Monday, September 11, 2006

Connecting Through Story

As I think about the element of story I am reminded of its dynamic power. We connect on levels we never thought possible through conversation and story. In story we find glimpses of ourselves and who we would like to become.

I am almost 28 years old and for the last year I have been teaching the “ Lydia ” Sunday School class at my church. The Lydia class consists of the matriarchs of our congregation, and I believe the youngest member is pushing 75. This supplies a challenge to me weekly. How do I connect with these women? They are old enough to be my grandmother. These are the women who taught children and youth classes for 50 or plus years. They know the Bible. They know Christ. They could teach me. What have I to offer these women? This is the struggle that I have experienced until I came to understand the power and connectivity of our story.

The only way I know how to relate is through my experiences. Each Sunday, thorough the lesson, I share my life. We discuss issues that cause us to look deeply at ourselves. We dialogue about both our personal and faith struggles. We ask difficult questions that sometimes fail to provoke an answer. Through the element of story, we have become one. The playing ground has been leveled. No longer do I see these women separated by a generational gap. I see them as friends. And I see them as sisters along the journey. We have connected through story, the essence of our lives.

I can’t help but think about a song that has become dear to my heart. I recently went to Colquitt , Georgia for their annual Swamp Gravy town production. The play opens and closes with a song entitled, “We’ve All Got a Story to Tell”. With its catchy tune, I am reminded that we each bring something unique to the table. We are all a part of each other. What is your story? What makes you unique to the world? How will you connect this week through the elements of story and conversation?

Tell us your story,



Blogger Susan said...

"You've got a story. I've got a story. We've all got a story to tell." Yep, that song's going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day now!

I'm guessing that the "what is your story" question isn't rhetorical, so here's the basic framework of my story... it will help my other random comments make sense later.

My name is Susan. I'm 25 years old. I am a student at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic. (Yes, that does mean that I live in Prague.) I have one sister, Angela, who keeps my life interesting. I went to Judson College and loved it. I also have a master's degree in international public health. When I grow up, I want to be a health educator for women in the developing world. (Maybe I should say IF I grow up!)

Okay... I think that's enough for today. Who's next?

4:43 AM  
Anonymous cfjohnson said...

More power to you, Lori! Sparkfly will offer much-needed connectivity for women (and other humans!) around the world with regard to issues of empowerment and calling. God's blessing is upon you for this good work.

7:59 AM  
Blogger the hero formerly known as super said...

Let me tell you a story . . .

My name is Susie and I'm 28 years old. I've worked as the Director of Student Activities for Judson College, my alma mater, for 2 years. Before that, I ministered to the students of Sanming College, Fujian, P.R. China.

I love the challenge of working with college students, though the issues they deal with seem to be getting more intense as the years go by. Still, the simple moments of joy far outweigh the stresses of the job.

I really don't have long-term goals . . . I just go where the wind takes me :)

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Mandy Mc said...

YAY ~ story time :-)

My name is Mandy and like two of the lovely ladies above, I too went to Judson College. I am 26 years old. I love chewy sprees - just thought you should know.

I am a first year Ph.D. student in Religion at Duke University, majoring in American Religious History with minors in Ethics and Afro-American Studies. I am particularly interested in the intersection of gender and southern religious culture. Before beginning the Ph.D. program, I was in the master's program at Duke Divinity School.

I am married to Chad, a Samford alumni, who consistently challenges me in myriad ways. He is currently preparing for his comprehensive exams in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, which makes our lives a bit stressful, but exciting. I mention Chad because we envision a ministry to college students as a calling we share. We hope to teach religion at a liberal arts college where we can help young men and women discern their callings and ways their respective vocations might fit into Christ's call for all Christians to minister in his name.

Okay, I'm stopping.

10:07 PM  
Blogger sparkfly said...

Way to represent the Judson Susan, Susie, and Mandy. Thanks for leading out in the comments. We welcome many more.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

My story is not nearly as exciting as the other Judson women, but it's a good one nonetheless. I feel I should share instead of just lurking.
As I said, I'm a Judson woman. I'm 25 years old. I'm married to Josh and we have the most beautiful, smartest baby girl in the whole world, Lily. I work for a Christian financial planning firm which has just started a non-profit to create and distribute wealth to widows, the homeless, and the poor, which are the groups specifically mentioned in Isaiah, hence the name, Isaiah's Legacy. Hopefully, something great will come of it and maybe I'll be able to help Susan take over the world.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Since "everyone has a story," I'll share mine even though it seems so small.

My name is Heather and I'm 25 years old. I, too, am a Judson woman. I'm married to Wade and I work for an optometrist. I'm not involved in anything exciting, but I do believe in the the power of our (women's) voices raised together--whether shouted or whispered--in the everyday and the eternal. Thank you, sparkfly!

6:59 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

It seems I failed to mention in my story that I have fabulous, interesting, world-changing friends.

I'm glad two of them came up with the idea for this blog, and I'm glad that the rest of you reading and posting.

I'm proud of you... for the things you are doing and the people you are. I'm thankful for your encouragement and for your efforts to help me be a better woman (or, in Jennifer's case, take over the world). I'm glad all of you are part of my story.

2:07 AM  
Blogger ashlynn310 said...

I've been a lurker, but feel I should also share! My name is Ashley and I am a 26 year old Judson College grad. I have been a full time Children's Minister for the last 5 years. I so want to finish my MDiv someday, but it is so hard to squeeze in with full time ministry! While there are many things about my job that frustrate me, i do love getting to be a part of teaching children about God and all of the amazing things that God can enable them to do.

6:10 PM  

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