Jesus didn’t say very often “thou shalt not” but he said an awful lot of “there was a man” and he told story and people listened well.
And last night we listened well too…
Bea is 87. She throws her head back when she laughs and she talks about peace making and raising babies while her husband was at war. She paints pictures and the donates them to our youth group and by the end of the night she says “don’t worry about my name, you can just call me grandma if you want to”. And I say “this is a woman who knows how to pray” and the girls write their names because who could pass the opportunity to add your name to a list like that?
Teena has been married for thirty years and she talks about how her story started. Her voice is lyrical and her eyes dance and none of us can look away. I wish she could just keep talking. I wish I could sit and hear her story from start to finish and in that I could hear, how it is, that one walks with passion and joy even in the mundane and sad. She knows.
The girls tell their stories and they are wise too and we learn from them and we remember how hard it is to be a teenager and how brave and courageous they are for living for Jesus even now.
I listen to the next table over and Fay and Janice speak gentle and loving and their voices lilt to me and calm me from here. Their eyes are both soft as they listen intent and they cover over all the words with love and they tuck their words in around the edges with moments of laughter. I watch them exchange prayer requests and emails and none of this is planned. They join hands around the table and they hold each other up and I know that this will be a sign post night for the girls gathered at table two.
I hear great questions from table three. Bonnie, Kendra, Rachel and Ashley sprinkle over the answers with wise and they shake their story over the top. The stories all weave together and we are one Body here and Great Story teller is making this body dance.
So where are you telling your story? If you aren’t, you must. There is something about standing back from your life and holding it at arm’s length that helps you to see the truth of it. Helps you to see Gods fingers in it. Sometimes you don’t even know the theme of your story until you say it out loud. Sometimes the miracle of a God led life drizzles off and settles in a puddle if you aren’t sharing it.
Thanks for letting me tell my story here…I look forward to hearing yours. And shyly…cautiously…I ask that I be able to start telling my stories more broadly? Maybe, just maybe God could use this girl to share His stories with more women? More girls? I don’t know…but if he should. I’d be willing. I am applying for a scholarship to “She Speaks” … A conference all about women telling their stories to build the kingdom of Jesus.