“You are your stories. You are the product of all the stories you have heard and live — and of many that you have never heard. They have shaped how you see yourself, the world, and your place in it.” ~ Daniel Taylor
I believe we have a sacred responsibility to share our stories as legacy for our families and for others who may benefit from them. Today is just a “slice” of the life we’ve lived. Who we are is determined in many ways by those who came before us. Family stories inform our lives and and enrich the lives of others. It’s important to preserve and share them.
A couple of years ago, I sat down with my Dad and began recording some of the stories he had told us around the kitchen table growing up. I added them to my own memories of my Dad, and together we self-published a little book about his years growing up in a small town during The Great Depression, about his service to our country in the United States Air Force and about the many jobs he held in and around my hometown in his 85 years. We’ve had great fun sharing that book with family and with our home community.
Do you have stories you’d like to tell? Perhaps I can help.
Drawing from a 20-year career as a news reporter and feature writer, I’ve created a free resource explaining why capturing and sharing our life stories is important and offering a basic template for crafting your story. Filled with plenty of encouragement and suggestions, my resource, titled Tell Your Story: A Tool for Capturing and Telling Life Stories, walks you through discovering the who, what, when, where, why and how of your stories as you interview yourself and craft a story. It’s a hands-on tool that I’ve used in writing workshops.
I’m writing a book on the topic, but I’m willing to share this free tool with you as a downloadable PDF. Interested? Subscribe and I’ll send the book your may by email. Already a subscriber? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and the PDF will come to you by return mail.
To whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt from my book:
Capturing Life Stories for Healing, Legacy and Discipleship
Chapter One – Your Stories Matter
“Our lives are not a puzzle to be figured out. Rather, we come to God who knows and reveals to us the truth of our lives. The fundamental mistake is to begin with ourselves and not God.”
Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, in his book Run with the Horses
That one bit of wisdom from author and theologian Eugene Peterson (The Message) was all I needed to convince me that my story is not my story. It is God’s. But, it’s mine to tell.
For over 20 years, I carried in my heart the story of the moment when I knew for certain that God had forgiven me and claimed me. (I’ll share that story in Chapter Five). God owns that story and now I do as well. My understanding of it has grown as I’ve pondered it in light of God’s plan for my life. It is my faith testimony. I’ve lived every bit of it and watched my life become shaped by it, but I have shared it only a few times. Why? Because it’s so personal and vulnerable.
Like me, you may have asked yourself, “Does anyone really need to know?” Yes, they do.
It took years of holding my story close before I acknowledged, owned and learned to value the power and potential of this testimony. As I’ve shared my faith story, others have responded with their own testimonies of hope and healing. Telling this one story helped me realize my life holds other “slice of life” stories that God can use to encourage others. For example, others may find hope in the story of how my husband and I walked through a painful chapter in the life of one of our children. They may be encouraged by how God met me in my journey through breast cancer. And, they just might find humor and comfort in a few stories from our season of parenting four very different boys.
I’ve experienced the personal blessing and healing power of the “slice of life” stories I’ve been willing to share, and it’s stirred in me a passion to help others capture and share their stories.
When our stories enter the lives of others, they have the potential to reveal truths that may bring enlightenment. They may even clarity their own life stories. There is a ripple effect with stories that are captured and shared.
It isn’t prideful to share our life stories. It’s needful!