STORY IS THE TALE OF OUR LIVES — AND IT MATTERS.

Chronic illnessmental illness, and chronic pain​ can be isolating and lonely, but sharing our stories can open a door, extend hope, and sometimes spark a life-giving, life-changing conversation with someone else along the way.

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YOUR STORY MATTERS

Stories are vital to community. They are how we connect and learn about who we are, why we’re here, and how we belong. Story preserves history and elicits laughter. It plunges us to the depths of ourselves and sets us soaring across the skies.

Yet writing our stories can be challenging.

Where do we start? What do we write? Will anyone care? Does it even matter?

Storytelling has, in some ways, become a lost art in this sound-bite technology age — but have you ever considered that those of us with chronic illness are blessed to move more slowly, to have the gift of time to rekindle this lost art?

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, there are many ways to share our stories — in writing, through music and art, in drama and photography, by talking one-on-one, or in audio and podcast formats.

Story is where hope begins.

It is the tale of our lives, connecting us to one another and shattering isolation.

As we express the stories of our lives, our perspective shifts and we begin to see from a distance what we were unable to see in the moment.

If you’ve ever thought about sharing your story, we’d love to help. We’ve created thoughtful questions and helpful tips to get you started, but remember, these are only a place to begin.

This is your story.

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Free Printables

Story Matters

Creatively Express Your Story

We can feel isolated and powerless when living with chronic illness, but what if your story begins to bridge the gaps?  What if your story offers a glimmer of hope to someone standing at the edge of hopelessness?

The Story Told Through Our Scars

Where we’ve been fractured, we can offer empathy and compassion. Where we’ve been wounded, we can speak of hope. And where we have been ground into dust, God’s light shines bright.

Your Story Matters

We each have a story to tell. You have a story to tell and your story matters. There are many creative ways to tell your story. You can write it, draw it, sing it, paint it, dance it, act it, or build it. Every story is unique -- and every story matters.

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Allegory • Explore the difficult, painful, or vulnerable parts of your story from a safer distance and a different perspective.

Allegory

Allegory is a beautiful, artistic form of storytelling. Explore your story's difficult, painful, or vulnerable parts from a safer distance and a different perspective.

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Poetry Invites us to Notice and Explore

Poetry

MINISTRY OF VERSE

Poetry invites us to notice and explore our world. We might echo the symptoms, confusion, loss, grief, and uncertainty of chronic pain and illness. We could collect and delight in special moments and small victories.  Perhaps we will discover God’s still small voice in brand new ways.

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Metaphor • A Bridge Between Pain & Understanding

Metaphor • A Bridge Between Pain and Understanding

Describing pain to someone who hasn’t experienced it is often challenging. Using metaphors can bridge the chasm, reframe our thoughts, and invite deeper understanding.

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BLOG POSTS

Keep Listening

Life can get overfilled so easily with the voices and concerns of others. I maintained my regular morning quiet times but sensed a new distance from the Lord. I will seek. I will wait. I will listen still – but speak, Lord.

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Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me."

A Church for Broken People

We sometimes build a narrative of having to be useful to God. Oh, how the “God-using” language can exacerbate the uneasiness deep within us! The problem is that we stay bowed under this load, even in places where we should be free to express the truth.

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"Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor." (1 Corinthians 12:22-23)
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BOOKS We Love • Story Matters

Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith

Michelle DeRusha

Throughout history, countless women have boldly stepped out in faith and courage, leaving their indelible mark on those around them and on the kingdom of God. In lively prose Michelle DeRusha tells their stories, bringing into focus fifty incredible heroines of the faith.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

Oh God, I’m Dying!: How God Redeems Pain for Our Good and His Glory

Terry Powell and Mark Smith

Mark Smith’s story vividly illustrates the debilitating pain and the ensuing despondency stemming from a near-fatal auto crash. Each chapter brims with slice-of-life anecdotes that show his experiences and God’s sustaining grace. Discover how Mark’s faith in Christ was tested and ultimately deepened. This book is for anyone who experiences chronic physical pain or illness, illustrating how God redeems pain for the good of His people and for His glory.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

Living Sacrifice

Helen Roseveare

What place does ‘sacrifice’ have in the modern world? The Bible says it is central – and that sacrifice is not only a vital key to the future, it is the essence of a Christian’s life, today. Dr. Helen Roseveare skillfully weaves stories of sacrifice together with Christian teaching on the subject to show you how sacrifice is the key to joy.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You

Shannan Martin

For Christ-followers living in an increasingly complicated world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to live a life of intention and meaning. Where do we even begin? Discover a surprisingly simple answer: uncover the hidden corners of our cities and neighborhoods and invest deeply in the lives of people around us.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons

Christie Purifoy

Christie slowly unveils the small trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst–from summer’s intense heat and autumn’s glorious canopy through winter’s still whispers and spring’s gentle mercies. Through stories of planting and preserving, of opening the gates wide to neighbors, and of learning to speak the language of a place, Christie invites readers into the joy of small beginnings and the knowledge that the kingdom of God is with us here and now.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn’t Give You What You Want

Ann Swindell

What if God wants you to wait?Most of us know what it’s like to wait for God to change our circumstances. But, whether we’re waiting for physical healing, emotional breakthrough, or better relationships, waiting is something we usually try to avoid. Why? Because waiting is painful and hard.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

To Be Told: God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future

Dan B. Allender

Would you willingly overlook clear direction from God that speaks directly to you and where you are in life right now? God’s guidance is near at hand. He is not only your Authority, he is also your Author. As God writes the stories of your life, he uses your past to open up your future. It is your privilege to listen to your own story so you can live boldly for the sake of the Greatest Story.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life

Michele Cushatt

Follow a quest to make peace with a complicated life. It is an honest confession of a diagnosis of cancer and the joys and disappointments of motherhood and marriage, ripe with regret over what is and, yet, still hopeful for what could be. Follow a roller coaster two-year journey through the unexpectedness of life with enough humor to ease the rawness of the story.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption

Vaneetha Rendall Risner

The astonishing, Job-like story of how an existence filled with loss, suffering, questioning, and anger became a life filled with shocking and incomprehensible peace and joy. Vaneetha contracted polio as an infant, was misdiagnosed, and lived with widespread paralysis. She lived in and out of the hospital for ten years. When she became a Christian, though, she thought things would get easier, and they did: carefree college days, a dream job in Boston, and an MBA from Stanford where she met and married a classmate.

But life unraveled. Again.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

When God Doesn't Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can't Live Without

Laura Story

Laura’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The fairy-tale life Laura had dreamed of was no longer possible. Yet in struggling with God about how to live with broken dreams, Laura has found joy and a deeper intimacy with Jesus. She examines the brokenness of some of the heroes of our faith, and shows how God was able to use them in extraordinary ways, not because of their faith, but because of the His faithfulness.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

You Gotta Keep Dancin': In the Midst of Life's Hurts, You Can Choose Joy!

Tim Hansel

Life can be tough. Stress, disappointment, heartache, and hurt are all part of the human condition. While pain is unavoidable, misery is optional! No matter what your circumstances, you can choose to be joyful. In Hansel’s powerful account of God’s working in one man’s physical and emotional suffering, he and we discover the real meaning of joy.

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Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered

Your Story Matters: Finding, Writing, and Living the Truth of Your Life

Leslie Leyland Fields

Your story is bigger than you know. Discover a dynamic and spiritually formative process for understanding and redeeming the past in order to live well in the present and into the future. Each one of us has a story, and understanding God’s work in our stories is a vital part of our faith.

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