Guest Post at Story Matters

The Story Behind the Story ~ by Deanna Nowadnick

Story matters. All of our stories! When I wrote my first book, Fruit of My Spirit, I’d just wanted my boys to know how I met their father. My adult sons knew there was more to the story; they knew I hadn’t been studying in the library that fateful night. Before our discussion digressed into too many tee-hee moments, I began writing. I wanted our family’s story to be part of a bigger story. I wanted our family’s story to be shaped by God’s love and faithfulness, not the misplaced priorities of a young eighteen-year old.

One very short story on love became two stories, a second one about joy. Then came a story on peace. Soon a fruitful theme developed and I was exclaiming to anyone within earshot, “I wrote a book!”

I never expected to write a book. My mom had asked me to write a book, but at the time my boys were little and I couldn’t get a grocery list put together. Later when the boys were in high school, Mom asked me to write a book, but I deferred, “Writers write books.” After Mom’s death, Dad reminded me that Mom had wanted me to write a book. With no more excuses and time to reflect, I wrote a book. And then I wrote a second book.

At an early signing for that first book, a church friend approached me and with a shy smile, her eye sparkling, Irene said, “I have a story to tell…” She went on to talk about her family who emigrated from Norway, first to Canada and then to the United States. Her father died just after their arrival. With five children in tow, the youngest only a year old, her mother embraced a new life in the land of promised opportunity. Irene said her own father had been their Moses, leading them from the old country to the new. She added that her mother had been their Joshua. Then she looked away and said, “I could never write a book.”

Perhaps not, but still her story matters. Your story matters. Our stories don’t have to be found somewhere between Genesis and Revelation to matter. They don’t have to appear on Amazon’s best-seller list to count. Our stories are more important than that, because they’re chapters in God’s great story. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar, said, “The genius of the biblical story is that, instead of simply giving us ‘seven habits for highly effective people,’ it gives us permission and even direction to take conscious ownership of our own story at every level, every part of life and experience. God will use all of this material, even the negative parts, to bring life and love.”

You and I may be traveling different roads, but we’re traveling with God’s divine direction, leading us where we’ve chose to go and also where we haven’t. Now that’s a story that matters!