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The Power of Telling Our Unique Stories

Have you told your story - to your family, friends, to anyone? Beth Vogt prods us to share.



The Power of Telling Our Unique Stories

By Beth Vogt


My oldest daughter gave me and my husband, Rob, complementary Christmas gifts. I hate to admit it, but her presents have sat neglected in my bedroom window seat since last December.


My husband received a book titled Dad, I Want to Hear Your Story: A Father’s Guided Journal to Share His Life and Love. I received the companion Mom, I Want to Hear Your Story: A Mother’s Guided Journal to Share Her Life and Love.


Both books contain prompts to record memories from our childhood, teen, and adult years – recollections about our birthdays, our careers, our parents and grandparents, our romances, our faith.


Meaningful gifts, yes?


Then why haven’t we written a word inside them – not even on the “This Book Belongs To” pages?


This year is going by so fast. We’re so busy with work and family. We’re living life now, we don’t have time to think about life then, much less to sit down and dash off a few memories. Y’all know what I’m talking about, right?


Taking time to remember our stories is important, not just for us, but for our family members who weren’t there when history – our stories – were happening.


I have a favorite T-shirt I like to wear. I like this shirt so much I bought two. It says: Everyone has a story.


I also believe God values stories. Afterall, he ensured generations of stories that reveal the most important story – an eternal, lifechanging story – were recorded in a book for all of us to read. He prompted the writers to include stories with happy endings, stories that break your heart, stories that make you wonder how people can be so cruel to one another. God doesn’t skip the hard parts. He doesn’t just write happily ever after stories – although he provides us a way to embrace never ending peace.


That’s something for me and my husband to ponder as we consider completing our journals.


If we don’t take the time to share our stories, no one else will know the experiences we’ve had – the beautiful and the hard.


I know someone whose father died and who grieved not only the loss of his dad but the fact that his dad didn’t leave any written messages of love or wisdom for him. They’d shared a close relationship, but he still longed for some final written words from his father – and there had been time for his dad to do this.


I don’t want my daughter to discover blank pages for our stories.


By giving my husband and me these journals, my daughter invited us to share our stories with her and with any other family members who might read them. Our sons-in-love. Our daughter-in-love. Our GRANDkiddos.


In the Romance section I can share about how our “your dad swept me off my feet” story really means Rob knocked me down in a karate studio the first time I met him. Our four children know and love that story, but our GRANDkiddos don’t even know the story yet.


In the “Let’s Talk About Your Kids” section, it’s going to take me awhile to remember what some of their first words were. I’m embarrassed to admit my youngest’s child’s first words were, “Watch TV.” (Yes, I can explain that.) I’m also going to have to be careful not to go overboard with the question “What advice would you give your children?”


The authors don’t provide enough room to answer the question “Write about a time you found relief by forgiving someone.” I may annotate that one with continued inside the back cover. God has taught me a lot about forgiveness through the years as I’ve unlearned misconceptions and embraced new understanding. Telling the story of my journey to forgiveness can be part of my legacy. If I honestly share the hard parts of my journey, those who come after me can know that God also redeems our stories.


Now that I’ve examined these gifts more closely, I realize these journals could never contain enough space to tell our complete stories. They’re a starting place. But until Rob and I pick up our pens and begin to write our answers to the questions, these journals are nothing more than unanswered questions. They’re of no value to our families in the years to come when we’re gone.


The time is now to both live our stories and to tell our stories.

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She has authored more than a dozen novels and novellas, both romance and women’s fiction. Her most recent release is Dedicated to the One I Love. Beth is a Christy Award winner, an ACFW Carol Award winner, and a RITA® finalist. Her novel Things I Never Told You, book one in her Thatcher Sisters Series by Tyndale House Publishers, won the 2019 AWSA Golden Scroll Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International (now called The MomCo), Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers’ groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people. Connect with Beth at


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