The Power of Story

I recently discovered something I knew…but had forgotten…

Stories are Powerful

Stories can unite or divide.
Stories can inspire people to break out of the ordinary and to become extraordinary.
Stories can move us from indifference to empathy and care.

In the beginning of our lives in a new country, we can be indifferent.  Indifference is often a shield we use to help adjust…a cocoon until we feel safe enough to fly in our new environment.  We can set up our houses, find the local markets, and make assumptions behind the shelter of indifference.

But then…we get to know someone.  We hear their story and see their heart.  And then that one person becomes two, and two becomes four, and four becomes eight.  We then walk to the market and begin to see neighbors with stories to be told instead of faceless entities.  We cease to be “them” and “us.”  We become “we.”  Their stories draw us in and capture our hearts – daring us to forever redefine the word “home.”

But, we still so often struggle with insignificance and isolation.  Our story seems insignificant, often painful, and we don’t see how it can be worth reading.  We forget that there is a loving Author who knows not only the end of our story but every word from beginning to end.

We need to hear the stories of women who walk the same road we do.  Women who are perhaps farther along in the novel of their life.  Women who have struggled through the literal “valleys of the shadow of death” and marched to the top of their mountains of triumph.  We need to laugh with those who have had chapters of comedy.  We can empathize with those who are living a documentary when all they want to live is a romance.

Until we see, hear, and know their stories, we can’t see how our story could possibly be significant.  Together, we see that our stories weave together in a novel that started at the beginning of time.

And when we see the collective story – then we remember the greatest story of all time.

“The Word became flesh and blood,

and moved into the neighborhood.”

John 1:14 (The Message)

Photo Credit:  nkzs via Freepik

How has the power of Story affected your life?

16 Comments

  1. Holly December 1, 2013

    Yes. I’ve never felt the need to share my story and be understood so much as now. Our valleys can be so isolating, because we don’t see others in the valley. To be able to share our struggles, whether they be emotional, physical, spiritual or relational, validates our journey. Validation of our journey reminds us that there is a purpose and an end. If there is a valley, there must be at least a hill, if not a mountain. And some day, even if it is a long trek, we will get to the top.

    Also, these storytellings remind us that beauty is found not just on the mountain top. There is beauty in all types of terrain, if only we look for it. <3

    1. Lizzie Talcott December 1, 2013

      You are right – I think we so often forget that there is more than the valley when we are in the valley. That journey to the mountain top is often so long – and it truly helps to have those around us to share the struggles with.

    2. Danielle Wheeler December 2, 2013

      “Beauty is found not just in the mountain top.” So true. Hope you’ve found validation in your journey here at VA as you walk through your valley, Holly. Glad you are here.

    3. Amy Young December 2, 2013

      Holly, I love seeing your family (and YOU) — especially at your brother’s grave site. Will keep remembering you in the ebbs and flows of your story. Funny how the ocean can either ebb or flow, but we can (at times) do both!

    4. Morielle December 3, 2013

      Dear Holly, you and your family so beautiful, and my heart breaks every time I read about your loss and recent hardship. I’m still praying for you.

    5. Holly December 3, 2013

      Thank you all for your love and encouragement. Truly my family is my sun in the storm, the rain in the desert and the cozy fire in the cold.

  2. Jennifer December 1, 2013

    For someone to actually care enough to listen to some of our story can be a very powerful thing. As can people simply not wanting to listen. When there are challenges in the story, or when the story in the present is challenging it can be hard to find the words to speak or to find someone who is prepared to listen. I know I need to begin but it is not easy.

    1. Lizzie Talcott December 2, 2013

      Jennifer – that is such a great reminder. While it is often so hard for us to share our stories, we need to remember as listeners that we are being handed something very valuable and must honor others’ stories with respect, love and care.

    2. Amy Young December 2, 2013

      Last fall I helped lead some training for some member care folks and did a whole session on the importance (and healing power) of listening. I think the hard part for many of us, is that we want to DO something to help and listening doesn’t FEEL like enough. But it often is!!

      1. Jennifer December 3, 2013

        Amy, I am becoming more and more convinced that simply listening can sometimes be the most powerful gift that you can give someone, and refusing to listen to their story, to what they need to say, can make a difficult time, all the more challenging.

    3. Morielle December 2, 2013

      Dear Jennifer, I have been praying for you and will keep praying for God to help you find the words and to send you the person or people to listen. Thank you so much for encouraging me to bare my soul to others about things I find it hard to talk about as well.

      1. Jennifer December 3, 2013

        Thank you for praying. I think I am both becoming more prepared to speak… and beginning to believe that sometime soon someone who will listen will be here, rather than tell me I cannot speak to them. It is teaching me a lot about how important it sometimes is simply to be prepared to just listen to someone’s story.

  3. Amy Young December 2, 2013

    Lizzie, I love a good story! And there in lies the problem … out of fear, comparison, other pitfalls, I worry my story won’t hold up and that y’all will see through the veneer to the wizard (me) behind the curtain.

    Still, it’s worth the risk. And so I do … hello all, it’s just me with the story of my life 🙂

    1. Lizzie Talcott December 2, 2013

      I’m right there with you Amy! I think I sometimes only tell the funny stories and leave out the rest hoping people won’t notice that I’m still behind my guard…hiding.

    2. Morielle December 3, 2013

      So totally can relate over here. Heard this great talk the other day about how we should never EVER forget that the stories of how God is working in our lives are all incredible stories about God’s grace, and love, and power. They’re not really about us, or by us. How comforting to know that when I speak or write, it’s not about me or by my own power.

      1. Lizzie Talcott December 5, 2013

        It always bring the song to my mind – “This is my story this is my song! Praising my Savior all the day long!”

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