While sifting through my son's bookcases, setting aside the titles he had outgrown, I came across something wonderful. Hidden amongst the many first readers, and baby books were his very own creations—little homemade books he had written and illustrated himself. Crayon-decorated pages stapled together in wonky childlike fashion, each book detailed my son's childhood likes and dislikes. Fictional heroes, imaginary characters, and real-life challenges adorned the pages. It was a treasure trove of memories, and parental enlightenment.
The discovery of these long-forgotten family treasures led me to contemplate storytelling, and how vital it is to human existence.
Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. Matthew 13:34 NIV
I once asked my son why he thought Jesus spoke in parables. He told me it was probably because parables were more interesting. I think he made an excellent point. Stories capture our attention. I can recall far more personal testimonies than I can sermons. Movies, books, songs, and artwork are a few methods of storytelling. What a colossal value the world puts on these gifts.
Sometimes stories are clearly defined, other times they require us to dig deep and uncover the meaning behind the tale—as with the parables of Jesus. Often the meaning is open to interpretation, different for each individual. Stories can be complex, life-changing, and powerful.
Family stories bring us together. Stories can survive generations. Like Chinese whispers, they evolve through the years, becoming applicable to each new set of ears. A great story will span continents, country, religion, race. Morals, themes, and lessons follow these great stories. If you contemplate their existence, I am certain a few will come to mind.
I have to wonder if our need to connect and relate to each other is the driving force behind our desire to share stories. I also wonder if stories are vital because we have a desire to teach one another. Stories are a form of communication, not just with each other, but within ourselves. We contemplate the values, meanings, and lessons of the stories we hear, and apply them to our own existence.
Imagine for a moment a world without stories. How dull! There would be no Disney, no romance novels, no self-help gurus. Artistic expression of all kind would vanish. The flair of human existence would disappear. Could we even call ourselves human without storytelling?
Thinking back on my son’s homemade book, I realise that we each have multiple stories within us. Some are told. Most are untold. There are many that need to be told, but fear stops us from sharing. Some are fiction, others are life experiences. I know for sure that we all have a story. What is your story?
Who should you be sharing it with?
Who would the Lord have you share it with?
Recently I’ve been enthralled with the 40 Days of Stories. These producers have collected 40 stories, as told by Christians of Indigenous heritage around Australia. I can’t tell you how much I’ve cried hearing them. Tears of joy, of sadness, of conviction, of hope. These brave men and women, my Christian sisters and brothers, have shared their stories in the hope of making a difference.
And they have made a difference in me.
I dedicate this column to their fearless bravery, sharing their stories with the world. Sharing with hope, that the Lord will bring great things though their testimonies.
I know He will.
Like my young son, I encourage you, dear reader, to share your story. If you need encouragement, click on the link to the 40 days of stories below. Listen, not just to the stories, but to the purpose behind sharing them.
Then pray about your own story. And share it.
40 Days Website: http://40stories.com.au/
40 Days Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/40DaysOfPrayerAndFasting/?fref=ts
First seen in Book Fun Magazine:
Rose was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her Resolution series.
Two of the three Resolution novels have won Australian CALEB awards. She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel highlighting the pain of Australia’s past policy of forced adoption, as well as standalone novel, Ehvah After. Her most recent release is A Christmas Resolution, which is part of the novella box set, An Aussie Summer Christmas.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and her desire to produce stories that point readers to Jesus. Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband and son.
Visit Rose at: www.rosedee.com