by Michele Ule
I’d never thought of writing a spiritual memoir until I had a run in with a stranger on a blog.
One day I wrote a comment on a Christian site that hit someone the wrong way.
I knew she was opinionated, but I never expected her to declare, “I doubt you’re pro-life if you hold that view. In fact, I doubt you’re even a Christian.”
My blood boiled. She didn’t know me. How dare she judge the quality of my Christian life?
I sought counsel about her declaration from those who did know me.
They all laughed.
But I couldn’t get her remarks out of my mind.
To prove her wrong, I decided to write a spiritual memoir detailing my walk with God.
She never saw it, but I’m so glad I did!
From the exercise, I’ve decided everyone should write a spiritual memoir.
Here are three reasons why you should write your spiritual memoir.
It took me six months of pure joy to write down the story of my spiritual life.
I began in the beginning, recounting my initial encounters with God and who I thought he was.
Stories included the serious and the fun. I wrote about how I had pictured God as a long white bearded man lounging on a cloud. Surrounded by pink Princess telephones, he picked up the receiver to listen whenever someone had a prayer request.
But as I described the growth of my spiritual life, I saw themes and heartbreaks; I recognized “the hinge of my life,” in choices I made.
I cried and laughed.
But mostly, I thanked God for that opportunity to walk down memory lane as a fully mature Christian who eats spiritual meat, but remembers my need for spiritual milk.
“They” say you can best see God’s hand in your life through the rearview mirror.
In looking back, we can best reflect on how what seemed a disaster at the time, really was God at work in our life.
I can see the severe mercies now–they hurt and confused when I went through them.
God was good; always.
For your family
Even my husband didn’t know all my spiritual stories. After we read the book, we talked about spiritual events in the past that touched both of us.
It was illuminating to recount our different perspectives and the conclusions we reached.
We discussed our past for weeks afterward–and drew closer to one another as a result.
It helped us see each other in our weaknesses and to celebrate how we encouraged each other when heartaches occured.
My spiritual memoir blessed him as much as it blessed me.
For our children, the spiritual memoir told stories they had never heard before or didn’t know how to put into perspective.
Some events occurred in their childhood. My descriptions of how I saw God at work enabled them to understand the whys and hows of their own past.
They seemed to like me better and it increased their understanding of God.
I shared pertinent chapters with the people who lived through the events with me.
Writing the spiritual memoir helped me recognize all the teachers, pastors, pray-ers and friends who helped me.
Recognizing how the sometimes difficult circumstances actually ended up in wonderful results, I wanted to share “the rest of the story.”
One pastor called me from the East Coast to thank me for what I wrote. It put events in the past into context and blessed him.
For other friends who were not part of my life in my new community, my spiritual memoir helped them understand my past and how it influenced my current life.
Another family read it to learn about the affects of military life on church life. It helped them with their lives.
And for all those people who think I’ve always had my life together–this was an important work.
I shared the truth about my struggles, my doubts and my fears.
Young friends could recognize, as a result, that our spiritual lives are a process. Today is only a sliver of who we are in God.
We all have a backstory and it’s often important.
Some people may not want to share their story. You don’t have to.
But there’s a fourth reason and way to approach a spiritual memoir.
Write your spiritual memoir for and with God.
Ask God to show you the things that were important in your spiritual development.
Rejoice at what God has done.
He’s been with you all along. If you ask, He can help you see how you’ve grown and changed into someone beautiful to Him.
What keeps you from writing your spiritual memoir? Download this helpful Tip Guide
Bestselling novelist and blogger Michelle Ule is also the biographer of Mrs. Oswald Chambers (Baker Books, 2017). A noted genealogist in obscure corners of the Internet and a 30-year Bible study leader, you can learn about her and her writing at www.michelleule.com
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