Thursday, October 13, 2016

“The great gift of memoir”

You know from experience: A story can point a person in a new direction, can lead to a much-needed turning point for a man or woman, boy or girl. Someone else’s story can bring healing and hope. Sometimes a story makes a life-and-death difference for the one hearing it.

Think back: Whose words, written or spoken, brought you to a major turning point? Gave you courage to do the right thing? Maybe revolutionized your life?

Now think of this: Your story could do the same for others. That’s kind of staggering, isn’t it? And humbling.

Always remember: Someone needs to know your story, told in the unique way only you can tell it.

Sharing our stories is an important part of our faith: “Always remember what you’ve seen God do for you, and be sure to tell your children and grandchildren” (Deuteronomy 4:9).

Jesus, too, told people to tell their families stories of what God has done for them (Luke 8:39).

“Most of us can name one or two books we have read that changed our lives. These books often had their impact because they said something we had never heard said before, or because they treated a subject of great importance to us in a way that helped us think about it…. We all learn from one another’s stories, which is, perhaps, the great gift of memoir.” (Judith Barrington, Writing the Memoir)

Sharon Lippincott tells how her great-great grandmother’s story impacted her: In 1894, after twenty years of putting up with a drunken, abusive coal miner who failed to provide for his family, the woman filed for divorce. “Her determination to end the abuse by leaving was especially courageous in that era. She had backbone. I find this account…encouraging, and I’m proud to have such strong determination and persistence in my background. I’ll never encounter the specific conditions she faced, but her example of resourcefulness and finding a way to make the best of a situation is powerful…. If you write stories about overcoming adversity…perhaps they will encourage and inspire your own descendents.” (The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing)

You are the bridge God has placed between your family’s generations past and generations yet to come.

You might think you live an inconspicuous, unremarkable life but, through the generations, God has been writing stories through you and your family’s ordinary events. (Click on Your “Sacred stories of the Ordinary.”) 

Your stories are important. Write them for generations yet to come. You probably can’t imagine how God will use them.

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