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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Joanna Weaver: An Interview with the Author of Lazarus Awakening


www.joannaweaverbooks.com
Joanna Weaver

I am so excited to introduce you to my new friend, author, Joanna Weaver! It has been such a blessing getting to know her better over the past months while serving on the launch team for the release of her latest companion DVD Bible study: Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God. It was filmed in Israel and releases on July 21, 2015.


I was already familiar with another of Joanna's studies that I had gone through years ago, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. I loved that study! You can read my review on that study here: Mary Heart. 



It is such a joy to find that Joanna is so genuine and I have loved getting to hear some of the longings of her heart as they pertain to her relationship with her Lord and with her friends and family. 

Joanna is sweet, humble and passionate about God's Word. She's the real deal! I hope that you will enjoy this interview and that it will inspire you to check out her other books…especially her latest book and DVD Bible Study:Lazarus Awakening:Finding Your Place In the Heart of God. Be sure to read to the bottom of this post to find out how you can win the Giant Bible Study In a Box!
Let's get to know Joanna a bit more. 

Here's a quick Bio...

Please welcome author, Joanna Weaver. She is the author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, which has sold over a million copies. Other books include Having a Mary SpiritLazarus Awakening, and a devotional, At the Feet of Jesus. Her books and companion DVD Bible studies have been used by hundreds of churches as well as home groups and individuals.
Joanna speaks at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally as well. Her passion is to see women experience the incredible love and grace of God so that they can become all He created them to be.
Joanna’s articles have appeared in publications such as Focus on the FamilyGuideposts, and HomeLife. Awards include: Platinum Award for Having a Mary Heart in a World; Reader’s Choice Award finalist for Lazarus Awakening; and a Silver Medallion Award for With This Ring, a wedding gift book. She was also named Mount Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference “Most Promising Writer” and chosen for the Guideposts Writer’s Workshop. Joanna has been the guest on many national radio and television programs including Focus on the Family, Midday Connection, HomeWord and Harvest TV.
Joanna’s greatest joy is found in being a wife and mother of three, as well as serving the Lord beside her husband John in full-time ministry. The Weavers reside in the beautiful “Big Sky” state of Montana.

The Interview...

Where did your love and passion for the Word come from?
I wish I could say I always had a passion for God’s Word, but to be honest, it wasn’t until I was 28 years old that I really learned how to read the Bible in a meaningful way. Though I’d grown up in the church knowing I was supposed to have a “quiet time,” I’d never learned how to do it.
A Navigator’s 2:7 discipleship class changed all that. As I learned how to study God’s Word, really thinking about what I read and responding to it, my passion for the Bible grew.
I once heard Greg Laurie say, “Spiritual hunger is different than natural hunger. When we’re hungry in the natural, we eat and we’re satisfied. But when we’re hungry in the spiritual, it isn’t until we begin to eat that we realize how hungry we are!”
That’s been true in my life – the more time I spend in God’s Word, the more I want!
In your studies, you encourage women to take time to pray and journal as they read the Bible. What about this process do you find so important?
Prayerful journaling helps us to slow down and absorb what we’re reading. For so much of my life, when it came to reading the Bible I was like the man of James 1:23-24 who “listens to the word” but immediately walks away forgetting what he’s heard.
But when I learned how to journal about what I’d read, God’s Word began to come alive. Rather than reading the Bible through in a year (like I assumed every good Christian was required to do!), I began reading less so I could meditate more. It’s a method I still use today.
I read scripture slowly, asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth to my heart. When something stands out, I write out the verse(s) in my journal and a response to what I sense God is speaking and ways that I can apply the truth to my life.   
I’m excited about sharing this process in all of my new DVD Bible studies, because I believe God wants to speak to us all. But we have to slow down and listen. Learning to journal our journey with God really helps us do just that.
Many women struggle to find time to do a study or engage with the Bible in the midst of marriage, a career, raising children, and more. What advice or words of encouragement would you offer to women attempting to balance time spent with God with the demands of a family and other responsibilities? 
“Start small, but begin” – that’s what the Puritans used to say. We’ve got to set aside our all-or-nothing tendencies and simply accept the invitation Mary enjoyed when she sat at Jesus’s feet listening to what He said. It’s helped me to remember that God isn’t looking for perfection, He longs for relationship. So I’m learning to invite Him into my day. 
Before I get out of bed in the morning, I pray: “Lord, come take the throne of my heart. Lead and guide me, interrupt me if you wish. I don’t want You to be a part of my life – I want You to BE my life!”   
But I also try to prioritize time in the Word. Even if it’s just five minutes, I look for a scripture to meditate on so that I can think about it through the day.
How has Christ challenged you personally as you’ve written and developed Bible studies?
God rarely allows me to write about things I feel an expertise in. Instead, He asks me to be a learner – and in a sense, a fellow struggler with those who read my book – as He teaches us the message He’s laid on my heart. 
Because writing is the hardest thing I do, the process makes me absolutely dependent on the Holy Spirit! While working on Lazarus Awakening, I went through an extended period of writer’s block. My head was absolutely quiet. I’d sit down and literally couldn’t put a single word on the screen. 
During that time, I discovered that Jesus’s words are true: “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). That’s a difficult but wonderful lesson to learn – especially when our helplessness makes us turn to God.
How do you go about developing a new book or study?
Writing a book or study isn’t something I decide to do on my own. Instead, God slowly lays a message on my heart until it comes alive to me. Each book has been a little different (you can read the backstories at my website), but the inspiration usually comes in layers of repeated themes and confirmations. 
Finally, God gives me a sense of knowing that this is the book He wants me to write. After brainstorming content and sketching out chapters, I write a proposal which my agent takes to my publisher. 
After the book is accepted, I enter an intense season of study and research – which I love! Only after that do I begin to write. While I have a strong idea of what the book is about, in a very real sense, I write to find out. Which means there are a lot of twists and turns, detours and backtracking required before reaching the finished product. 
It isn’t a pretty process, but it’s mine. One I’ve learned to appreciate because of the utter dependency on God that it produces.
As a writer and Bible teacher, what themes or characters in the Bible are you interested in studying and writing about next?
For years, I’ve longed to write a book about trusting God – over a decade, in fact! In my opinion, there’s nothing more important than this pivotal question: “Will I trust God?” It’s not “can I?” or “should I?”…it all comes down to this: “will I?”
When something bad happens and I’m tempted to fear – God whispers, “Will you trust me?” When my hopes and dreams seem derailed – “Will you trust me?” And on those days when my strength is gone and my to-do list goes unfinished, I hear Him say, “Will you trust me with that as well?” 
So I’m hoping one day I’ll get to write that book. But first, God is asking me to trust Him by taking a sabbatical of sorts to focus on my family and our church for the next six months to a year.
“Trust in me, Joanna,” I hear God whisper. “Rest in Me.” So that’s what I plan to do.
 Joanna, where can we find your books and more about you?
Thanks for asking! You can find my books and DVD studies at my website www.joannaweaverbooks.com. You can also find them on B&N, Amazon, Parable, Christianbook.com, and possibly other independent books stores. The new companion DVD Bible study for Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God releases on July 21, 2015. Filmed in Israel, the video sessions feature Joanna teaching about the halfway life too many of settle for, even as Christians. “It’s time to step out of our tombs and shed the graveclothes that have bound us far too long,” Joanna says. “It’s time to ‘come forth’ into abundant life Jesus came to give!”
 Joanna, it has been such a pleasure to have you!
       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You can also follow Joanna on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.

http://bit.ly/studyinabox

Be sure to enter  the “Giant Bible-Study-in-a-Box Giveaway”!! 

Just head over here and enter to win! 
It features everything needed to host a study for 24 people, including DVDs, books, and study guides – this grand prize drawing takes place July 21st at 8:00 pm MDT.

Oh…and please leave a comment below! What has helped you spend more quality time with God? I'm sure Joanna would love to hear from you. I would too!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

I'm sitting at my desk this evening and pondering. 

Looking out my home office window I watch the sun as it slips below the mountains in the distance casting amazingly brilliant red and yellow hues across the sky as if to shine out in all it's glory one last hurrah before it vanishes into the dark night sky. 
And I wonder as I consider all the lives lost on the battlefields.  Was their death one of valiant glory…one of honor? 
Who was left behind? What is their story? 

It's so easy just to think of Memorial Day as another opportunity for a three day weekend, family cookouts, and a chance to get out on the golf course or the lake… a time to just kick back and relax. It has been that for me in years past…as I have given a quick thought and a prayer of thankfulness to God for those who were willing to lay their own lives down for my freedom.  

But for some reason this year it has me pondering. Perhaps it's my age. Being a grandmother, I can't help but think of the future of my grandchildren. Or maybe it's that I feel our country seems to be at a crossroads.  And so I reflect on the bravery of men and women who have been willing to lay down their lives serving our country, defending our borders, and sustaining our freedoms.

I also wonder. How many people really know what Memorial Day is all about?  As a young girl I remember seeing the red poppies on Memorial Day. It's been a while since I've seen those. There is story behind the poppies and the lady who made them popular as a symbol of Memorial Day. You can read about the red poppies and the history of Memorial Day here: Memorial Day History

Memorial Day began as a somber day of remembrance. It was actually called Decoration Day at one time because this was the day when Americans went to cemeteries to place flags or flowers on the graves of those who have died in war. A day to remember all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.


This day continues as a day to honor those who have died in war in service to our country. For some the day is a very personal one. Their own stories intermingle with those who are now gone. I live just the next town over from a very well known Naval Air Force Base. We have many young military families who attend Journey.  I have come to love and appreciate these young families. I am humbled by the level of honor and commitment they display to our country and sometimes I get just a glimpse of the sacrifice they pay.

My friend, Brittany, posted this letter today. It is from her friend's daughter…written to her daddy this Memorial Day.


So I remember that for each fallen hero there are loved ones left behind to pick up the pieces and carry on. I pray for their strength and courage as they face each new day. I ask that God will comfort them in their loss and grant to them the peace that passes understanding.  I say thank you…please know that my sympathy, respect and prayers are with you all this day. 

As the day comes to a close, I wonder how many realize the sobering truth of this day's significance? How many have fallen? How many are left behind? Are we teaching our children to honor those who have fought and died for our freedoms?

I close with this picture and the words of one little boy named Asher…who upon visiting the Northern Nevada Veteran's Memorial Cemetery today with his sweet mama, declared, "Whoa! That's a lot of heroes!"

Remembering all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. God bless. ✝


"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13


Have a memorable Memorial Day








Thursday, March 19, 2015

Keep Calm and Write On…The Writer's Life

To begin again…

I'm sure, since I haven't posted in quite some time now, some of you think that perhaps I have quit writing altogether. I have written since my last post but admittedly, very little. I don't know that I can even say what has been holding me back, but I do know that I must begin again. God has called me to write and I cannot quit.




Quitting is just not an option. But instead of stubbornly saying, "I won't quit", I choose to say, " I will persevere in this call to write!"

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. - Henry Ward Beecher
It helps to know that there are those in my life who believe that God has given me this charge and this gift to write.  I want to thank you for encouraging me to step fully into this calling. You know who you are. 

And yet, I still...

  • struggle to call myself a writer.
  • struggle with the writing process.
  • struggle to step into this calling.
  • struggle with the question, 'Am I equipped for this?' 
  • struggle with the fact that, yes, sometimes writing is just hard work!
"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something that this thing must be attained."  - Marie Curie
I am in agreement with this quote by Marie Curie in that I do believe I am gifted for this writing journey…therefore I cannot just quit. I must press on. But my confidence comes in knowing that, because God has called me to this, He will provide the means, the strength, and the way to make it happen. Frankly, I am relieved to know that I don't have to rely on my own strength in this endeavor.  

It would seem that most writer's have struggled with the doubts about who they are and even seem reluctant to say, "I am a writer."  There is comfort in knowing that I am not alone in my struggle.  Here are just a sampling of quotes I have collected from successful writers who understand the struggle.


Every Writer I know has trouble writing. -Joseph Heller, author
I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.- Gustave Flaubert
Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead. -Gene Fowler 
Prose is architecture, not interior decoration. - Ernest Hemingway 
I can't write five words but that I change seven. - Dorothy Parker
And then there's the quote from Jerry B. Jenkins, of Left Behind fame. In his book to writers, Writing For The Soul, he was asked the question, "Why write if you don't like writing?"
It's not that I hate going to the keyboard, but I put it off, dreading the encounter, especially getting started. Then the story draws me in, and I'm off and running. I don't know anyone who sits at the computer with a grin thinking, This is the most fun I've had all day. I'd rather do this than play.  
 That's me! I put it off. The getting started part…yeah…I get it. It's like there is this invisible force field around the keys of my computer holding me off. It's like…do-do-do-do...There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone  Writing Zone.  That's it! Thank you Rod Serling!! 

Created with Keep-Calm-O-Matic, Gay Idle


But seriously…there are so many other things I have on the to-do list. Even the laundry is calling my name…wooing me away from the keyboard. What?!! I don't even enjoy doing laundry! Who does?    

But here's the thing. I am a writer. I have made the decision to pursue this writing life. Pursuit of anything worthwhile is often fraught with obstacles along the path. But I am committed to this path, so write I must!

I believe this writing gig to be one of the instruments through which God will fulfill the greater calling He has placed on my life.



When God calls us to something, it never means the road will be an easy one. (Tweet this). But I know that with surrender to Him comes peace and joy. And that, my friends, will be worth all the struggle! 

What about you? Have you been called to something that seems insurmountable? I'd love to hear what you are doing to overcome the obstacles. Join in the discussion in the comment section below. 


"Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us,"







Writer's Life Update:

While I haven't posted on the blog in a while, I did manage to get an article written for The Kingdom Life Now, A women's online magazine about belonging and becoming in the Kingdom of God. Check out the magazine and subscribe! You'll be blessed!
You can go directly to my article by following this link: Let It Go: When Your Dreams Are Derailed. I would love to know what you think about letting go of dreams so leave a comment there. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Story: Why Tell It? #4

Here it is! The final post in the series. Today I'm talking about why we need to tell our stories. 


But first, let me make this clear. While I do believe that we all have a story to tell, I don't believe we are all called to write about or even broadcast our lives to the entire world. I believe that we all have many stories to share, the bulk of which make up our 'story'. So while you may not be called to share your entire life's story in one place, such as a book, you need to be open to the fact that God will bring people and/or opportunities to you. And when that happens be ready to share a part of your story.  

Your story is your testimony. It is your opportunity to attest to the truth of what God has done and is doing in your life.


Telling your story helps others to know:

  • They are not alone
We all need to know that we are not on this journey alone. We were created for relationship…to exist  in community. When we find that we share a common trial, or circumstance with another it creates a feeling of connection. 
 What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ~C.S. Lewis
  • There is hope
When we see that someone has come through a trial we have hope that we too can make it through whatever trial we may be facing.  Hope awakens our soul to press on. Prayer gives wings to that hope. (click to tweet)
Hope is the dream of a soul awake. ~french proverb
  • There can be purpose through pain and trials 
That thing (pain, trial, persecution, illness, failure, etc.)  the enemy of your soul uses as a means to destroy you? That is the very thing that God in His great love, grace, wisdom, and mercy can turn around to be used for His glory and your good. 
And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28 

Telling your story has the capacity to show that you have come through it all and you survived. You were not destroyed. And it may just complete the healing process for you when you realize all that God reveals to you as you begin to work through the telling of your story. 


You see when you tell your story you begin to find your place in HIS story…the story of God's great love, sacrifice, and redemption. 

Let me give you two illustrations of how God works through our broken mess to bring about His good purpose in our lives.



Kintsugi


Kintsugi is an art form developed by fifteenth century craftsman in Japan to repair broken ceramic wares using lacquer with gold or silver powder. The term kintsugi means to patch with gold. Instead of using a material to hide the breaks, the gold is used to highlight the quality of the repair work and to show the cost of redeeming something so valuable. 

author unknown: public domain
The artist has increased the worth of the item not only because of the craftsmanship of the repair but also because of the value of the material used to make the repair. The break becomes the stand-out feature on the object making it even more valuable than when it was all in one piece. 


The art of kintsugi beautifully illustrates our Master taking our broken pieces and putting us back together again. In the process, He uses the 'mortar' of the blood of His Son, Jesus, and the refining fire of the Holy Spirit to bring the pieces back together; creating within us a stronger spirit with more beauty than we ever possessed when we were whole. 

What is the 'break' in your life? That break is the very thing that becomes most precious as the blood of Jesus is that which glues you back together. You are not 'used goods'. You are not worthless because of your brokenness. 
No! 
God wants to use your brokenness to show the world His power and Glory in your life as He puts you back together one precious piece at a time. Then you will again be whole…yet not as before, but even more beautiful as His mark is now evident in your life.


Mosaic

When creating a mosaic the artist often takes broken tile, or glass from different sources and puts them together to create a beautiful work of art. A strongly bonded piece of art. Much like our group of beautifully broken women who came together to form a sweet community that shines brightly into each others lives and into the world. Together we form a much stronger bond that cannot easily be deconstructed. (I spoke of this group of women earlier in this series on story  here:  Story…Redeemable #2). 

Just as the store we visited took pieces of mismatched broken items and redeemed or re-purposed those items into beautiful pieces of art, God can do the same for you. Only God can bring about true redemption, restoration, wholeness and peace. 

You see the enemy creates that conflict within our souls and only our Savior can break the tie/sin that binds us to the enemy. He then brings us back into communion with Himself. We are redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus. It is with His blood and the word of our testimony, our story, that we have overcome!


And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, 
and the word of their testimony. Revelation 12:11a

So go ahead and pick up the pieces. Place them all in the hands of the Master Artist. Let God use your broken pieces to make something beautiful. Then go tell others about what He has done in your life.

It's time to tell your story! Don't you agree?








You can read the entire series by visiting these links:

Story: The Great Connector #1 

Story: Redeemable #2  

Story: The Conflict #3 

Story: Why tell it? #4

(art photos are public domain photos and used Under the rule in Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corporation, a mere 'record' photograph of a 2D work of art (i.e. a photograph which is an as-accurate-as-possible copy of the original) acquires no copyright protection.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Story: The Conflict #3

Do you wonder if your life matters? If the hard things you have gone through have a purpose? What is the point of it all? 

I want to assure you that, yes, your life matters. 


You matter. Your story matters!

But there is an enemy of the soul determined to destroy each and every one of us.  He is on a mission to do everything in his power to keep us from the LOVER of our soul. He calls us by name …but the names the enemy uses for us are names like: worthless, useless, stupid, failure, unlovable, and on and on. The enemy himself has many names. In John 8:44 we read that Satan was "a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because the truth is not in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." 

Satan, liar, murderer, father of lies. Names that describe the very character of the one who wants to lead us as far away from the Truth as possible. Revelation 12:10 tells us that he goes before God to make accusations against us day and night. Revelation 9:11 calls him Apollyon, which means destroyer. He wants to destroy us!

But there is One who is greater than the enemy. He loves you! His names are many: God Almighty, Healer, Comforter, Savior, Holy, Love, Merciful, the Redeemer…(you can find a list of more of the names of God here: 30 Days of Praying the Names and Attributes of God).
He calls you by name…a name that speaks into all that you were created to be. Child of God, forgiven, loved, redeemed!  God says that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14).  He sent His son to redeem your life from the lies of the enemy, to free you from your own sins. 

The names the enemy uses to bring you down do not define you. Your past, the events in your life, do not define you. Let the Father whisper His love into your ear and listen for the name He has for you. Beloved. Child of God. Forgiven. Loved. More than Conquerer. Overcomer. Redeemed! That is who you are!  

The Creator of this universe wants to be the hero in your story! Rest assured that He does not allow pain and hardship in your life to leave you there, defenseless. As my friend, Emily Wierenga, would say, "hardship is not the end of your story, but the beginning."  

When we surrender our life to God, we begin to live again. We begin to walk in the truth of His word. It may take time to work through the mess that we have been through, or even the mess we ourselves have caused by cooperating with the lies of the enemy. But God will complete the work He has begun in us.

This thing that God does in our lives…this bringing beauty from ashes? How can we not but be compelled to share this with others? And when He walks with us and gives us this inexplicable peace in the midst of chaos and suffering…surely that is worth the sharing. 

Why? Because this lost and dying world is aching for a voice of hope! Won't you be that voice? 

In the next article in this series I'll be to talking about 3 reasons you should tell your story.  You can read it here: Story: Why Tell It? I think you'll want to come back for that! If you want to read the first articles in this series check them out here:


Story: The Great Connector                      
 Story: Redeemable, #2                                                                                   








"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness in instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."  ~Isaiah 61:1-3

Monday, October 13, 2014

Story…Redeemable, #2

Back in April, 2014 the (in)Real Life conference was based on telling your Story.  I was blessed to attend this video conference with a group of women who were meeting together at a book launch retreat in Tennessee. This retreat was a gathering of women who had all been on Jo Ann Fore's book launch team for her book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice. It was a perfect combination, a gathering of women who were excited about the message of Jo Ann's book,  and the conference about telling your story!

We listened to speakers talk about Story and we talked about telling our own stories over the weekend, but there was one point in the weekend for me that seemed to be a living illustration of the importance of story. That point in time occurred in an outing we took to a store called Redeemables Upscale Resale



Redeemables is a wonderful store filled with all kinds of treasures. The two energetic and fun ladies who run the store, Debbie and Sherry, take pleasure in taking unwanted items and restoring and/or repurposing them…"redeeming" them into beautiful treasures. 



 Their motto: "Everyone is redeemable and most everything is redeemable!"


When we entered the store they had us gather around them as they shared their own story of how their friendship became this wonderful partnership. They lived out their motto not only in the fulfilling of this longtime dream of owning and running this store, but of the ministry of redeeming lives through their involvement with Rise Up , a youth development and mentoring program that  Sherry and her husband had begun around 20 years ago. Sherry and Debbie met while working in that ministry. 

This store represents not only redeemed objects but redeemed lives as they also employ and train young women who were students from the Rise Up program. As these girls work in the shop they see, touch, and experience a very visual illustration of the patience and work it can take to 'redeem' an item…to take something broken and restore it to something that is even more original and creative than before it was discarded. They also experience the love and grace that it takes to redeem a life. 
I loved this store and these women for being that living illustration of how our own stories can reveal and illustrate the redemptive work of our savior, Jesus Christ. 

If we allow Him into our lives, He takes those broken places…
 those things in our lives that we look on with shame,
 those things that make us feel like a failure, 
 those things that make us feel we can never be important or useful again,
 those things that we think are damaged beyond repair…
He takes all of that and weaves into us something gloriously beautiful, forgiven, redeemed, loved and valued! 

Do you have a story? Of course you do! If you have lived for long in this broken, fallen world you have a story!  

But what is the point of sharing our story if we are still walking in our broken state?  The enemy of your souls wants to destroy each and every one of us. He spends his time wreaking havoc in our lives…tempting us to do the very things that will wreck our souls and break our spirits. But we don't have to allow him the victory over our lives!!


We have only to accept the work that Jesus did on the cross…that act of redemption in 'buying back' our very heart, soul, and spirit…covering the sin in our lives with His life's blood so that we could be forgiven and restored not to religion, but to a very real and intimate relationship with God and to a life of real and lasting joy. We have only to surrender ourselves into His hands, and trust that the process, this healing journey that He is taking us through, is for our own good and His glory. 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  ~Romans 8:28


I hope that you understand what that relationship has the power to do in your life.  I want to talk a little about that in my next one or two posts. How His story intersects with our story, and how that makes it worth the telling…why it makes the telling a necessity. 

(Be sure to read the next article in this series: Story: The Conflict #3.  If you didn't catch part one of this series, you can read it here: Story…The Great Connector.)

You...your story? Redeemable! Are you walking in the redemption or are you holding back?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Story…The Great Connector

It seems that everywhere I turn lately people are grasping hold of the idea of telling your story.
Story…it seems to be the catch phrase of the day. Just google the word and you will see what I mean. There is a...
  • magazine in Kentucky
  • store in New York
  • restaurant in Kansas City
  • nightclub in Miami
  • conference for creatives in Chicago
  • seminar and a book by screenwriter Robert McKee
  • band in the UK 
  • scriptwriting software
  • Disney family photo app for story telling

All of which go by the name Story. And of course, who could forget Paul Harvey's, The Rest of the Story.  So you see there seems to be this almost obsession with the word, or rather the concept ofStory.

We all know that this concept of story is nothing new. Since the beginning of time, stories have existed. Stories have always been fascinating to the human race. In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God(John 1:1-4).  Our creator, God, speaks to us through through His Word using 'story' as one avenue to tell us many stories that bring understanding to our own stories, our own purpose, as it fits into the bigger Story. His Story.

The methods of telling our stories have changed through the years, but the fact remains that whether it be through the spoken word, the written word, or even on the big screen, we still have an innate desire to either hear or tell a good story. 

History is told through story. More than just a string of facts, it gives us a treasury of lessons learned and points us to a better way of living into the future. History gives us heroes to emulate...teaches us to dream big. It shows us that there is always something to be learned…even through failure. 

In East Of Eden, John Steinbeck puts it this way,
I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one…Humans are caught-in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too-in a net of good and evil…There is no other story.  

I believe that Mr. Steinbeck captured the essence of storytelling.  We are all in this epic adventure…one of the struggle between good and evil. We see ourselves in the stories told. We come to understand life...our own life...through the telling of those stories. We sympathize with the characters within the stories we hear, and especially through those that we ourselves tell. 

In one other quote from Steinbeck's book we read the musing of Adam Trask's servant, Lee: 
And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And I here make a rule-a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting-only the deeply personal and familiar.
While I am not sure that I am in complete agreement to that last quote, I do know that it is human nature to listen more intently when the story being told resonates within us. When there is something being told that we can relate to on a deep and personal level our ears perk up. We lean in and listen just a bit more intently as we connect in some way to the telling of a good tale…whether truth or fiction. 

I think Steinbeck hit the nail on the head when he said, "…a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last."  There is a great and lasting story…in HIS story, God's Word.  And yes…we are all a very important part of that story. 
It is the very promises within that great story that keep us going, that give us hope. 

One of my favorite modern day story tellers is Liz Curtis Higgs. She is especially good at the retelling of the stories of the women of the Bible. In talking about the story of Ruth, she tells us that the Hebrew word that opens the story, wayehi, is translated as, "In the days," or "And it came to pass." She says that this hebrew word actually embodies so much more to those original Hebrew listeners. When they heard the word, wayehi , they would lean in eagerly so as not to miss a word, because it literally meant, "Trouble is on the horizon but redemption is coming."  

Trouble is on the horizon but redemption is coming! Isn't that just the essence of a really good story?  We want to hear what that trouble will be and we can endure the telling because we know that redemption is coming…things will be set right once again, by something or someone! And because we know there is something good to come of the bad, we eagerly lean in to hear the tale…the story.

STORY…what comes to your mind when you hear the word? Do you love a certain kind of story because it represents your own 'happily ever after'?  


I hope you'll come back to visit next week as I continue to delve into this word…this concept…to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. 

Come back and be ready to lean in! {Story part 2…Redeemables}








..."The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim. ~Romans 10:8

 If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy one I wrote in the topic of Story for a Five Minute Friday post here: Five Minute Friday: Story, or as Paul Harvey would say, "the rest of the story…" 

Or here:   Hope Awaits: A Story Yet To Be Unfold