STORY IS THE TALE OF OUR LIVES — AND IT MATTERS.
Chronic illness, mental 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.
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.
We welcome your submissions. Click here for our guidelines.
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.
Allegory is a beautiful, artistic form of storytelling. Explore the difficult, painful, or vulnerable parts of your story from a safer distance and a different perspective.
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.
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.
People Watching in God’s Waiting Room
Can I encourage you to print out Holy Attention – People Watching? Tuck it in your pocket or purse the next time you go to an appointment. See how God can use that waiting room for some holy work – in your life and the life of others.
❄️ Snowflakes and Serving
In God’s remarkable way, each tiny flake is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. ... each one simply doing its job without concern about whether it is valuable enough, big enough, or useful enough. Snowflakes can teach us a lot about serving.
50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith
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 stemming from a near-fatal auto crash, and the initial despondency that ensued. 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, how God redeems pain for the good of His people, and for His own glory.
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.
The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You
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.
Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons
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.
Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn’t Give You What You Want
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.
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.
Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life
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.
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.
When God Doesn't Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can't Live Without
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.
You Gotta Keep Dancin': In the Midst of Life's Hurts, You Can Choose Joy!
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.
Your Story Matters: Finding, Writing, and Living the Truth of Your Life
Leslie Leyland Fields
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