Your story, a gift

I have a friend who is literally living a miracle. Her story overflows with one impossibility after another, with a picture of such extravagant grace you can’t believe it until you see her for yourself and just know its true. She glows with it.

Someday soon she will tell her story and it will change the world. For a while, she wasn’t sure she believed this. “It’s just one small story of one small life,” she would say with her typical humility, not realizing how her small life burns like a candle in the night. But if she is anything, she is surrendered, which what made the miracles possible in the first place. And it is why I know her story is about to blaze up and change everything for a lot of people.

I have been thinking a lot about story, about how each of us holds our own story within us as a gift waiting to be given away. My own life has been shaped by the stories of the people around me and by the stories passed down to me from long ago.  I think often of the elderly among us, people who hold incredible stories we never hear, stories that are fast fading.

We are custodians of story, keepers of the events that shape us. Stop and notice how we struggle to tell the stories, to shape the world by the tales we tell of ourselves, of our past.

Stories have power. Like this story of beauty from brokenness that has rocked me this week. And my friend, the one with the miracle, she has been given a great gift. She has walked through deep suffering and found hope—unbelievable, tangible, incredible hope. This happened because she chose how her story was going to shape her, chose whom she was going to look at and what she was going to believe.

We tend to downplay our stories. It makes me think of a certain day long ago near Jerusalem, when 5000+ hungry people stood in a wilderness and waited to be fed. And Jesus’ friends said helplessly, “We only have this tiny lunch. It will never be enough.” And Jesus smiled and said, “Hand it over.” Five thousand full bellies later, they picked up enough leftovers for each of Jesus’ friends to carry in a basket.

What is your story? Who might need to hear it? What might happen if you share it? What if that thing that shaped you so profoundly, the thing you rarely speak of, is the thing a hungry heart or two needs to find hope? Maybe you feel like it is this tiny thing, and Jesus is saying with a little smile, “Hand it over.”

We are never going to stop using stories to shape the world. This is who we are. Your story is a gift. It is also a responsibility. What will you do with it?

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