Story Writing: Revealing What You Could Not See (Part 4 on Story)

This week, Dan and his wife, Becky Allender, conclude their series on Story. Dan introduces Becky’s new book, and she reads an excerpt from it, recounting a painful story of loss. Through the conversation that follows, we learn how writing our stories and sharing them with a caring community can truly transform our lives. The episode concludes with an invitation to discover the power of writing and reading our own stories. If you feel a pull to know more about how your story, in all of its beauty and heartache, shapes and influences every dimension of your daily life and relationships, consider joining us for To Be Told. If you can’t join us in Menasha, Wisconsin, we are now offering a simulcast option in an effort to make To Be Told more accessible than ever before.

We conclude our series on story this week. Dan and Becky begin by talking about Becky’s new book, entitled Hidden in Plain Sight, which will launch in November.

Dan asks how writing has been important for Becky.

Becky: When I needed to write a story and received feedback on it, I could remember and understand so much more about myself.

Dan: Writing accesses a different part of our brain than speaking. We find that if we’re going to deal with trauma, it has to be addressed with a level of particularity. When we step into writing, our stories become more real.

Dan asks Becky to read a part of her book. Becky reads, recounting a traumatic experience of rape and the importance of having others read her story with her at a deep level. She reads:

In sorrow, and in the care of wise guides, stories of brokenness become holy as we taste the tears of God. – Becky Allender

Dan: Your group leader followed the track of where your heart came alive in, and evil’s desire to shred that. Your writing has brought clarity to the beauty that was lost and not just on the rape itself.

Becky: Writing allowed me to see how much I had changed from one incident.

Dan: Your ferocity in hating injustice has always been a rich dimension of your life, but you had a hard time allowing that same kindness for yourself.

Becky: Understanding that a trauma response can be to freeze gave me freedom to not condemn myself. I’ve learned how to be kinder to myself.

Dan: You had to be courageous to return to the particularity of your story and then metabolize it through writing and reading within the context of a community.

Dan concludes by saying that this has been their life’s work—to focus on trauma in the context of a caring community and with a broader understanding of the redemption of Jesus.

In our stories is our lost humanity, but also beauty for who we are meant to become. – Dan Allender

Dan concludes by reminding listeners of the To Be Told conference that will take place at Christ the Rock Community Church in Menasha, WI October 13-14 or that can be accessed via simulcast.