What story is God telling you - and the world - through your life? Sherri Crandall shares her thoughts.
Reflecting Your Story
By Sherri Crandall
I miss going to the movies. I love story telling, cinematography, the surround sound music and of course the popcorn and milk duds. I enjoy a good laugh and a storyline that pulls at my heart strings. Add a complex mystery or a complicated character and I love the story even more. And as much as I love a good movie, I am the person who always says the book is better than the movie.
This past week I have found myself with time to pursue both a good book and watch movies. I was taking care of my teenage daughter who just had her tonsils removed. Between naps and ice cream, she joined me for some good movie watching. It has been a long time since we both snuggled up on the couch and watched a movie together.
Our favorite movie we watched this week was “Little Women.” I remember reading the book when I was in middle school and I’m sure I have seen every screen adaptation since. The story felt so much more complex to me this time as I viewed it from a mothering perspective with my very independent daughter by my side. Being the oldest of four children myself, and perhaps a bit stubborn and very independent, previously I related to Jo March. However, this viewing I found myself relating to the mom and her struggle to keep her family safe and loved. The joy and sorrow she experienced through mothering her children was palpable.
I realized that as I was watching her story I was reflecting on my own story. I sympathized with the mom even more when I look at my daughter and know the struggle she is having in this pandemic year and trying to figure out where or if she wants to go to college. She is becoming independent. I am finding it hard to support in her in the very thing I always strive for – her independence. I want to allow space for her to write her own story without me directing from the sidelines. I’m trying to let go.
Soon after watching the movie, I had a great conversation with another mom who is farther along in the mothering journey than I am. She is now a grandma. I shared with her my thoughts and she listened and then told me stories of her mothering struggles with her three daughters who now are all grown up and beginning their own mothering journeys. Her story brought me hope and encouragement and offered me another way to reflect on my story through someone else’s story.
I recently came across this quote, “When a writer knows themselves, they can write their story and the reader reads their own.” Just as I brought my own story of mothering to the story of “Little Women” this time I watched it, so we each reflect our stories into the larger stories we hear and share. This motivates me to listen to other people’s stories, pause, think about what I can learn from their triumphs and tragedies. I also consider how I can share my story to help others reflect their own.
Have you thought about what your story is saying to the world? I would encourage you to share it. Share the good, even the ugly and all the boring in between because someone needs to hear it. Authentically sharing your story encourages others and gives them the freedom to reflect on what God is doing in their lives too. Maybe something you share will let someone else know they are not alone. Or maybe what you share will be just the right encouragement to create a catalyst for someone else to take steps forward in their own story.
Story is powerful as we reflect and learn from each other, may we all become better listeners and storytellers.
Sherri Crandall is the Vice President of Global Ministries and Leadership Experience for MOPS International. She is also a speaker for women’s events across the country and internationally where she shares her passion for encouraging women to live life to the fullest. You can read about her adventures, inspiring blogs and recipes at sherricrandall.com. Sherri loves to garden, read historical fiction, play a little tennis and most of all hang out with her family and friends, even better if it is at a beautiful campground in the Rocky Mountains. Sherri has been married to her husband, Rusty, for 34 years and they have 4 young adult children and 2 dogs. She makes her home in Nashville, TN.