Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Writing Your Story--Taryn Hutchison
Start with Journaling
Everyone has a story. Some stories may be more exciting than others; some storytellers more captivating. But all of us living in cultures other than our own have tales that will make people laugh or cry or be inspired. Every person’s story counts. In sharing The Story with others, haven’t you found that people who don’t seem very interested still want to hear your personal experiences? That’s because your life experiences matter. God authored the script of your life and He intricately weaves each thread together. You can give voice to His ways, drawing people so they will want to hear (or read) more about Him.
God did more than craft your story. In one of my favorite books, The Sacred Romance, Curtis and Eldredge write, “Our lives are not a random series of events; they tell a story that has meaning. . . . Our story is written by God who is more than the Author; He is the romantic lead in our personal dramas.” It took me 18 months to turn my personal drama into a book. But it took 15 years to live the story and 15 years to write it, every day in my journal.
For me, journaling was the way I ended each day during the decade I served in Eastern Europe. It helped me stay sane. Recapping how I saw God in the little details (and the magnificent) eased me to sleep with a grateful heart. Even on difficult days, I could see glimpses of His edges and whispers of His ways. I wanted to be able to look back and recount how He comforted me or answered prayer or touched peoples’ lives. I didn’t trust my memory, although sometimes the act of recording the details helped me recall them.
Before I moved overseas, my journaling was sporadic, tracing highlights once or twice a semester, summing up. But I knew life in Romania in 1990 would be drastically different than anything I’d ever experienced, and I wanted a fresh daily documentation. I even copied dialogue word-for-word to forever capture the voices in my memory.
I never kept a journal thinking I would publish a book. I wrote it for me.
It was my way to talk to God about my days, my love letter to Him. Years later, when I pulled out my dusty volumes to write my book, some days I could only read through a few pages because the emotions I re-lived were so raw. Often I could only cry and thank God all over again.
Isn’t that the point of journaling anyway? We’re told all throughout the Old Testament to remember and give thanks. Journaling helps us to remember. When we look back, we see God’s fingerprints on our lives and we can’t help but be thankful. And that pleases God.
What About You?
Share your journaling experiences with us. How do you do it? Notebook and pen, laptop, video camera? Where? Quiet corner of your flat, noisy cafe, train or plane? (I must retreat with a blank book and mug of coffee to someplace quiet, with a view of a tree or a branch or something pretty.) How often? What themes have emerged? What have you learned from the experience?
Write in your journal every day this week - whether it’s the first time or your habit is well-formed, whether you write a little or a lot. Then tell us how it goes.
Posted by Women of the Harvest Blogs at 12:00 AM