Tell the Story and Turn the Page
Carol suggests that it is helpful to tell the story about our family, without keeping secrets or hiding embarrassing “skeletons in the closet.”
Dark, Dreary, Tough Stuff
Sometimes the puzzle pieces of our lives and the stories that go with them are dark, dreary, and full of tough stuff. Those are the pieces we want to push aside, get rid of, and when we find hope on the other side of the darkness, we want to pretend they didn’t exist. Those difficult, dark times are not things we usually want to talk about or discuss, let alone share with someone else.
Skeletons in the Closet
Everyone has a story including the parts of which are difficult to discuss or write about. Why drag the skeletons out of the closet? Why not pretend the difficulties never happened? Why not keep some subjects taboo and never discuss them?
Brene Brown wrote, “The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness, our whole heartedness actually depends on the integration of all our experiences including the falls.”
Unique Family Stories & Journaling
Every event in our lives, including the good, the bad and the downright ugly or awful, become pieces which make up the uniqueness of us and our family stories. To find our purpose, overcome our fears, and move ahead requires honesty not only with ourselves but with God. Only then can redemption be found and the healing begins .
We need to unpack the stories of our life, one piece at a time. Journaling is a good way to begin this process. Start with the easier moments, the happier times or events, and move to the harder, more difficult subject matter. Putting the words on paper or typing them on to the computer screen, allows a fresh look at the facts and the feelings those evoke. It gives opportunity to look back and see where God has brought us from and what He has led us through. It allows a fresh perspective about those tough times in life. Reflection shows how God used hard times to help shape the person we are today. It often becomes part of the healing process.
Tell The Story
Once we take an honest and private look at the struggles and allow God’s redemption to give us hope, we can choose how to share our stories with others. We can tell the story to close and trusted friends, share in a larger group, or write our stories for others to read.
The journal entries can become the basis for devotionals when we include the Bible verses God used to comfort, teach, and encourage us. We can write a memoir for family members or a wider audience, about times in our lives when disappointments ran deep or hurts became almost unbearable. Memoirs can be written about a devastatingly permanent event or a time we have messed up and the restoration following. We need to include the glimmers of hope and glimpses of joy we encountered as well.
Being Willing to Share
Subjects such as mental illness, depression, thoughts of suicide or abuse issues are painful to discuss. Being willing to share, helps educate others. Others who struggle with those issues can know they are not alone. We might choose to share these in a fictional setting and have our characters work through the feelings, repercussions, and discouragement these life issues entail.
Telling the painful stories is like slaying the dragons and overcoming the obstacles between once upon a time and happily ever after. Telling all of our stories allows us to also help others. Toastmaster and writer, Sheryl Roush, posted this quote on her Facebook page a number of months ago, “One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you’re going through now and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.” Sharing the tough stories can help others find redemption and God’s healing touch on their lives.
A World of Brokenness
Charles Swindoll writes,
“Because God gave you your makeup and superintended every moment of your past, including all the hardship, pain and struggles, He wants to use your words in a unique manner. No one else can speak through your vocal chords, and, equally important, no one else has your story.”
Our world is a place of brokenness where we experience difficult events, trauma and deep hurts. What lessons have we learned through our experiences? By sharing our stories including the tough times, the taboo subjects or skeletons in the closet through our writing and speaking, we can turn the page and allow God to forgive, healing to begin and others to be educated and encouraged. Sometimes the next generation needs to know they aren’t alone in facing challenges. Telling the stories with enough of the hard parts, to give them a good picture of the challenges and then sharing the journey through it to finding hope gives them hope and encouragement at the same time.
Faith in Tough Times
I always wonder how my great grandparents or even my grandparents felt during the tough times I have heard about in their lives. I know they made it through. I know they had faith at the end of it all but what about during the journey when the puzzle pieces were so difficult. How did they cope?
Telling the story helps you turn the page so healing can begin. At some point you may be able to share parts of the journey with others to encourage them. The stories are important.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope.
She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.