Our God Stories

psalm 66

{Thank you to my dear friend, Denise, for this guest post. Keep reading for the give away at the end of the post!} 

Writing a book and birthing a baby seem to be a pretty common comparison. And now I see why. Being the clever person that I am, I have tried to come up with a better analogy—mainly to get the visual of “that face” out of my mind—you know the one of the woman being told just one more push. Try as I might, I can’t seem to find one that communicates all the components and emotions quite as well.

Candace was the first person outside my family that I gave a book to. She was the first person I trusted with my baby. I knew that she was gentle and kind and encouraging. I knew that if she had to tell me it was terrible, she would do it with so much grace, I would probably not even realize she was doing it. Candace is a nice person and a good friend.

As it turns out, I think she may have liked it, since she came back to buy ten more and invited me to share about it on her blog.

My baby, Little Cabin on the Trail, is my attempt at convincing people to be intentional about making meaningful memories and to be intentional about becoming their family storytellers. Our personal stories have great value and are the glue that connects generations.

I do realize that some of you are just trying to make it through the day with little ones, and you probably don’t care about generation-connecting at this point. That’s okay. You may just need to think of your stories as the glue that keeps your children in their seats at the dinner table. Yep, start telling stories about your childhood, and I guarantee a captive audience.

The book breaks down the process in true storytelling fashion. I share a lot of my own family tales that have the potential to make you laugh or cry or both. We’ve traveled the roads of adventure, faith, and even grief. And we’ve met many colorful people along the way. Oh, don’t go thinking we are anything special, because we are just as ordinary as the next family.

As a matter of fact, one of my ordinary children told me this year that he hated Christmas. What? After I just wrote and published a book where I touted the benefits and importance of family traditions? He made me wish I had not been quite so generous with my compliments of his achievements in the chapter entitled “Family Fodder.”

No sense expounding on that subject. Let’s move on to the chapter, “Extreme Faith,” where I share the importance of setting up some memorial stones to remind our families when God came through for us in big ways.  An excerpt:

This chapter is about storytelling that is the result of serious risk-taking, not the in-the-moment-take-a-chance kind where not much is at stake. Serous risk-taking is usually preceded by serious prayer and planning as well as some serious nail-biting. It can be compared to the Israelites crossing the Red Sea on dry land. When it is over, you are given the opportunity and, I think, the responsibility to to set up some memorial stones for your future generations.

Referring to this section of my book, a reader recently sent the following question:

“I hate to sound unspiritual, so I humbly ask . . . What do you mean by ‘memorial stones’?”

I told her to read Joshua 4 where the Israelites had just crossed the Jordan River on dry ground, and Joshua instructed them to take twelve stones from the river bed to make a memorial.

And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (verses 21-24)

I don’t know about you, but I think the timing of Joshua’s idea was both brilliant (it was a lot easier to gather the rocks while the river bed was dry) and a little discouraging (he was assuming that they would need to be reminded of such a great event).

I don’t think I would have needed a pile of rocks to remember to talk about a thing like the sea being parted.

And yet . . .

I have forgotten.

I have forgotten to tell my children many things—important things.

I have forgotten to tell my children of times when God has provided, comforted, directed, forgiven . . . I have neglected to tell them the God stories that make our family unique, stories that grew out of love and faith and hardship and everyday life.

Sometimes we do need to stop and pick up those stones and make those memorials. Sometimes we need to be reminded to tell those stories. Because just like in the times of Joshua, our God stories are this generation’s memorial stones. They will be what waters the seeds of hope in our children’s hearts for years to come.

memorialstones

When we go to visit the real Little Cabin on the Trail in Damascus, Virginia, we almost always walk along the creek looking for treasures: broken pieces of bottles, plates, cups, and whatever that have traveled downstream. Every single item carries with it a piece of the past. Unlike at the beach where such treasures are scarce, we’ve collected enough of the smooth, colorful creek glass to fill many jars. I can only imagine the lives of the Appalachian people that are represented by each piece.

creekcollage

Those pieces of glass also represent the faithfulness of God in our lives. They have become my memorial stones, giving testimony of a time when God came through for us when our hearts were so broken that we doubted they would ever heal. They remind me how we came to own the Little Cabin on the Trail and how the book of the same name grew to be what it is.

I don’t think I will ever tire of the hunt—even if I fill 12 jars. Because I love being reminded and I need to be reminded that “the hand of the Lord is mighty.” And in years to come, I hope my children and their children will look at those jars and be reminded to tell the story of when God parted the sea for our family.

And just in case they do forget, I wrote about it in my book.

cabinCollage

Denise Mahr Voccola is a dear friend of mine. She has spent her life bravely walking the balance beam between responsible and crazy in her quest to make meaningful, storytelling-worthy memories with her family. Three generations of her family share a historic home in Morristown, Tennessee. She and her two daughters, Kelly and Tessa, also share a blog home, Fifty Seventy Ninety. You can also see pictures from each chapter of her book on this page

 

Give Away Details

This give away is now closed! Congrats to Morgan, Debbie and Kristina! 

Author: Candace Crabtree

I'm Candace and I'm grateful you're here. It is my heart's desire to encourage you while you're visiting and remind your heart of the truths of God's Word and the power of HIs love to transform lives. Great is His faithfulness! {Note: this blog does use affiliate links.}

39 thoughts on “Our God Stories”

  1. I tell my children about the fun things I used to do as a child and so does my husband. I grew up on a horse farm and he grew up on a dairy farm, so each is similar but different. We how to instill the same joys of country life into them.

  2. I am in the process of getting everything done, so I can die with a sparkling clean house, and leave it to my 3 daughters. House (paid for) and all it’s contents. I am 60, so now is a good time. I love cabins and that one pictured is so cute. I do not share a lot with my children. Some secrets are best left unspoken.

  3. I would love to win this book!! I do share a lot with my children. One of my 3 children is particularly interested in my stories from my childhood, along with his teacher’s stories from her childhood so that’s how we engage him and this year he has grown so much from us being able to share and hold great conversations.

  4. We have a very small family that is spread out all over. I do like to tell stories and memories to my children to help them connect with our families and hopefully give them a good sense of where they came from.

  5. My husband and I both share our stories and memories with our children. We want them to know where we (as far as our family) came from, struggles we’ve been through, joys we’ve had – we want them to remember that God has His hand in all of life. This will give them something that can help ground them and make them feel a sense of belonging, even when things get crazy or don’t seem to make sense right now.

  6. I share so many stories with my children. They need to know what their young life was like so they can see how wonderfully the are loved by their parents.

  7. We do share stories. I am finding that I am starting to tell stories over and over again! I think the most important thing we can pass on to our children is the assurance that they can trust completely in our Father and Creator, Yahuah. The funny and cute stories we tell about when the children were little are important, too, but the stories of how He has pulled us through, protected us, guided us, etc. are the most important to me.

  8. I’ve shared a lot with my kids about my Dad, who passed away last June. They knew and loved him well but they always want to know more about him. I need to share more about my mother-in-law who died years before they were born. Their legacy is important, but it just hasn’t been something I’ve focused on yet.

  9. Yes! I think stories are very important! I encourage my girls to listen to stories from their grandma and great grandma as well.

    Question: what do you want us to follow on Instagram? I wrote my username wrong and can’t go back to fix it.
    Sorry and thanks!!

    1. Jen — if you followed Little Cabin on the Trail on instagram, that is great! You could leave your instagram name here in a comment and I will see it. That will give you an extra entry into the give away. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!!

  10. My children love hearing stories about my childhood. I need to make a point to share some of the less “precious” or humorous stories, though, and talk about some of the difficult times though which I learned to let the Lord carry me…

  11. The most important things I can think of to pass on to my children are the stories of Gods faithfulness, rescue, and redemption. I have read many aloud from the bible and other books, but haven’t thought too much about sharing past family stories.

  12. I have tons of stories…married at age 40; adopted a deaf boy from China, etc. I tell many of the stories often and always try to give God the glory for what He has done in our lives.

  13. As a mom of a dozen children (2 in heaven) its important for me to encourage making new cherished memories because my childhood was trauma filled and my older children especially went through a lot with temporarily losing 2 siblings. There’s much I do not want to remember yet I know it can teach my children so much. In the past years I’ve learned much on forgiveness and unconditional love that our family has walked through together that I do want to keep as memorial stones. Thank you for your reminders in this blog post and I’d love to win your book!! (I’m also a Top Amazon Reviewer and would love to review your book!). ~Loni

  14. God has not given us any children, but we do have stories that we Share regularly with others, especially those in our college ministry who are like our children. We even have some traditions around these stories of what God has done in our life.

  15. Oh I want that little cabin! I weigh carefully what I’ve told my adult children as sometimes if the timing isn’t just right (Holy Spirit inspired), it has come back to bite me. This looks like a wonderful book to read to my grandchildren. Thank you!

  16. I share stories with my daughter about my childhood, her dad’s childhood (when I know them) and about her grandparents. We have already lost my dad, and it’s important to me that she not only know who he was, but who he was to her for the first 2 years of her life. And I encourage her remaining grandparents to spend time with her and tell her stories whenever they can so that she has those moments. My mom and I do genealogy, so family stories are important to us. We want to leave behind the information that we have to sometimes hunt so hard for. It’s hard to remember that our present will some day be someone else’s past, so we do our best to share while we can.

  17. I tell stories and memories to my children all the time. I think it is very important to pass on family history to our children

  18. My child loves a good story. My husband and I tell all sorts of stories and provide many memories from our past. It is a treasured time for us all.

  19. What a wonderful sounding book! I have shared many God stories with my children over the years. I would love to read this book and then pass it forward to someone else. God bless!

  20. We share good stories about our family members. We also talk about places we’ve been and made memories together like when we’ve been on family vacations.

  21. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book. I always enjoyed hearing about my parents’ childhoods, & now my sons seem to enjoy hearing about mine & their dad’s.

  22. I do share stories with our children from my family’s past and memories of events and family members. I think it is very important because that is their history, too.

  23. I do share stories. I feel it’s important because both of my parents and my inlaws are deceased, we have no family alive to pass it along, so it’s up to my husband and I to.

  24. Yes, I do tell my kids stories about when I was growing up. They seem to enjoy them. I want to let them know how things have changed(not all for the better) in our world. I need to try to do this more often and share our family history with them. thx

  25. One thing that I have always remembered as a child were the stories! I loved when my grandmother would lay down with us on the bed and tell us her tales. Some fiction, some of her youth but I loved them all the same. Now that I have children of my own I do the same and I see that exact sparkle in their eyes that I had as a child! I’m hoping it’s something they feeling strongly about as they go on to have children of their own.

  26. I pray and hope that I am passing on my love for Christ and God’s amazing grace, so that one day they may cry out in true repentance and faith, so that God may grant them forgiveness and salvation.

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