What's that saying, "to those who have been given much, much is expected?" Or something along those lines. Story is the same way. If I can substitute it, "to those who have been given a story...then share it." When I was pregnant with my oldest, I began to bleed while she was 7 weeks in the womb. Ben was out of town and I was a mess. My most wonderful boss & friend, Carol, and her husband John were persistent on having me stay the night at their house to ease my mind & heart. It was just before that time, I began asking God what we should name our child. My worries were eased as I heard "joy amidst the trial" (to which we did receive joy 8 months later) and knew this child would bring joy.
We ended up having a list of 10 boy names & 10 girl names, which we decided we would narrow down for a first & middle. Each name having a good, solid meaning. At the time of my pregnancy (and prior), I was known by many of the children at Hillcrest Kids Early Learning as the storyteller. I had the privilege of telling them God's story everyday in the summer--what a treat. So, while Ben and I were looking at our top 10 girl's list, we had decided upon 'Veronica,' meaning true image of Christ. We began looking at the list for middle names; but, I went against the "rule" and chose a name not on the list. I suggested 'Storey.' Ben wasn't sold at first.
Storey means "strong & powerful." Such a vivid & beautiful depiction of the word. I told him that if this was a girl inside, then she's apart of God's story, which is strong & powerful. Yet, she would have her own story to tell and encourage others in; as well as, help others find their story. It was about two weeks later that Ben & I were walking home from an evening church service where he said, "You know, I've decided I like the name Storey for a middle name; because, this child will be apart of God's story and it's like we're saying in giving her this name--'here's your story and be sure to help others find theirs too--to find their story intermingled with God's story.'" I turned and smiled. He must have forgotten that I said about the same thing.
What about your Story:
Some of us have wretched stories, fantastic stories, dark stories and redeemed stories. But whatever story you have, it's yours and it was given to you for a purpose. Part of my story includes family dysfunction, brokenness and a bit more hardship than others. But the exciting notion is that it's mine, and I get to choose what I do with it. Some choose to continue living a wretched, dark story, while others choose to embrace a redemption lost story. Mine, well, I'm constantly choosing to see the bad for what it's worth and allow Jesus to come into the dark parts. Because who wants to listen to a story without hope? I'm thankful for how hard life has been in my formative years, because it wouldn't have made me who I am now.
Tonight I get to share a little snippet of my story with people in my church family, which I hope to share a bit later with you. What I do know is your past is history, your future is mysterious and your present is worth living & telling about now. I want to leave you with a comment I received in the summer from Ashley, who tells a bit of her story. How her story formed in her a heart of hospitality & a life of evangitality:
I think my heart for hospitality began to grow at a very young age. Hospitality is a strong characteristic of my mother. And I always remember having people over or bringing food/hospitality to people. I LOVED to help my mom with cooking, baking, making cards and other trinkets, whatever it may be. When I was in middle school however, my dad left our family and not only that, but left us in a great deal of poverty. Suddenly, the roles were reversed. Where we were once the ones who were able to bless, we were in great need of support to make it through the day. I don’t know that there is any one specific example that I can point out from this time, but I do remember day after day feeling overwhelmingly blessed and grateful for the hospitality of others. Meals, bags of groceries, gift certificates to still do things as a family, people who fixed our car, helped mow the lawn, etc. And it wasn’t just for a while, it went on throughout the years, beyond what we ever could have fathomed – the Lord was gracious and looking out for us through the expression of hospitality from others. Although this time was a painful road for all of us, I still am able to look back on the last of my growing up years with joy in God’s faithfulness brought to us by hospitality. These years of hospitality have only enriched my heart and desire to serve and bring God’s joy and faithfulness to others as well.