Monday, March 31, 2014

Writing Your Story

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
I Thessalonians 5:11

In my endeavor to read the Bible through this year,
I recently came to the end of Deuteronomy and started into the book of Joshua.
I got to thinking about Moses and how he recorded all of that information for us....
in the Pentateuch...those vital first five books of the Old Testament.
Do you realize that if he hadn't have kept good records 
and minded the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God,
we would not have any written account of what really happened at creation?
We would not have details of the patriarchs and their lives,
no information concerning Noah and the flood
or the first years of mankind and their genealogy.

Since Moses followed God's will and plan for his life,
we have answers to so many plaguing questions concerning our origin and the beginning of time.

Thank God, he was faithful.

And what about all of the others who picked up writing instruments and parchment
and wrote the details down?
Think of the stories we would miss, had they failed to document their lives!
Joshua and his conquests into the land of Canaan,
stories of King Saul's rise and fall, King David's sins, forgiveness, and God-like heart,
 King Solomon's extraordinary God-given wisdom and the magnificence of his kingdom,
Esther's courageous spirit, selflessness, and love for her people,
Daniel's night in the lion's den and his amazing prophetic revelations,
the fiery trial and deliverance of three Hebrew children,
the beautifully romantic love story of Ruth and Boaz,
all of the prophecies spoken by the minor and major prophets,
and the amazing accuracy of the details they foretold concerning our Messiah's life, anguish, and death.

And the New Testament!
Oh, just think of the possibility of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John failing to record
the life and times of our precious Lord and Savior?
What if there were no "red letters" registered and preserved?
What if we had no written account of what He was really like?
What if there were no transcription of His parables...His comfort....His words of life?
And Paul....what if the Apostle Paul had never written those epistles...
those letters that now help to guide and mold so many of the details of our daily lives?
What if John the Revelator had kept the revelation all to himself?

Moving forward to modern day, I'm still thinking of Elisabeth Elliot's, "Through Gates of Splendor".
What if she had never minded God and written this book?
What if the story of her husband Jim and his four missionary friends had never been told?

What if John Bunyan had never chronicled his personal vision that we now know as
"The Pilgrim's Progress"?

We all have a story to tell, do we not?
Our tests are not without purpose.
God wants to turn them into our testimonies.
Your messes...and mine...are not unredeemable.
God wants to transform them into our message.

You have a story to tell.
Your life is unique.
Your experiences are all your own.
Your trials, tribulations, triumphs, temptations, victories, and yes, even your failures,
make up the story of you....
and someone needs to hear it.
You have received His comfort...not for the sole purpose of personal solace, 
but so you are able to comfort them which are in any trouble,
by the comfort wherewith you yourself have been comforted of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

Your story needs to be told, my friend.
God wants to use every comforted moment of your life 
to equip you to comfort and reach out to others.

My sister, Debbie, and I talk of this often.
She has been through so much in her life.
God has brought her through some pretty intense situations
that have left her with an amazing story to tell.
Her trials and heartaches have empowered her with 
an amazing capacity for compassion and empathy for others.
I believe her story will help many,
because this world is full of hurting people, 
and she can relate on so many widely-varying levels.
I have been encouraging her for quite a while to write her story down
so others can read it and find comfort in knowing that she has overcome incredible odds,
and she is still standing....still going on....still remaining strong.
She recently started a blog of her own called "Compassionate Thoughts By Debbie".

She is still getting it set up, but she has written a few posts that I would love for you to read.
I look forward to hearing and reading what God places on her heart and leads her to share with the world.
I know He has great things in store for her and this ministry!

Please click here to be re-directed to her blog.

It know it is hard to take those first steps....
to open reveal deep hurts.
Sometimes re-telling stories is like re-opening old wounds and re-living those painful seasons.

It takes a deep level of surrender to God to reach a place of willingness
to make ourselves so transparently vulnerable.

But, God didn't bring any of us this far for us to stay quiet and keep it all inside.
He had a Divine purpose for bringing each of us through so many hard places in life.

Living through life-scenarios enables us to relate to others, because we have lived those situations.
It is so powerful to be able to look into anguished eyes and say from the heart,
"I've been there...right where you are now.  I made it through, and you will, too".
Being able to say these words offers so much hope and is like throwing a lifeline 
to the one who is now drowning in despair.

Only eternity will really reveal the impact of any one, individual life.

You may think your story isn't worth telling.
Maybe you see only failure as you look back in retrospect.
Perhaps you see only tangled threads as you peer into the tapestry of your life.

God sees something else, my friend.
He sees a precious soul...that part of you buried deep...under the surface.
He knows how hard you try.
He is aware of your longings.

Remember the poem by Corrie Ten Boom about the tapestry of our life?

“Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)

“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”

There is that quote!!  At the end!
I was looking for the author of that the other day when I inserted it in a blog post.
I had no idea it was Corrie who wrote it.
I have admired her ever since I first learned her story in school.

What if she had never told it?
What if The Hiding Place had never been written?
Think how much we would have missed!

The ugly threads that are woven into the tapestry of our lives seem to us 
to serve no purpose for good.
But, they are necessary.
Many times, later, down the line, we see that the very reason we went through those dark places
was so we could help someone else and relate to what they are going through.
The older I get, the more I can see the truth in this.

Telling our story to others, sharing our hearts and experiences,
opens up a channel of God's love and understanding to them.
It lets them know that they are not alone.
It makes them see that God's grace is sufficient...
because if we are still standing, it is a great testimony to the faithfulness and goodness of God.

As a wife who has enjoyed nearly 26 years of married life,
I can see the benefit of sharing with those who are younger...
those who are now walking the path I have already walked.

"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, 
 not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, 
to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, 
obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
Titus 2:3-5

I got the sweetest letter today from a precious Kenyan reader who lives in Uganda, East Africa.
I cannot put into words how much I love hearing from readers!
Just knowing you are out there reading the heart-wrenched words that have poured from my soul
means so much to me and brightens my whole day.

In her letter, she said the sweetest things, 
and she mentioned that she is newly married and expecting her first baby. 
Then she said something that struck a chord deep inside of me.
She talked about how it works when the older women teach the younger.
As I read her words, it was like an epiphany to me.
I have read Titus 2:3-5 countless times through the years,
but only today did it truly hit me that I am now one of those older women.
I never put myself in that category before.
I always looked ahead to others who were older than me.
But, as I read this sweet letter today,
the thing that occurred to me is this....
it is my turn now.
This is what God wants me to do now....
in my own stumbling, faltering way.
It is hard to believe, but I am this season.
He has allowed me to get to where I am for a purpose.
All of these life experiences...everything that has happened....all I have been through...
to reach this age and season of life has been ordained and directed and orchestrated by Almighty God.
He wants me to share the things I have learned along the way.
He doesn't allow us to go through things and live just so we can accumulate 
an abundance of  wisdom to hoard and keep all to ourselves.
He wants us to call back to those who come after us.
To share the wisdom that comes only through life experience.
To pass that on to those who now need it most....
those who are now walking through seasons we have already experienced.

To encourage them to follow Him and His perfect will for their lives.
To be an example to them.
To teach them.
Perhaps this is God's biggest purpose for this blog.

When I was a teenager, I heard a quote that has stuck with me all my life.
"Learn from others' mistakes.  You don't live long enough to make them all yourself."

If someone else has gone through life and gleaned lessons from living it,
and if they are willing to pass those lessons on to us,
it is a blessing...and a gift.

This is how God designed it.

I leave you with one more poem taken from one of my favorite devotional books,
"Streams In the Desert".

Call Back

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back­;
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith's light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest's roots were torn;
That when the heavens thundered and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.

O friend, call back and tell me, for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us, and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin-darkened sky,­
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back,­
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

- Selected
(Quoted in Streams In The Desert devotional)

So, who could benefit from hearing your story?
Who needs to hear you "call back" to them today?


  1. Hi Cheryl. I'm so glad you shared your sister's blog. I will check it out. Love, Debby

    1. Thanks, Debby! She will be thrilled if you stop by and leave her a comment to let her know you've been there. :) Love, Cheryl

  2. The thought occurred to me that Moses was on the mountain for 40 days and nights. Certainly the 10 commandments did not take that long. He must have been getting first hand information from God about the creation and perhaps taking notes. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

    1. Wow! That is an amazing observation. I never thought of it that way, but there must have been a lot more going on than just the giving of the Ten Commandments. I love this thought...thanks for sharing with me and for the link-up.

  3. I loved reading your post tonight. I love that poem too. I am almost sure that it was in the Weaver Curriculum that I used for years with my children.

    1. So happy you stopped by, Judith! Yes, it more than likely may have been included in that curriculum. So thankful to have you visit. God bless you!

  4. What an important article! Yes, we need to write our story and pass on to the next generation the good things the Lord has done for us.

    1. Your words made me think of Joshua and how he instructed the children of Israel to go and gather the stones from the middle of the river, so they could keep them for a memorial to show their children in the times to come. God help us to do the same! Thank you so much for stopping by! God bless you!

  5. Often, I've thought that I'm holding on for the ride. I need to chronicle more of that ride.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Please visit me!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. What a wonderful way of wording it. YES, one day your children will want to read of the unique and wonderful journey God took you on. ;) I will surely hop on over for a visit. I came the other day, but didn't comment, so you never knew I was there. ;) Love, Cheryl

  6. This is so true, Cheryl! Writing down our story to share with others is so important for many reasons. It's a way of publicly glorifying God, and also a means of encouraging others with similar stories. I'm so glad you're sharing your story here! :)

    1. YES, you are so right! To God be all the glory, and if we never tell anyone, it is denying Him the glory He deserves!! So happy you stopped by today, Lisa. I am praying for you every day. Love, Cheryl

  7. Thanks for your encouraging words and story here today.In a world increasingly unaware of the importance of story, being aware of our own in the midst of God's plan is vital.

    1. Yes! So true! Our children and those who will come after us (if Jesus should tarry His coming) will need to know that we were faithful...and that God is a faithful God. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving encouragement behind. :)

  8. We all have a story to tell, do we not?
    Our tests are not without purpose.
    God wants to turn them into our testimonies.
    Your messes...and mine...are not unredeemable.
    God wants to transform them into our message.

    Great post and I love the lines above!

    That is one reason I choose to blog -- to tell my story to those who choose to listen to it now, and to preserve it for my future generations, if the Lord should tarry.

    Thanks for this great post and for linking up to Marriage Monday! Oh, and I never knew Corrie wrote that poem! It is hanging on a wall in my parent's home!


    1. I am so thankful you do choose to blog! I love reading your posts. I know...I never knew she wrote it either until I saw that when I was trying to find the poem. Bless her dear heart! We are still reaping the benefits of Corrie's story. Who will reap the benefits of ours? And what is at stake if we don't tell it? God help us to be faithful. Thank you ever so much for the link-up and for stopping by today.