Do you ever wonder how you can know for certain you’re on the path The Lord intends for you when every step forward seems painfully slow? For me, it always happens in one of two ways: First, the positive impact of my actions is clearly and immediately visible. Then, sometimes God will present me with an opportunity I’ve dreamed of, but honestly never imagined feasible. Even though I’m actually writing this more than two weeks later, I back dated this post to remind myself of the day God gave me both. It always amazes me to see the way He weaves situations together to touch others. When I spoke at Dr. Trent’s Stronger marriage and family conference back in May, I briefly touched on how storytelling can help in building relationships and promote healing from hardships. Dr. Trent really liked the concept and said he’d like to explore it further at some point.
So, I waited…Watching to see what God was going to do with that.
A few months later, he approached me with an idea at Kari’s (his daughter and my close friend from high school) wedding reception. “How would you feel about speaking to one of my classes at Moody this spring? I want to expand on the idea of storytelling with my graduate students.”
“Yes! I’d be honored,” I replied. But, then I had an internal freak-out. Wow! This is going to be awesome! Wait… Me? Speak at Moody Bible Institute??!!! Am I qualified for that? (Moody is one of the most prestigious seminaries/Christian colleges in the world)
God reminded me I’d asked Him to use my story. He wouldn’t give me an opportunity like this if I wasn’t ready for it. He was right, of course.
The Class was called Contemporary Issues in Marriage and Family. The campus is in Chicago, but I was able to speak remotely via Zoom Video Conferencing. Dr. Trent really just wanted me to share a little of my story, the inspiration behind The Little Butterfly Girl and how I’ve used “narrative” on my journey. He was trying to drive home the point that sharing one’s experiences with others will help reveal the purpose of their hardships. I gave the class a couple creative mind map worksheets and seven questions that every personal narrative story should answer:
- Who are the key people in your story?
- What is the main trauma or struggle you’re facing?
- When did it start?
- What was your turning point or the thing that made you seek help?
- Where are you now?
- Why did you decide to share your story?
- What is your message or how do you want to encourage others through your story?
The class was extremely receptive and asked really thoughtful questions. It was so rewarding! And as an added blessing a few days later, Dr. Trent invited five of the students from that class to come on Moody Radio’s Chris Fabry Live with him and discuss the “issues” that made the biggest difference to them. John, the only guy in the group, picked the importance of story as his takeaway! My heart is bursting! You can listen to the radio segment here. I’m humbled, thankful and incredibly blessed!
“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:10 NLT