir, “reflection” must be your middle name.
Instead of simply recording facts about what happened on the
surface, you must reflect: ponder, examine, muse, unravel, disentangle, and then
make sense of it all—put everything back together in the right order.
Reflect: Look back, go deep, relive key experiences and
relationships. Inspect them all. Do some soul-searching. Reevaluate your experience.
Most would-be memoirists need to work on reflecting
adequately because it takes time and it can be painful. Richard Foster observes,
“The sad truth is that many authors simply have never learned to reflect
substantively on anything.”
Reflect: Look for significance you missed in the past.
Search for those profound lessons you overlooked years ago. Make time to
discover insights, healing, and blessingsthat were there all along.
And notice what God was doing. Find His footprints and fingerprints—they’re
all over the place.
I’m not suggesting we all have supernatural experiences to
share, stories that would make the evening news and get tweeted around the
world. Nor do I believe Christian memoirists need to mention God on every page.
Here’s my point: Whether or not you knew it at the time, God
was with you during each event you write about—not just watching from afar, but
working on your behalf, working out His good plans. Spend time discovering what
He was doing, and from time to time, let your readers know. Discover the
higher, wider, richer stories in your experience.
What was God doing as you see it now, in retrospect? Look for deeper
lessons God had for you in the events of your memoir.
Looking back, what did you learn about yourself?
What patterns in your faith did you discover that you hadn’t noticed
What did you learn about God?
Do you now have a better understanding of God’s purpose for your life?
How did the experience change your life? What new person did you
How did the experience strengthen your faith for future challenges?
God can use your stories to help others—not just kids and
grandkids, since not all of us have them—but also siblings, cousins, aunt and
uncles, nieces and nephews, coworkers, church friends, neighbors, and even people
you’ll never meet.
“As Christian writers,
we can rarely change the circumstances of others—
but we can change their outlook on life.
Every day the headlines proclaim more tragedy,
more bad news.
Every day we wake up to more heartache and heartbreak.
It’s easy to feel defeated. To want to give up. To lose
That’s where the job of the Christian writer comes in—
* My new computer still doesn't work well with links so I'll list them below: Marketing Christian Books: https://marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/market-your-book-as-a-gift-2 Alton Gansky: http://www.altongansky.com Your story is important: http://spiritualmemoirs101.blogspot.com/2011/05/are-your-stories-important.html