Wednesday 31 May 2017
I love a good story. One of the greatest joys in life is sitting down with a good book and escaping into the world that the author has created, especially if the story is one that is unpredictable and challenging and thought provoking. Yet what I love more than reading a good story is hearing a good story, especially other people’s stories. Real life stories from everyday people are the tales that really captivate me because through the stories of everyday people we can see the beautiful tapestry that God knits throughout our lives. And if there is one thing I have learnt over time, it’s that the greatest story writer of all is God.
In my work, I get the privilege to work with a large number of volunteers across Australia and New Zealand. I travel often to meet with different teams and when I am visiting with them, one of my favourite things to do is ask them their story; why do they do what they do? What bought them here? How did they encounter Jesus? While it takes some people time to open up, for the most part people are happy to share their story and can I say, as I listen to people share about their life and the events that got them to the very spot they are standing in, time and again I am left standing in awe of how God beautifully orchestrates events in our life to get us to where He wants us. And not only do these stories show us how loving and gracious our Heavenly Father is, they also encourage us to keep walking, to keep holding firm to the promises that God made to us because He is faithful.
A little while ago I was sharing at a conference and right before I was due to get up I felt led to share my testimony as part of my presentation. I quickly shifted my notes, got up and shared my story as well as what I had been asked to present and sat down. I didn’t feel anything at the time but once the break hit, people started to come up to me to tell me they were encouraged and inspired by my testimony, which is wonderful. Praise God! Then they started to share their own stories. Men and women were coming up to me throughout they day and sharing their God story. Stories of healing and divine redirection and impossible encounters and miracles. Stories of God reaching down and lifting people up out of their pit, of bringing the prodigals home and overturning court cases. So many stories that by the end of the conference, my heart was full and encouraged and expectant. I had planned to go to the conference and encourage and equip people yet I walked away more encouraged than when I walked in and with a smile a mile wide.
When life is hard, or good, hearing an everyday person, not a celebrity preacher or mega church leader, but an ordinary person like you and I share about the faithfulness of God in their life is encouraging and good for the soul. It is inspiring. Our stories need to be shared because our stories connect us. To each other. To God. To His people and to His Kingdom. And the beauty is that we all have a story to tell. You have a story to tell just as much as I do and they are both amazing, just in different ways. You may not have a radical conversion story or a story where God took you on a crazy roller coaster ride and that is okay. Your story may be one of steadfastness and faithfulness over a lifetime of following God and that story is just as important as the radical conversion or the crazy missions story because stability and faithfulness is exactly what somebody needs to hear about and see in action. Alternatively, you could be that person with the radical conversion story and that is also great because that could be exactly what the mother of a drug addicted son needs to hear; it could be exactly what helps her stay faithful in prayer knowing that at any moment God could radically change her son’s life.
Whatever your story may be, when we place it in God’s hand and share it to bring Him glory, it will be impact. Colossians 3:17 tells us that, “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him’, and when we share our stories in His name, for His fame, people will be moved and lives will be impacted. So, what’s your story?
Leila (Lays) Halawe is a Sydney based coffee loving nonfiction writer and blogger. She has published a short devotional, Love By Devotion, and shares her views on life and faith via her blog page Looking In. You can connect with her via Facebook at Leila Halawe Author and via Twitter at Leila Halawe.