Thursday, June 29, 2023

We Need Each Others' Stories


I am a talker, and I love talking to people and sharing our stories. The funny stories are the easiest to share, but I also love to just learn about other people's lives, families, and experiences. 

I have three sisters in my family and have always looked to my older sisters for guidance when starting a new chapter of life. They went to middle school and high school before I did. They taught me how to study for tests and showed me what to wear or not wear. They definitely let me know when something I was doing was not cool (which was probably a lot). I gained sisters-in-law when I got married, adding to my village. My sisters had my niece and nephew before I had my first child. I learned a lot from them because they had to figure things out before I did. They made it easier for me when it was my time. I remember reading the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book when I was pregnant, but I don’t remember having time to read once my child was born - I just listened to people’s stories of “Here’s what I did, I don’t recommend it” or “Here’s what I did, it worked for me!” This was helpful for simple things like which baby gear items are the best and which baby gear items do you not really need, and their stories helped me with much more stressful things too. Swapping stories with my sisters, my other family members, and friends was and continues to be something I rely on, not just for parenting, but for all of life. 

Stories become extra helpful during hard or uncertain times. When there is illness or relationship problems or job loss or the death of a loved one, we can use stories to help each other. When we are the ones going through difficult times, we grow and we learn. That part is not fun, but it's important. The rewarding part comes later - when we can use what we've learned to help someone else who might be going through something similar or can benefit from what we've learned. This is one of the ways that God can take anything and use it for good (as it says in Romans 8:28). I had been taught this - and guess what - it's true! I have seen it so many times and I know I can trust him to keep doing this moving forward. One of the ways he does that is when he connects us with others, sometimes in ways that seem like a coincidence (it's not), so that we can share our stories with them and provide encouragement right when they need it most. 

Almost ten years ago, my husband and I lost our infant son Zachary. I love sharing his story. (What mom doesn't love talking about their kids?) Hearing the stories of others who lost infants was so helpful to me at that time as I tried to figure out how to handle things. It is also how we know we are not alone. Last fall, 2022, God started showing me in various ways that it was time for me to go beyond talking about Zachary and write a book. (What?! Okay, Lord....) I am so grateful for how God cared for us during that time.We even experienced miracles! He taught me SO much and I can’t wait to share it. He taught me that he KNOWS us personally and LOVES us all more than we know, and his timing is always perfect. There is so much more. Therefore, I am happy to write this book, because if I can help even one person have a little extra amount of hope or encouragement, then it is worth it. 

I am also wondering if you are sharing your stories with others. Let's be vulnerable with each other and make life easier for someone else. Life is hard enough as it is. As I am learning from Dr. Nicolya Williams, someone's breakthrough might be waiting on you to share your story. (Maybe you are even one of the 81% of people who want to write a book. Join me in being the 1% of people who do! We can figure this out together!) Your story doesn’t have to even be similar to someone else’s in order to be helpful. They can learn from your perseverance. They can learn from your courage. They can learn from your vulnerability and honesty. We are meant to help each other, so let’s talk. 

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