Wednesday 13 April 2016

When my story hurts

I have a dilemma. 

I have a personal story of hope and triumph; of being forgiven and set free. 
I have always believed I am meant to write the story and share it someday. 
I have a feeling that time is now.

Newborn with cleft lip and palate

What God did is beautiful and shows the power of His love. 
It shows there are no disabilities in God’s eyes, only His-abilities. 
I am not deformed, but deliberately-formed. 
I am set free from guilt and shame.

But first my story is awful. And painful.

I could leave out the awful bits, but it takes away the power of the story; the awesomeness and glory of what Christ did.

So what do I do? Do I deny my parents were human? That people in my life made
The 'little koala girl'
terrible mistakes? Do I tone down the truth? Do I ignore the bullying and human brokenness that I faced every day?

The problem is, to understand the miracle of the victory, the intensity of the fight needs to be understood first.

I know it will hurt close family members. I grew up in a home where impressions were extremely important. Impressions will be shattered. Damage that one of my surgeons, a teacher, and others caused will be brought to light.

Age 8 - Diseased (diabetes)
Obviously we must always tell the truth, but does every truth need to be spoken? – And should it be told to everybody?

Joseph had an awful, painful story, but it showed God’s love and purpose, and people throughout the generations have been encouraged and challenged by it.
So did Job. And King David.
And the woman at the well, and the woman caught in adultery.
And the Apostle Paul. And so many more …
They all point us to Christ.

Speaking opportunities - author visits
I have shared my story with many people through Powerpoint presentations and inspirational talks. Just the bare basics, yet God has used it in amazing ways. But to put it in a book I would need to include so many more details ...

Few people have as vivid a memory as I have; I can replay a lot of my life like a movie.
Teenager transformed
So many memories I want to put behind me, but haven’t been able to. Which makes me wonder, why has God allowed them to stay? To remind me where I came from so I never become proud? Or so that I would come to this moment and share my story? Maybe both and so much more.

I love and have forgiven all those who wronged me. I don’t want to hurt them. Our relationships have been restored because I hold nothing against them. Yet I have not forgotten and, not wanting to hurt them, I have not let them know the impact of their actions. Because that impact is now irrelevant; I have been set free.

Yet once I wasn’t. And the turning point; the incredible transformation into a new creation through Christ’s love and acceptance is the power of the story.

What are your thoughts?
Scarred no more

Can we share too much?

Is it worth risking relationships with those we love to shine the light of Christ? Is this what it means to me, personally, to turn my back on my father and mother to follow Christ?

Should I be more concerned for my family who do love and follow Christ, or should I be more concerned for those who are lost and will see Christ’s love for them through my story?

How can I be objective and hear the voice of God when I am dealing with something so intensely personal?

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Jenny Glazebrook writes inspirational Christian fiction for young adults and is the author of 7 published books (The final 2 of her Aussie Sky Series currently at the printers).
She is the wife of Rob, and they have four children: Micah, Merridy, Clarity and Amelia. They live in Gundagai, country Australia, with their many crazy pets. 
Jenny is also a primary school chaplain and inspirational speaker. 
Her passion is to see people walking closer with God each day.

You can find out more about her and her books on her website:


  1. Wow Jenny. Tough to know what to say, except thank God for His healing. I gather your parents would be aware of the substance of your presentations? How have they responded? I can't say much except I'll be praying for you! Lots of love to you!

    1. Thanks so much for your prayers! Yes, my parents are/were aware. My Dad died two years ago and on his death bed, told me he had many regrets. My siblings, when I mention things, remember and if they don't remember the details to the extent I do, remember at least the substance of it.

  2. No great insights from me as to what to do. Just be sure I will be praying for you Jenny to know God's wisdom in the situation and how to handle things.

    1. Thank you Dale, your prayers mean a lot. God's wisdom is definitely what I need most!

  3. Sounds like a powerful story, Jenny. One which may help and encourage a lot of other people. If you believe God is calling you to write it, then I'm sure He will guide you as to how to do that without causing damage to others. I've always been mindful of the teaching that 'hurt' is not the same as 'harm'. Sometimes people's feelings are hurt in a needful process, but that can be good for them in the long run and with God's help. That's different to doing 'harm' to people. I pray God will give you wisdom in your decisions.

    1. That's a good point, Carol, about the difference between hurt and harm. Thank you. By the way, I loved your book, 'Next of Kin'. Saw you have another one out now, too. Congratulations!

  4. I agree with Carol's comments above, Jenny. I have experienced God's guidance during those tricky parts of memoir writing, often changing some sections many times, in order to soften them, while still telling the truth. There are ways of doing that, such as perhaps giving reasons you can see and understand for those other people's actions or perhaps talking more about yourself and how you experienced those other people's actions. Even then though, you may have to delete some things you would have liked to put in, for the sake of not offending others. But I know you will hear God's heart in it all, Jenny. And it sounds to me as if it might be a good thing for you personally anyway at this point, to write your story, even if it gets changed a lot down the track.

    1. Have you just written the one memoir (Soul Friend)? I've been looking for other Christian memoirs to learn from. I have Soul Friend here in my Light the Dark stock to sell, but I'm thinking I'll keep it for myself and read it : ) It did occur to me that maybe God wants me to write the story for myself, and then cut it drastically if/when it is seen by the public. I have put in the front (I'm up to 20,000 words so far) that as an adult I understand why people reacted/said/did the things they did and that I hold nothing against them; rather I am expressing the way I saw and understood things as a child. Have you put in a proposal for a memoir workshop for the Writers' Conference again? If you do it I will make sure I get there, this time!!!!

    2. Re your memoir workshop question, Jenny, yes I have, but I would also love to present another creative writing experience-type workshop, so we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I could send you my notes from the memoir workshop I presented the year before last--I will do that as soon as I can. Re my own memoir writing, I have written a second memoir, tentatively titled 'Becoming Me: Finding my true self in God' but am re-editing it at the moment, with a view to publishing it soon.

  5. I recently read an article about this here:

    It's not Christian and talks a bit about legal stuff but in summary their advice was: Write first. Decide later ... First, just put pen to paper.

    I thought it was good advice. Write as if no family member is going to read it and then ask God for lots of wisdom when you edit.

    1. Susan that's exactly what I was going to suggest to Jenny :)

    2. Susan that's exactly what I was going to suggest to Jenny :)

    3. Thanks! Excellent article. I have saved it :)

  6. Also I've just read, Her Father's Daughter by Alice Pung, which is a memoir (though not Christian). It is obviously biographical but she has written it in different points of view - sometimes her own is told in 3rd person. Some chapters are written from her father's point of view explaining why he is so controlling. Later, it jumps around chronologically, she includes his history and then you really understand why he is so controlling. She also writes about showing him the manuscript.

    Overall it illustrates there are lots of different ways of writing a memoir. Might be worth a read.

    1. Sounds really interesting, Susan--now on my 'to read' list too!

    2. Thanks Susan. I love that idea. Including the POV of other people will explain what I now know were their motives/thought processes. And they'd be a lot happier to have their actions in there if they were explained. But first, I will write ... and edit later : )

  7. Jenny, it seems to me that the Lord will use your book to minister to many of those who have been deeply hurt. Many times words have the power to wound and to the recipient it is a lifelong scar. The fact that you have experienced this, yet have found grace to forgive is so very important. Your real life story of hope and triumph may be the very thing someone or many need to hear. No doubt the Lord has put this desire into your heart. Yes, write it all and I pray He will guide you in what may need to be edited out or said a different way. Your honesty truly counts with Him.
    God bless

    1. Thanks Rita. I appreciate your words of encouragement and wisdom.


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