We women feel the need to share story, don’t we? To offer insight and hope, to let others know they are not alone, to debate God’s redeeming hand with Oprah (okay, maybe that’s just me on the last one).
It’s true, though. The sound of story resonates from the caves of ancient culture into the modern storytelling centers of today. Since we could speak, we’ve used our personal experiences to influence, educate, and encourage.
The need for story is primal. It’s part of a selfishly Divine design. God created us for community; we are designed to serve vulnerable slices of our lives, heartrending wedges of emotional pain garnished with sweet slabs of healing. As we do, we nurture the raw places nestled inside of every woman. As others witness God’s transformation in our lives, they want to know more about the Transformer.
Early on I uncovered the need to weave my tale, tragic as it was. Like countless others my back-story is steeped in dysfunction, but it’s also a hope-filled story where God’s grace and mercy run deep. I felt compelled to share that hope and encouragement on a wide scale.
Problem was, as a soul-wounded woman I didn’t have a voice. My own language. I simply regurgitated the style of others, imitating what I imagined my voice should sound like on the other side of emotional wholeness. Marry that writing style with a need to purge bubbling anger and my early readers cleaned a lot of (emotional) vomit from their computer screens.
Sometimes God calls us to write for publication; other times He simply calls us to write. I had confused the two—telling my story, and selling my story hailed from two different worlds.
I sought the validation of publication while what I desperately needed instead was voice lessons. As a novice writer, I heard much about the importance of voice. My. Own. Unique. Voice. Yet my voice was shadowed by the influence of others; my perspective skewed, buried in pain and not mature enough to be out on its own yet.
But God, in His grace, led me to write through that pain. Sort through the fallout of hurtful life experiences. Cut through the hard stuff. As I wrote I discovered His truth and redeeming principles, while uncovering my voice—my authentic personality. The raw journaling from that journey may never meet publication, but the voice that emerged has since been published nationally and internationally.
Our stories need to be dialogued, written out. An emotionally-expensive tutor, their words often light the path to a whole new perspective of Jesus. One wall of my office holds a well-worn sign to daily remind me, “Good writing comes from a healthy soul.”
What do you want to write about? What story is so important that you must share it?
Jo Ann Fore is an author, speaker, book-freak, and fun friend. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of women. Most noted for her authentic vulnerability, Jo Ann captivates her audience with faith-filled messages caramelized with a powerful promise of hope. Visit Jo Ann at Write Where It Hurts, a virtual community where women gather for support, encouragement, and practical tools to live a joyful, purpose-filled life.