What I’m Loving… About Memoir
Memoir story-tellers quietly invite us to examine our own stories in light of the one they’re sharing. The unveiling of universal truth is the essence of memoir. Listening to someone else’s story helps us better understand a piece of ourselves.
This past year, my HER STORY series has both stretched and inspired me. As I’ve practiced story-listening, God has given me a better ear to hear the melody of my own.
I’ve learned this crucial truth: my story is not about me.
Marion Roach Smith, author of The Memoir Project writes, “Most people think that memoir is a story about me—or in this case, you. Most people are wrong. Memoir is about something and you are the illustration.”
Back in January, God led me to ONE VERSE for 2017…
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
God has wasted no time defining gentleness and respect; He’s revealed how far I fall from true humility. I’ve struggled, though, with the word defense. Preparedness is an integral part of my faith, but defense seems so defense-ive.
A defense isn’t an argument I defend my way out of, but a story I choose to tell.
According to Marion Roach Smith, the three essentials parts of memoir are:
- The answer to the question: “What is this about?”
- Your argument
- The scenes from your life that will be deployed to prove that argument
God uses our stories to communicate His character. Does your story illustrate His love, kindness, forgiveness, protection, provision? Which scenes from your life defend that argument?
Jesus is Master over our lives, and He is the Master of our stories. When He rode into Jerusalem as King, Jesus didn’t enter as a mighty king ready for war; He entered in humility and in peace. Though a significant element in Jesus’ first coming, the donkey wasn’t much on its own. The spotlight wasn’t on the donkey; it was on Jesus.
God used the donkey as a vehicle for His glory. Our stories, like that donkey, aren’t much on their own, because Jesus is the hero of every redemption story.
God can use our stories as vehicles of His truth.
He is Master over all. Supreme. And yet He whispers to our hearts, “Loosen your grip on this. Trust Me with it.” We have nothing to offer that He has not given us. Our stories belong to Him.
Let your story tell God’s story,
I set a goal to read ten memoirs over the course of this year. Though my favorite genre, it’s the one I read the least. I’m making my list of memoirs to read next, and I’d love your help. If you have a favorite memoir, please share the title in the comments below.