Even though we know how important our life stories are, we need a reminder, and my friend Rachel Lovingood is just the one to do that. Read her post today and watch for how you can encourage women to open up this lives to impact another generation.
I have always recognized how powerful stories can be… but like so many things… I often need to be reminded. This past weekend I experienced the power of the story yet again. My family is from the Cumberland Plateau in East Tennessee. It’s a beautiful place and every year on the second Sunday in June, we gather for a family reunion we call Decoration Day at our family cemetery. Yes-we are those people who have our own family cemetery and it is a special and fairly unique tradition. This year I was able to be there for the first time in many years and I was blessed beyond measure.
You see my dad and uncle started something a couple of years ago that is super cool. They invited everyone to come to Decoration Day a little early and to share stories of family members who have gone before us. They told about the first person buried in our cemetery (in 1842) and her husband who had donated the land for the cemetery. They also told about ancestors who had started churches and one cool story from a family member who lives elsewhere now and the pastor of her church today grew up in the church that our ancestor started 100 years ago—how cool is that??
I was so glad that my daughter was there with me and that she enjoyed herself in the face of all the “in the old days…” stories. (Since my hubby is a minister it’s hard for us to be there on Sundays because of weekend commitments.) She and I were talking about how fun it was and how cool to hear the stories of our early and not so early ancestors—we are actually related to Daniel Boone too, so be impressed But one thing we talked about was how our society has lost the story. Families used to know their stories because they told them over and over—think back about how Scriptures were passed down so long ago—through the telling of the stories. We are actually commanded to tell our children about all that God has done for us and I truly believe that it doesn’t just mean that we give our kids Bibles to read—that’s good—but we really need to TELL the stories.
There is a great temptation to abdicate the spiritual teaching role we have as parents over to the church leaders but nothing can take the place of when we as moms and dads share with our kids about where they came from, how the family got where it is today and how God’s hand can be traced throughout the generations. The church is extremely important, but let’s not forget that we have a personal responsibility to tell our children…
“that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” Psalm 78:5-7 (ESV).
That’s just one example of where we are told to tell the stories. There are many, many others.
Maybe we need to be intentional about setting aside the phones, ignoring the texts and just talking with each other a little more. There is no end to what we might learn and how we might be challenged as we spend time the old fashioned way… in conversation and storytelling.
It’s not just about your family; think about how this concept can impact the ministry you lead. Storytelling is not just for our physical families—there is power in telling the story of our church families also. Be sure that the women in your circle of influence know how you can trace God’s hand on your church and ministry. Be in the habit of sharing with people about God’s faithfulness over the years so that they can be encouraged and reminded that he is faithful and He has a plan for them too!!
Summer is here so pull up a rocking chair, spread out a blanket on the ground and start talking…and listening…”It all started when…
Rachel is the Next Generation Pastor’s wife and a women’s leader at Long Hollow Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tennessee, as well as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She co-authored the Bible study for ministers’ wives, In Our Shoes: Real Life Issues for Ministers’ Wives by Ministers’ Wives. She uses her passion for Christ, her energetic style and her sometimes crazy sense of humor to encourage and teach women to find the answers they need from the only true source of wisdom—the Bible. She is a wife (of a minister), a mom (of three fantastic kids), a friend, a writer, and a teacher. Her experiences working in youth ministry as well as women’s ministry in various churches across the country have developed in her a deep love for women and a mission to help enable them to live victoriously in spite of the struggles they face.
To Be Told by Dan B. Allender, PhD
The Power of Story by Leighton Ford
Role of a Lifetime: Your Part in God’s Story by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
This is My Story, Lisa Whelchel