Can you think of a story that has been told in your family over and over? One story from my family that I love is a story from 1959 that my dad has told me a few times. And 2 years ago, I was able to talk my grandma to get her perspective on how it happened.
When my dad was four years old, he came down with rheumatic fever, and he was so sick that the doctor told the family he didn’t expect him to live. My dad says he vaguely remembers being sick in bed and his family members bringing him little gifts because they thought he was going to die.
After my grandpa heard the news from the doctor, he went outside alone and walked across the road to a field. My grandma was crying and rocking her little boy, and she knew that her husband went out there to pray. My grandpa wasn’t very religious or spiritual at the time, but he prayed to God, “If you save my son, you can use his life for whatever you want.”
Grandma remembers that after that prayer, Hubert started feeling better. She said, “And that little booger got up right away and started playing. I guess he was healed instantly of it. I took him back to the doctor, and he said to me, ‘Mrs. Nolen, I can’t find anything wrong with him now.’ The doctor thought he had been wrong in his diagnosis.”
Years later, when my dad was an adult, he was talking with Grandpa about that story. After my dad heard the details, he said, “Dad, you know the Lord took you up on your prayer!” My dad became a Christian at the age of 20 and then went on to become a pastor and church planter. He believes it is no coincidence that he went into ministry.
What does this story do for me? What does it do for my siblings, my cousins, my dad’s grandchildren? It makes the power of God personal to us. It shows us that throughout all generations, God hears us when we pray, He has the power to heal, and He has a calling for each of our lives.
As a little girl and teenager, I heard my dad give lots of sermons. And of course, I’ve remembered some things from those sermons. But unfortunately, my brain isn’t able to remember all of it. But I have never forgotten this story. And it’s because God has created our brains to engage with stories in a powerful way.
A few weeks ago, I was able to speak at my church. I shared about how telling our faith stories (like this one!) inspires others to seek God. The Lord has put this conviction so firmly in my heart that I spent a year writing my book—so readers can hear my own faith stories. You can check out my message about this at this link: https://vimeo.com/168639139. My part starts at 11:35 in this video.
I hope you also know that your stories matter! Here's a post I wrote a few months ago about how to share your story.
God bless you this week! Thank you to everyone who bought my book! If you would still like a copy, you can get a signed copy from me or get She Won't Shrink Back from Amazon. :)
Mary works at Brookville Road Community Church, where she leads children's ministry and women's ministry. She is the author of She Won't Shrink Back: A Story of Building & Believing.