Practicing Parents

To Live a Story Worth Telling

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I was busy in the kitchen making our three-year-old daughter’s lunch. She was sitting at our kitchen island, humming and swinging her legs as they dangled down from her stool as she looked out the sliding glass door to our sunny backyard. Still swinging her legs, she asked,

“Mom? Is somebody reading a story about us right now?”

I paused. “What was that, sweets?”

“Is somebody reading a story about us?”

What was she asking? Was she wondering if we were somehow living out a story? For my three-year-old, it was probably more literal: like the people in the books we read together, she was wondering if we, too, were in someone’s book. A simple question with a seemingly simple answer; “No, honey, no one is reading a story about us right now.”

We continued with lunch, but my daughter’s inquiry gnawed at me. Why? It was a simple question, but it was also a profound thought, because for us as Jesus-followers there is a Story. Not only are we part of a story, we are part of the story. We have the opportunity to let our lives continue to tell the Story of God’s redemptive work in our world, the blossoming and unfolding of the Gospel in our homes, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces – as well as in the places of deep need and aching in our communities both near and global. We are a part of the story of the coming of God’s Kingdom.

Yes, sweetheart, there is a story about us, too.

Yet the thought still gnaws at me, because the unspoken questions inherent in the asking are, What would someone find if they read my life right now? What story is my life telling?

Or to ask it at another angle: how is my family contributing to the story of God?

Does that question gnaw at you? I certainly find myself in a season where my family’s contributions to the great narrative of God feel small.

Yet when it comes to the Kingdom of God, there are no small things. How we live with the small things that are entrusted to us is how God grows us into the bigger things, forming us and moving us into the flow of His work, His story. In Matthew 25:23, after the Master had entrusted bags of gold to three servants, to two of them who have been faithful with the smaller amount he says, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” The servants have done small things, but they share in the master’s larger story.

The gospel is Good News, thus, by definition, the Gospel does not gnaw at us to bring about guilt or shame. But the gospel does gnaw at us to draw us into the Kingdom of God, to align us with God’s purposes here in our neighborhoods, and to live into the best life possible as we follow Jesus with our lives. And the Gospel draws us into the Story of God; the Story we can tell together is formed through the small, intentional ways in which we respond to God’s nudges to make a difference in His name, for His sake, the sake of ourselves and our world.

In this chaotic season of life of working and having a young child, what are the small things that have been entrusted to me? How am I being invited to immerse myself in the Story of God?

This does not mean I need to pack my days with more activities. But it does mean that God’s Story is unfolding in my life and in our world. It means that these things we already do can be woven into God’s story. And so the question we must ask ourselves is this: where are the natural, everyday invitations to step in and be immersed in the flow of God’s Kingdom, in this current season of my life? How can the things I do be part of the Story of God?

I think of the examples I see where people work to weave their lives and every day activities into the Story of God. My parents have carried in the mail and kept tabs on the dear elderly couple next door to them for the last twelve years. They are living the Story. It’s a small thing, a daily thing. And with every story, it is a changing story. Dear Art died this past year, and Ginny has moved to a care home. My parents have the chance to look for fresh ways to tell God’s Story – how, I wonder, will their story shift into a new chapter?

For our little family of three, we do see opportunities to weave ourselves into God’s Story arising with the families our three-year-old daughter brings us in contact with – through her school, her play group, her “ballet” class. Reaching out in friendship, serving where we can, doing the little things we that show God’s love, joy, and hope. Small things – yet small things that are not small, for they share in the telling of God’s Story.

Where, in your every day lives might God use you to tell God’s Story?

A story of lending a hand. A story of loving in difficult circumstances. Of cooking a meal as a family for someone else. Of giving of yourself and beyond yourself. A story of giving a ride to someone or watching the kids of a friend or neighbor. Of helping someone on your street, or offering your home, money, car, resources for someone who may be in a moment of great need. A story of living the blessing you have been given. Stories, all of them, of living God’s love for others.

Are you living a story worth telling? Are you living in God’s Story? Yes, yes you are – so what will you do about it today?

Loving God, thank you that the opportunities are innumerable and the invitation always open to step into your Story. Today, help me to see one of those opportunities and step out in faith and cloaked in grace to live a Story worth telling. In Jesus’ name we pray and in his footsteps we seek to follow.

* * * * *

Pastor Sara Wolbrecht is head of Care Ministry at a Lutheran church in the suburbs of San Francisco’s Bay Area, married to a musician, and mother to a 3yo daughter with another child due Easter Sunday 2014.

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3 thoughts on “To Live a Story Worth Telling

  1. Very insightful both from your daughter and from you! As a child I always pictured us as puppets telling a story of our lives and then in later years as our lives on film. Either way would we want people to see it? Thanks for the reminder that the little things do matter!

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