Saturday, June 29, 2013


I'd say it started in the spring of 2009 when I purchased a CD by Matthew West.  The lyrics "You've Got Something to Say"1 resonated inside me -- demanding some sort of response.  Not sure of what I had to say, but knowing there was something inside me, I started a blog.  I haven't written with enough regularity to inspire a following, though.  It seems I couldn't really find something to say after all.... 

In the fall of 2010, Matthew West's next CD, The Story of Your Life, was released.  There wasn't a song on it that didn't speak to me on some level.  I loved the way he'd taken other people's stories and given them a voice.  He did it again with his next CD, Into the Light -- giving voice to even more people who had shared their stories with him.  Every song, every story, on that CD speaks to me in some way.  It has played over and over in my car -- to the point my family begs to hear something else, anything else!  But... people's stories are powerful.  They connect.  They touch.  They give comfort and hope.  They encourage and inspire.

Now I'm reading To Be Told, by Dan Allender.  I'd recently read another of his books and had been intrigued enough by his writing and theology to want to read more.  It's funny how one thing leads to another sometimes....  In To Be Told, he writes about reading the story of your life; how the stories form a theme, a pattern of something God wants to say through your life.  He encourages you to look at your story; to study your story; to write your story; to share your story.   This, too, is resonating with something deep inside of me.  Stories....  First Matthew West, then Dan Allender.  Seeing a pattern here?  I'm starting to....  It probably doesn't hurt that in the last few months both my psychologist and my pastor have independently encouraged me to do something with my writing.  So... yeah... I'm thinking about stories. A lot.

In reality, though, I know this story didn't really start in 2009.  It started many years before that.  It started as I found myself lost in the wonder of books at a young age... and as I sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the television watching The Waltons.  Yes, I really did watch that show... and something in me longed to put words to a page like John-Boy.  To write... stories.  I can remember in middle school penning the words, "How do you get the world to taste the saltiness of a tear?"  I wanted to somehow make people feel through what I wrote; to express myself so well that they would be right there with me -- feeling the emotions... tasting the tears.  So where did I lose that dream?  What killed it?  What makes it so scary for me to even think about it now?

In that first blog entry in 2009 I wrote, "I know I feel totally unqualified to say much of anything. I don't have the imagination or creativity for a novel. I don't have the education or maturity for non-fiction."  That's part of it: fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of not being good enough.  Fear of the unknown -- I don't have a clue what I'm doing, and that scares the bejeebers out of me!  I hate not knowing what I'm doing (and, yes, that's probably part of my story).  But beyond that... is also the fear of figuring out what to write... looking into my soul and discovering what is there.  What is my story?  I'm not so sure I know it myself.  Sometimes I haven't been sure I even want to know it....

I have so many fragmented stories....  So how do I know which is really "my story" to write and to share?  Is it the sexual abuse I experienced as a young child?  Is it the ridicule I faced on the school bus in elementary by the boys who were once my best friends?  Is it the experience of being the "nerd" who didn't fit in anywhere in high school -- made fun of for the poetry journal I carried with me for those moments of inspiration or needed expression?  Even now I cringe to admit I wrote (and sometimes still write) poetry.  Cool kids don't do that -- only geeky outcasts....  Or is it the humiliation of being betrayed by one of my best friends to one of my worst tormentors?  Is it the devastating death of a church which we had poured our hearts and souls into... and the journey through the heartache and damaged faith toward forgiveness and healing?  Is it discovering, after years of struggle, that my daughter has cyclothymia (a mild form of bipolar)... and the long and difficult path of pain, discovery and healing we've traveled through that?  Is it the experience of being the parent of a prodigal daughter, learning to let go and trust God... and the joy of her return?  Is it discovering my own mood disorder?  Is it the journey of discovering and fixing the broken things in my marriage? 

How do all those stories come together?  Which are the important ones?  What is the theme I'm supposed to be discovering?  And... sigh... how can I write about it, try to encourage someone else with it, when I haven't figured it all out myself yet?  I'm still broken; still growing up; still on the same road the rest of the world is traveling... most of the time feeling a little behind, even.  I haven't arrived.  I don't have all the answers.  Each day I'm actually finding I'm even more broken than I've realized.  So what could I possibly contribute? 

Truth is, those words I wrote in 2009 are still true:  "I feel totally unqualified to say much of anything. I don't have the imagination or creativity for a novel. I don't have the education or maturity for non-fiction."  Yet...  something inside me screams for the release of putting pen to paper.   To share.  To craft a sentence that will impact another's heart. To use my experiences to help and encourage someone else.  Because stories... the stories God is writing in each of our lives... are powerful.  I believe we all have stories we are meant to share.  Our stories are unique.  Each of us is given a different story.  Each of us has been given a different way to share our story.  So... I want to encourage you to ask with me -- What is my story?  What is the Father saying about Himself through my story?  How am I to share it?  Because... in the words of Matthew West, "You got something to say... and no one can say it like you do."1

This is the story of your life
Go tell the story of your life
Cause it's a story worth telling


1Something to Say, Matthew West
2The Story of Your Life, Matthew West