Recently some old friends were in town for the weekend. It was a great visit and after we had discussed all the current events and gotten caught up on family news, one of my pals mentioned that she had never heard the whole story of how my guy and I met, dated and married, and asked me to tell it. It was the night before they were leaving to return to their home state, and we were very relaxed in my living room, with both my teenaged daughters listening.
It’s a long story that includes unexpected twists and turns with a three year break up right in the middle, and our children were vaguely aware of this because we have alluded to parts and pieces through the years. But on this night I told the story, beginning to right now, warts and all. There are details within that I am not proud of; ways that I acted and reacted that are embarrassing and childish, but I know how the story ends and it’s okay to have a rough beginning or a stitched-together middle. I found myself tearing up as I described my guy choosing me all over again, because I didn’t deserve a second chance with him. Questions were asked about motives and details and I tried to answer as honestly as possible, careful to show everyone that we didn’t know much, but God certainly did.
I think it’s important to share our stories, partly because others can learn from our mistakes and experiences, but mostly because it helps us to see the hand of God in our own lives. Have you experienced this?
If you have lived in the same community for years, maybe you assume that everyone knows your story because they lived it with you. Or maybe there are pockets of guilt and shame in your past that you would rather not visit again. Or perhaps you feel like you don’t have much of a story to tell, it feels plain vanilla compared to others you’ve heard. I want to encourage you to pull together some close friends and ask them to share their stories with the group, you may need to be the brave one who goes first, and you may need to have wine available. I can attest that two things will happen: you will know your friends better, resulting in loving them more and you will find out more about yourself and the God who loves you.
This week I was reminded of the importance of sharing our lives and deepening relationships from Donald Miller’s newest book, Scary Close. I can’t recommend it enough. http://www.amazon.com/Scary-Close-Dropping-Finding-Intimacy/dp/078521318X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1426255454&sr=1-1
Love this idea: a sharing stories night. I have shared through writing and prayer groups, but would love to do this in a friend group. Superficial gets old; maybe more people crave this kind of sharing than actually let on…I certainly do, but have long felt in the minority. So I write and blog, and let people choose to read or look away, their choice.