An excerpt from my talk to Church of the Common Ground, a faith community for homeless families in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, Georgia. “Common Stories, Common Ground”
“Three things I’ve learned about the power of telling our stories:
1) The Bible encourages us to tell our stories.
Let the redeemed tell their stories (Psalm 107)… Telling stories build history, create legacies, help to explain joy and pain and suffering; they teach and demand to be remembered; they empower, they give hope; they matter, they truly matter.
2) Telling our stories empowers us, liberates us and leads us on the path to self-reflection, forgiveness, healing and pure joy.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu lists telling our stories as the first step in the path to forgiveness and as Brene Brown also proclaims, when we own and share our story, we have the power to write our ending. It takes courage yes, but we already have that deep down inside of us…being vulnerable is uncomfortable but never weak.
3) It is not enough to just tell them- align them with God’s story; tell them with hope.
As children of God, we are invited and encouraged to align our stories with God’s story which brings us closer to God, to draw strength empathy and love. And enables us to tell our story with hope, believing that when we are desperately falling and we reach the bottom, we will not crash and break into a million pieces, instead we will bounce! And we can pray like Flannery O’Connor did, “Don’t let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story.
Your stories matter…tell them.”