A story locked deep in a little girl’s heart for eighteen years; only shared with those who are the closest to her. Then one summer day, as a teenager, the lock is finally unlocked and her story is finally unleashed into the world. As an adult, she now looks back and wishes she would have unlocked that lock much sooner than she did. But now she cannot not share her story because it has shaped her into who she is.
A brave woman who now shares her story through the words of her self-published book. A brave woman who can’t help but stand up for and advocate for those who daily live with a mental illness. A brave woman who captures her story in words spoken aloud or typed out onto a keyboard. A brave woman who shares her story in hopes that it will help someone else.
Author Brene Brown says, “The bravest thing you’ll ever do is tell your story.” A truth that we all need to hear because the truth is we are all theologians. We are all holy story sharers. Because in sharing our stories, the Word is made flesh again and again and again through our own intertwined stories.
It saddens me that it took me so long to unlock the story that I was holding close to my chest and deep in my heart. Yet in opening up that story, I have seen the beautiful ways that God has taken my brokenness and turned it into something magnificent. And in doing so, my story has been weaved together with other beloved children of God who also understand what it is like to live with a mental illness or live as a daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson, etc of someone who daily lives with a mental illness.
In sharing our holy stories shaped by a God who loves each and every one of us (no exception!), we see the reality of who we are as beloved children of God. We see each other as God’s children “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Too often, it seems to me that we get caught up in seeing each other’s differences and our own privileges that we forget that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ knit together by Christ.
What would happen if we opened our eyes to see and our ears to hear ALL those around us? Would we not realize and see each other as gifts in this world? I believe we would. Because when I have sat down and opened my ears to holy listening, I have seen and heard the beautiful magnificent gifts of brothers and sisters in Christ that God has brought into my life.
“When we tell our stories in a safe community, all those things that separate us go away.”–Sarah Markley
God calls us to be theologians; to be holy story sharers; holy story sharers who embody the Word made flesh when we share our own stories of brokenness and resurrection hope in this world. Holy story sharers who understand that our own stories can (and DO) proclaim resurrection hope! Holy story sharers who aren’t overcome by fear but rather by hope and cannot help but share their stories in this broken messed up world.
Together, as holy story sharers, the Word is made flesh as our God of both life and death redeems each of us through our own stories of brokenness. “Behold I make all things new!”