John came home from his preschool Sunday School class last week with the following memory verse:
“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”
Trying to clean out the car, I almost tossed the verse in the trash with the rest of the junk that had accumulated in my minivan throughout the previous week. But as I took a second glance, the verse came alive.
Stories are immensely powerful. Furthermore, we each have a story to share; we each know people who need to hear them. Stories connect us, making our differences fade, our empathy grow, and our eyes widen. Exchanging stories can give both comfort when it is most needed and also hope that new possibilities are just around the corner.
I have recently had the privilege of attending two coffee gatherings with other parents from John’s new school. And what have we done? We have gabbed and gabbed, sharing our stories and those of our children. Yes, some useful info on doctors, therapists, or resource groups was traded, but what we really came away with were heart-felt stories of love, fears, devotion, and exhaustion. Knowing we are not alone as parents of children with special needs… Knowing our love and strength for our children will continue to carry us… Feeling united in the struggles but also fortified in the gifts this life brings. We came together as strangers but left with a body of support, an email address for those questions that keep you up at night, a friendly face to recognize in carpool line.
My friends, Jay and Katherine Wolf, put it this way on their blog:
“All of us who have journeyed the road of suffering, are forever, inextricably connected through our pain. In a strange way, the commiseration of pain gives us a gift, one that is desperately sought after by all human beings—the gift of being known by another person. When you go through tragedy, perhaps especially if you are younger and maybe even more if you are a person of faith, you gravitate towards others who are unwitting members of that same club. And even if you aren’t known by these friends in the more traditional sense of friendship, you are known in deeper places—in those places where hope has been deferred and the desire for healing of the soul aches within.”
Your story may be different as well as your support networks. But as God’s redeemed people, we are called to tell our stories and, more importantly, to proclaim HIS story. This is where stewardship comes in (the Wolfs also shared this concept of stewarding our stories in a recent sermon they gave). I find that as we employ our redeemed vision that the Lord enables, we begin to see our own stories through His lens, as part of the Gospel narrative of brokenness, restoration, and hope. And to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). We have been given forgiveness, healing, and hope in order to share it!
After re-reading the memory verse, I turned to John (Daniel wasn’t with me at the time) and exclaimed, “John, you have an incredible story! And you are telling your story and impacting so many for the Kingdom!”
Let’s encourage each other, God’s beloved and redeemed people, to courageously steward our stories, knowing that as we do we find we are not alone. We give and receive hope. We are deeply known while giving this same gift to others. We allow Christ to shine His light on our broken places and invite His cleansing touch. The Incarnation is real in and through each one of us. His Kingdom is advancing.
|John got glasses yesterday!! Hoping they will be a big help!|
-Please pray for John’s adjustment to his new glasses and that they will help his overall development along with his vision.
-Pray for John as he works toward sitting independently.
-We are so grateful for his new school/neurodevelopmental center and praise God for His provision! We are also thankful for all the nurturing adults (and children) God has placed in John’s life.