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The Stories We Tell

I was listening to a song the other day titled “Footprints On The Moon” sung by Gabby

Barrett. It got me ruminating in my brain about the stories we tell ourselves as we work through our goals, dreams, and how hard it can be.....but hey....there are footprints on the moon because somebody decided it was possible.

Then, I read this quote today:

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today." --Robert McKee

I have always been fascinated and moved by the stories others tell. I think we all are. Jesus knew, as He met with those throughout His earthly ministry, that people would resonate with the parables. He would provide illustrations and examples and characters in order to pain a picture of what following Him looked like. What living in love looked like.

It is why we are drawn to those who tell the tales of their latest adventure, epiphany, or victory. You and I? We have a story to tell. For as long as we have breath in our lungs, we shall have a story to tell.

Mine has been developing over quite some time. I was a girl who grew up in a pretty affluent part of California. We had great schools. Great opportunities. My parents were married and my dad had a pretty good job where our needs, for the most part, were met and we could get mostly anything we wanted. Not everything, but we rarely lacked for anything.

Until later on, in middle school and high school, some of our most formative years, we experienced trial, pain and hardship as a family. We would all rally together. It is what you did as a family. You worked together. My sister and I, because we were the only siblings who had jobs at the time (at 16 and 17 years old) would assist in paying household bills. Sheena even had to help pay the mortgage. That isn’t to shame my parents. They provided. They did everything they could. But we wanted and stepped in to help.

That’s part of our story. Part of my story and why I think the way that I think. Why I work the way that I work. Why I have very little patience for those who don’t work hard in order to overcome and just want to complain about the obstacles in their lives.....instead of stepping in and getting to work to fix it.

Fast forward to the story that is unfolding now in my life.

I am now a single mother, raising two amazing kids in an incredible community in Southern California. I write. I read. I enjoy telling stories. I have an incredible career in family law. I desire to serve women and encourage, empower and equip them to truly live out their lives in Christ. The last three years have been incredibly challenging, and it was hard to see bright side of things when walking through bleak and gray matters.

At the same time, I am grateful that all of those challenging moments are part of my story. We don’t transform without struggle. Change doesn’t come when things stay the same. Change doesn’t always mean that you have to have the most traumatic of experiences, although I would say that the death of a 14 year marriage is pretty traumatic. Having your entire world fall apart and have to rebuild it? Not exactly what I would call a good time.

Regardless, change doesn’t come when we are comfortable. The stories that are told, the ones that inspire me and encourage me to make changes in my life are the ones where an individual was at a crossroads in their life and a decision had to be made.

They had to move, stay, or get out of the way. They had to make a change. They had to speak up. They had to lay it down. They had to walk away. They had to say goodbye. They had to say hello. The vulnerability and the raw emotions of ones own process as they walk through their story.

Then, they begin to tell their story. That is even scarier. Not everyone will believe you. Not everyone will support you. When I began telling my own story of my marriage was not what it seemed, and that everything was falling apart......there were many who didn’t believe me. They couldn’t see it. Some of them just didn’t want to see it. I did my best to protect the other person involved. I did not want to destroy him on the internet. We have two beautiful children from our 14 year together. I am forever grateful to him for that.

Telling that part of my story, though, was incredibly difficult. Telling people that there was hurt and pain and that our marriage was over, there was a lot of shame that I personally took on. I am not a quitter. I fight hard for what I want and for the people I love. The fact that I couldn’t save us kills me. I took that all on myself. I bet some of you can relate to that. I know the answer is that it takes two......but I really believed that if I could just be a better wife, mother, and woman....maybe he would have still loved me and wanted to stay with me.

That just wasn‘t the case.

That is okay. The never ending theme of my story appears to be grit and grace. I have shared this before. I have blogged about this before. It is sprawled over the pages of my instagram and facebook. Our stories are constantly transforming through the never ending movement of our days and our lives. I was telling my friend the other day that at the end of this life, what I truly want to others to remember, when whoever delivers my eulogy and tells my story.......I pray that the ultimate message is that I am pointing them back to Jesus. That’s the story I want to tell. That is the message I ultimately want to deliver.

So as I go through each day, every post that I create on my social media pages, every time I have a conversation with a friend or a colleague or whoever, my deepest desire to leave them better than where I found them. That our conversations are edifying and that I learn more about who they are and what God has instilled inside of them. Every one of us has a story to tell. Every. Single. On. Of us. I want to know them.

I don’t have a lot of friends. My circle is pretty tight. It is probably why people get a little freaked out when I start asking really deep questions. I get so curious about the person in front of me. I want to know it all. I don’t mean to be intrusive, but I want to know you. I don’t have a lot of patience for superficial.

The stories we tell.....can provide an incredible impact in our homes, our communities, our relationships, our jobs, and our dreams.

So I will keep telling my story, even as it is evolving into something incredible. And right now, I can honestly tell you, it is incredible.

All that to ask you, today, what is your story? How will you choose to tell it? Are you willing to tell it? What keeps you from telling your story?

Because I promise you that even though you may not believe it, someone needs to hear your words. Stories can encourage hope. Stories can be a catalyst for change and a catalyst for good.

So, tell me your story. Who are you? How did you get here? Where are you headed?

Praying for you today.

Tiffany Rhea

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