My story and the greater story

Story: Whitney Palmeter

As a missional community, we have been taking time each night to gather together and pray, talk about the day, speak into each others’ lives, and share our stories.

There is something special about sharing your life story with other people. For me, it was really hard at first. I think the first time I ever shared my story, from beginning to present, was last summer in Portland. Now, this summer, I have shared it three different times.

I think that there is a lot of good in learning how to articulate your story well, and share that with others. There is a certain level of vulnerability and openness that I had to come to, which can sometimes be difficult for me.

Growing up, I always wanted to be an author and a teacher. While I ditched the teacher dream after high school, somehow the love to write has always stuck with me. I have journals and journals from my childhood of silly stories that I made up, records of vacations I took, experiences from my life, and random notes that I took at church or other places. Being a quiet, reserved person, writing was always just the easiest way for me to express myself. Now, I wouldn’t say I want to be an author as much as a writer and storyteller. It’s really cool how journalism fits into that, and it makes me excited to pursue telling stories as a career. I think that in a lot of ways, God has re-directed my love of writing away from myself and toward others, and ultimately himself.

In sharing my story, it brings me to a greater realization of God’s story. He entered my life, changed my trajectory, and ultimately invited me into his grander story. He didn’t leave me where I was, and he promises to walk alongside me faithfully for the rest of my life.

“if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.”

1 Timothy 2:13

This morning, I was reading in John 10. The story that Jesus shares here is so comforting, a great resting place for my soul.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

As a follower of Jesus, I can remain confident that when I am his, nothing will ever change that. My identity is grounded. I think that when we share our stories, we can see that even more clearly. Our stories show the power of the Gospel, but they also show God’s relentless pursuit of his beloved children. And that is something always worth celebrating.

It is such a beautiful thing to be a part of the great redemptive story of God. When I started following him, it was a gradual, step-by-step process. When he calls us, he asks us to abandon our own mission and join his mission. It took me a long time to learn this, and I still am learning. I fail many times. I have a lot of happy times and a lot of sad times. But, he had to bring me to all those various points of my life to get me to where I am today.

The greatest thing about being a part of God’s story is this: my story is no longer about me. I am not the center, the hero, or the savior. Jesus is. And, because the gospel has intersected my story, my story is meant for others as well. Jesus can be uniquely displayed through his children’s stories. This is all a total result of grace.

After we each share our stories in our missional community, we take time to speak the gospel back to each other. We point out where we really saw God at work, we share Scripture that comes to mind, or speak words of encouragment to each other. So, in sharing stories, I have also learned that there is great importance in truly listening to others’ stories, and speaking the gospel back into those. Sometimes, other people are able to point out things we may never see ourselves.

There is so much good in remembering. I have been reading a lot of Psalms over the past month and the word “remember” consistently comes up in relation to the Lord and what he does. Remembering what God has already done in me, and allowing that to impact my view of him today, gives me great comfort when looking forward. It is good to remember the goodness of the Lord.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Phillipians 1:6

(All photo by Whitney Palmeter)

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