My Side of the Story

My husband, Matt, and I had a busy weekend. Friday night we went on a double date, and Saturday evening our family had dinner at a friend’s home. Do you ever find yourselves repeating some of your same stories when out with friends?  Some of them may be defining moments in your marriage, and some of them are just fun to tell. On Saturday night, Matt was retelling the story of our daughter, Zaidee, riding go carts at my mom’s house. It is the perfect illustration of Zaidee’s wild-side. As he tells it, you can clearly visualize her curls flying in the wind as she races in the lead and cuts her sister off. We laugh, and move on to the story about how one of her friends made her parents triple-reinforce the birthday party piñata because she was afraid that Zaidee would crack it open with her first swing, before all the other kids got a chance. Matt beams with pride when he tells that one. Good times. There’s also times when my husband starts to share a memory, and I cringe inside thinking, “no, don’t tell that one!” But he’s not too good at picking up on my telepathic vibes. And if I try to give an inconspicuous nudge, he reacts with, “Is something wrong?” Matt is completely oblivious to my signals sometimes. Anyway, having a husband means that I don’t get full control over which stories are shared. They are all our stories; the good, embarrassing, and the bad. Stories draw us in. I think that these times of sharing are healthy for a family. They are reminders of where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, how the Lord has worked, and the amusements in between. Sharing your stories is an intimate way to allow people to get to know you better. It helps to chip away at the veneer of image that we are projecting, and reveal some of the substance of our everyday lives. We could just say that Zaidee is our risk-taker, but it is much more effective (and fun) to describe the look that Matt gets on his face when Zaidee takes a bike on our nice family walk, and burns rubber down the big hill. Did I mention she conveniently forgets to wear her helmet? Much about our own personalities are revealed in this story because as Matt is yelling loud enough at Zaidee for the whole neighborhood to hear to “slow down,” I am thinking that she’s already halfway down by now, and he is just going to mess with her groove and cause her to wreck. Meanwhile, our oldest child is pleasantly pedaling alongside of us (at our walking speed), doing everything she can to draw attention to the fact that she is the “good” daughter, with way more sense than her barbaric sister. Poor Haydn (my soon-to-be-7-year old) is probably the only sane one in our bunch. But we’ve got stories on him too. I was contemplating the stories we shared on Saturday evening as we drove home from dinner. As I went home and began to think about preparing my mind for Sunday morning, I thought about worship being a covenant renewal ceremony. We go to hear God’s Word, and realize we are cast into the story above all stories. In our liturgy, we are reminded that we are part of this divine drama. I love how Jason Stellman explains it in his book, Dual Citizens, “Scripture teaches that corporate worship is primarily a meeting of Christians with their covenant God for the purpose of reenacting and renewing the gracious covenant he has made with us” (11). He explains how the various elements of our worship service are a covenant renewal by sacrifice. “First, we are called to worship; then we confess our sin and are cleansed by the blood of Christ; after this, we are consecrated by the “sword of the Spirit,” the preaching of the Word of God; following this is the celebration of Communion, our Lord’s Supper; and the service culminates with God’s commission to us, pronounced in the minister’s benediction” (11). Through this, we hear it all. As we receive the news about ourselves and the cloud of witnesses that went before us, we get the ugly, the embarrassing, and the glorious good. You see, it’s one thing to share our family stories with others, allowing them to learn more about the culture we have knit in our own family history. It is quite another to hear the gospel, and through saving faith be cast into the family of God. God’s words speak with what Michael Horton calls a perlocutionary effect, creating what he speaks. How powerful are his words! All our other stories are a part of this grand meta-narrative. The gospel is the story that we should never be ashamed to share. And it is a story that we never grow tired of hearing.