I’m in Kansas today (figuratively), dropping by the blog of Christina Hubbard to share a few words of encouragement for creatives. Please visit my friend’s beautiful website Creative and Free.
In the meantime, I’m not leaving you here alone. It is pure joy to welcome my friend Sarah Rennicke to the blog. I met Sarah last spring when we shared a room at a writing conference in Michigan. Prior to that, we’d only known one another as fellow members of the Redbud Writers Guild. I admire Sarah’s way with words and her vulnerability as she yields to the Lord’s calling. And, I really just enjoy looking at life through her eyes. Here, she shares with you a slice of her young life.
The rain slides quietly down the window today, trees dropping their burnt-yellow leaves in the upturned breeze. October in Wisconsin is always a kaleidoscope, each day unknown—will the sky sprout bright blue with glow of sun? Or will it roll in with wind that slices to the bone?
I am three weeks in to calling this place home once again after never imagining I would. But the way God weaves my journey is much like this breathtaking month: open-ended question marks, never quite knowing what’s around the bend, rife with vibrantly changing color.
I’m a storyteller. I dive into hearts and causes and connect tales together. For the last 3 ½ years, I was the content writer for an international sports ministry in Kansas City. I told the stories of people in the athletic world spanning from middle school to the professional level. On occasions, I had the privilege to travel internationally to meet our leaders who are changing lives in countries where, in some cases, sharing the gospel is a danger.
Telling people’s stories is kindling that strikes fire in my bones.
When it comes to my story, however—well, that’s where I often bristle and refuse to bend. I’m hesitant to hand over the pen and often grapple with God to release my hold.
It took me 2 ½ of those years in Kansas City to embrace my life, to accept the growth and welcome the good. I fought and cried and couldn’t understand, until I surrendered my story to Him and settled in. Then I began to stretch, sense a holy discomfort, a call for more. My spirit rustled, and I saw my story switching scenes.
I moved on from the ministry, but anticipated making Kansas City home. Or, if relocating, moving to a new state, strategizing and implementing communication for international work.
Again, He took the pen from my tightly clasped hands and closed all roads but one: back to Wisconsin, where I had lived for 28 years before. To the hometown I struggled to detach and gain independence from. To my family, familiar streets and curve of country and to a job creating community for youth.
Not what I imagined. In grappling for control, I found that when God’s story doesn’t go how I want, I flail and freak and scramble to take hold of what I have left. I’m like the little girl who says she’s not afraid of the deep end of the pool, but her panicked eyes say otherwise.
“As you participate in the creative process, that process will, quite frankly, work you over. It will teach you about yourself,” writes Vinita Hampton Wright in her creativity and spirituality-infused book, The Soul Tells A Story. “It will perform therapy on you. It will heal you. You are called to a process that you actually need for your own well-being. And you don’t give the world any gift that you don’t first partake of yourself.”
I am worked over, again and again. I partake in the baring of my soul, sit wet-eyed in disbanded dreams and slowly surrender my ways to God in trust that goes beyond understanding. When I tune my soul to hear Him speak, healing indeed begins.
We wonder: how does our soul tell its story?
We must not be afraid to let our hearts be rewritten. Gather up the fragments: the spilling of our hope and disappointment, the way our hearts sing resilient in the face of fractured relationships, and let God’s pen fly across the page.
We are worked over by the breath and touch of God, whose hands have authority to turn each phrase. We mustn’t shy away from the bare bones of our becoming, for in the ink-stains, we stretch and strengthen faith in Him who first swept along the lines of our life and takes great care in our crafting.
Our entire life is a creative process, uncovering new rhythms and seasons. Dare to be worked over. Dare to have our hearts rewritten. Let’s give our souls a space to breathe and watch the world shift sacred.
Sarah Rennicke loves words. She also loves people. And she loves weaving them together in honest and vulnerable ways. A freelance writer, she loves connecting people with causes and beauty, and has written for various organizations, including Compassion International. Sarah has a weekly column at ALTARWORK, a creative worship arts community, and wakes the world with words at www.sarahrennicke.com.
Life stories knit us together, whether to family or to others who just need to know they are not alone. In these 31 days of October, I have been exploring the importance of STORY. You can read all 31 days HERE by following the links. And, you can read blogs from other writers taking the #Write31Days challenge by visiting the website HERE.
Tomorrow: A Story from the Archives
You can download a FREE copy of my booklet Do Tell! Why Your Life Stories Matter and How To Capture Them by clicking HERE.