Monday, April 28, 2014

If You Doubt Your Story Matters

Photo Credit

Dawn slips through the east bedroom window in lucent streams of morning light.

There is a gnawing ache to roll over and ignore the day that lies before me. With eyes-closed tight, I hear the feathery kingdom outside my window, singing their birds-songs.

They whistle happy chirps and warbles as they go about their business. Their hours are currently filled with foraging for food, gathering material for nests, and preparing for the cycle of new life.

Sometimes I wonder if these winged creatures ever want to sleep in or just say no, to another day of hunting worms and hanging out on branches. The fact is that only humans have doubts of what they were made to do.

For me, there are times I think that caring about people and their stories is for. the. birds. There are moments I just want to avoid all the mess and pain and take up crocheting. Or something.

I don’t even want to embrace my own story, the one that is being written on my heart right now.

Most often, my ordinary life, demands more than I have to give.

Deadlines loom.

Energy wanes.

There is no white space of time and too much white space in the story that needs to be written.

Or even worse, I'm immobilized by doubt, that my story matters.

This last weekend there was a free (in) rl meetup, put together by (in), where women were given the tools and resources to spend time in their real lives, sharing their stories.

As in face-to-face.

I wanted to invite women into my home, to hear their stories, too, but it didn't happen. You would have to be home to invite people over.

So in the late hours of Saturday I listened to some of the keynote speakers talk about sharing our stories and being in community.


For this time right now, I had to settle for listening to their hearts, in an online capacity.

Those who put the conference together, weaved together stories from so many women, who dared to be vulnerable, so those who were brave enough to show up could see the power of story to connect people, to bring freedom. It reminded me how all of our stories intersect and mesh together to create a beautiful mosaic that God is using to bring Himself glory.

It’s what I've been learning, writing about and even changed my tag line to represent.

There is power in every person’s story.

Deep down, I know this.

You know this too ....that your story matters in the whole glorious, cosmic scheme of eternal things.

To be known and to be real, and even raw -involves risk.

There are always people with their own brokenness, who extend pain, opinions and labels. All I know is that I don’t want to build those kinds of walls around any person or my own heart.

There is never a week where I don’t meet brave souls, gripping their invisible stories, who mostly think their lives are too ordinary or messed up, to be important.

They long to know that the years and the pain count for something.

People mostly want to know that their story matters.

This week, again, people I was not looking to have a conversation with, extended their heart-stories to me.

There was Van, who I only just met and know by his first name, which may not even be his real name. He stopped me to share his story. I have to listen close to discern every weighty word through his broken English.

In the center of a busy hallway, this one wrinkled hand, clutches my arm, and unravels words how her marriage was bad, but then God used a hard situation to turn her heart around to Jesus.

Just Saturday, I sat across the table from a woman from three decades past and leaned into her words about long illness, complex surgeries, and most recently, the final painful days of her mother.

People tell me their stories. 

Maybe it’s because they feel safe. Perhaps they feel like I am listening with my heart. Probably they can tell I believe that every word they spill is important.

It is true. I believe that every single story is amazing. And I believe that our stories are snapshots of Jesus drawing us to Himself.

They need someone to embrace them, pray for them, not to judge them.

There are these ordinary stories, which intersect with God, who adds the extra. When our everyday story collides with the extraordinary God who spins the universe, and who named of every star, something beautiful happens.

Our ordinary becomes the extraordinary.

The problem is that too often I’m am trying to write my own story, apart from God. There are consequences for choices, there are life event that happen, and there are things that people inflict. We have to choose to believe that when we live this day for God’s glory, that our stories have purpose and power, apart from our circumstances.

Because He is truly the God of every story and wants to redeem the pain for His purpose.

Today I have some choices on how my story will read.

Sometimes we have to go out on a limb, risk one more time, reach out to one more person, take another brave step toward the one who rejects us, and forget the pain that made hot tears roll when you were left out, left behind, labeled or alone.

And when we live our one story, with intention and purpose, there is this glorious melody of all our stories being weaved together in a way that brings life and healing. Our stories call out the beauty in each other.

Today, may you embrace your story. 

Your one beautiful, important, heart-song story. 

Sing it out with the lyrics and inflection, that only you can put to music and God can orchestrate. 

I’d love to have you share them with me.


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© Rhonda Quaney