Sunday, August 6, 2017
What's your Story?
THE POWER OF STORIES
I had a phone call the other day from the publisher. More specifically, from the woman who works with the publicity department at the publisher. We chatted about a lot of things. During part of the conversation, we talked about various stories related to my books. As a result, I am working on gathering some of the stories together (and if you have a good one you’d like to share, I’d love to hear it--email or even post a comment to the blog or facebook page). I received one via email the other day, and though I had heard about it before, I learned even more and was touched by what I read. So I decided to share it with you here (with permission), and also some other favorite stories I have heard. Since I haven’t had a chance to clear the use of names, I am only going to identify the one that was emailed. Enjoy the stories. Like and share the page. And again, pass along any related stories you have. First, the one I received via email;
“In January of 2014 I was visiting with a friend and she told me that Richard had finally gotten his devotional books on divorce published. At that time I was going to church with a young lady who was going thru a divorce and was mother of a 6 month old little girl. I called Richard and asked if I could get a set of the books for Jenny. He offered to sign them and write a little note of encouragement to Jenny. After receiving the books, I gave them to her one Sunday morning making sure she knew that Richard had signed them. She didn’t seem especially thrilled, but I thought at least I tried. Two weeks later Jenny shared with me that so many people had given her books and advice that she really didn’t want to read more books about divorce. But since Richard had gone to all the trouble to sign them, she decided she should at least look through them. After reading his “Letter to my Readers”, Jenny was hooked. She said she could not believe how much these books were helping. Every devotion seemed to touch on just what she needed for the day. She threw all her other books away. Jenny has just completed a second degree program and will begin teaching this fall. Seasons of Divorce has seen her through many other seasons of her life.”
--Margaret Grubb, retired church secretary
One of my favorite stories was from a woman I received another contact from a woman about the same time, who told me that she and her husband were getting divorce, and they each began reading Volume 1 of Finding God in the Seasons of Divorce, and as they worked their way through it, they decided they wanted to get back together and make their marriage work instead. I was floored when I heard that…God was using the books in ways I hadn’t even imagined.
Another individual told me that the best thing for him as he read the books, was that he came to realize that he was not alone nor weird in the various feelings he was having, and that, alone, brought him comfort. Another individual had felt very isolated and as an outcast from both her church and her family. The book provided her some of the stability she was seeking, and just enough encouragement to help her get through each day during the dark times, until she was able to move on. Over the course of several years, her story unfolded through not only her readings and responding to the book, but via personal support as we emailed back and forth.
A pastor friend bought several copies, and then used them as a study guide for his local ministerial association. Since none of them had been divorced, but they all had parishioners struggling with the experience, he decided this would be a helpful window into the world of the divorced, as well as a tool they all could use in ministry. While they were in the midst of the process, a new pastor who had been divorced moved to town and joined the group. That pastor told the group, “This is too real!”
Maybe you have stories you can share with me as well. Or maybe you need to go about helping create such a story by sharing my books as a resource for a friend or pastor you know. If it would help to have the books signed, as I did for Margaret’s friend Jenny, feel free to contact me to make that happen. When the first book was coming out, someone at the publisher’s asked me what my dream was for the book. I replied that my main hope was that someday I would have a stack of letters and emails describing how my writings have helped others. It has been profoundly touching to watch as that dream has been coming true.