October 17, 2022
The Power of Sharing Our Messy Stories
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"We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done." Psalm 78:4 (NIV)
"Tell us a story, Mommy!" My children bounce on the mattress, their shining faces matching their singsong voices.
"Which one?" I ask, unable to hide the smile tugging at my lips.
What follows is a jumble of animated requests:
"The time you were looking for mushrooms and got lost in the woods!"
"The time you hid in the backyard and ate all the canned whipped cream!"
"The time you met Daddy at summer camp and he chased you, but you thought he had cooties!"
So many stories. Such fond memories. And I love sharing them with my kids, even if most of the stories involve me getting into some kind of trouble. Because what kid doesn't enjoy hearing how her parents got into a scrape when they were young, just like her?
But lately, I've been weaving a different kind of story into our bedtime routine.
"... Have I told you the story of how I met Jesus in the back of my parents' Subaru one cold autumn night?"
"... Want to hear how God miraculously provided exactly how much money I needed for school?"
"... Did I ever tell you how I was almost separated from my mom at birth, but God protected us both?"
These are more than bedtime stories, more than funny anecdotes of mom getting into trouble. These are stories that showcase God's glory in our messy, human need. But we sometimes convince ourselves to leave them untold, and we hide a blazing light under a flimsy bushel. (Matthew 5:14-16)
When my children were babies, I didn't feel the urge to tell them these God-sized stories because I didn't think they'd grasp the miracle in the mundane. But as they grow, I'm aware of just how quickly time passes and just how few storytelling evenings we still have together.
I still don’t do it perfectly, but there's an urgency now, a passion to make sure I pass on these stories to my children so they know the God of Joseph, David and Esther is just as alive and active in our lives today.
You see, we all suffer from soul amnesia, forgetting who God is and what He's done from one day to the next and from one generation to the next. God knows this human tendency. That’s why He commanded His people, starting in ancient Israel, not just to teach their children His laws but also to tell their God-stories - true tales of the dangerous exodus out of Egypt; the miraculous Red Sea crossing at night; the unexplainable manna and quail in the wilderness; and many more stories of the God who sees, who hears and who provides for His people.
In fact, the Israelites chronicled this commitment in one of their worship songs:
"We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done." (Psalm 78:4)
We live in a story-driven world, and it's not just children who want to hear stories - it's all of us, co-workers, neighbors, roommates. Most everyone we meet is immediately hooked by the words "Want to hear a great story?"
And these stories are not just from the past: We're living God-sized stories every day, if only we open our eyes to see Him working in our lives. Because the One who writes our stories still holds the pen in His hands, and He's not finished with us yet.
So ... what's your story?
Master Story-Weaver, thank You for inviting us into Your Big Story. Even when we're living through a painful chapter or feel worried about what might happen next, You're still in control. So we trust You with our stories. Teach us how to share Your work in our lives with the next generation too. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
When you've experienced something devastating, it's easy to question if you're on your way to healing: Is it normal to feel this way? How do I stop hurting? Is this going to hurt forever? Is it really possible to move forward after we've experienced significant trauma? Catch up on our episodes of Therapy & Theology on YouTube. With theological research and therapeutic insight, Lysa TerKeurst, Dr. Joel Muddamalle and licensed counselor Jim Cress will help you understand the stages of trauma so you can process your pain in a healthy way and move toward healing today. Click here to watch now!
Do our children know our stories with Jesus? Imagine if the next generation grew up in awe and wonder of who Jesus is - not just as He walked the earth 2,000 years ago but as He lives, reigns and invites us to experience Him today too! Unwrapping the Names of Jesus for Kids is the beautifully illustrated story of Jesus through the eyes of a little girl who followed Him. Foster a heart of adoration in the next generation with this gorgeous and theologically rich story of our Good Shepherd, the Light of the World, King of kings and more!
Receive more encouraging messages from Asheritah when you join her free, weekly Enjoying Jesus email devotional here. And learn how to share your Jesus-story with the children in your life when you download your free Family Discussion Guide at unwrappingthenames.com.
We’d also love to meet you and hear your story in our Proverbs 31 devotions community group on Facebook!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Isaiah 38:19, "The living, only the living can thank you, as I do today; a father will make your faithfulness known to children." (CSB)
What's one story in your life that tells of God's power, protection or provision? Who might need to hear that story today?
We'd love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2022 by Asheritah Ciuciu. All rights reserved.