This Breast Cancer Awareness month, writer Kate Nicholas shares how being diagnosed with cancer allowed her to fully embrace the story of what God has done in her life, and encouraged her to share it with others.
Do you think that you’ve got a story to tell? I never thought that I did. As a journalist and communicator I’d spent most of my life telling other people’s stories but all that changed at the age of 52 when I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. My prognosis was not good. There was a very real possibility that I was going to have to leave my husband and children and I began to think about how I could help them remember me when I was gone.
Initially I put together photograph albums but realised that these only showed the events, places and people that figured in my life. They said nothing about how I saw the world, what I believed and crucially how I had experienced God. So as cancer ground my life to a standstill, I looked back over my life and saw clearly for the first time how God had been at work and how he had guided me. I realised that I did indeed have a story to tell - my soul story.
There was a very real possibility that I was going to have to leave my husband and children and I began to think about how I could help them remember me when I was gone.
When I was ill I kept on being given a passage from Psalm 118:17 “I will not die but declare the works of the Lord” and when, against all odds, I survived I shared my story with my family, friends and church and eventually wrote a book about my unconventional faith journey called Sea Changed.
You may not think that your life story has been dramatic or interesting enough to share with others but the reality is that each of us has a soul story to tell – a unique story about that part of us that connects with, and experiences, God.
God wants us all to understand our soul stories because, when we recognise how God’s unseen hand has guided our trajectory, we can begin to see life as an adventure full of meaning and purpose; that, while life may feel chaotic, the events of our lives are not just random occurrences but part of a divinely authored plan. He wants us to understand our soul stories because it is here that our own narrative and his are woven together.
You may not think that your life story has been dramatic enough but the reality is that each of us has a soul story to tell.
Throughout the Bible God’s people are encouraged to tell of all that God has done for us and he wants us to also share our stories. This doesn’t mean we all have to be authors or evangelists – all God wants us to do is to share our experience of him with those around us and he will do the rest.
Our soul stories journeys may include times of challenge and doubt (the surest path to faith isn’t always a straight line) but this is what makes your soul story so powerful. Because your authentic experience of God can resonate with even those who might disagree with your theology – opening up the potential for a new soul story to begin.
Kate Nicholas’ latest book is Soul’s Scribe – a guide to understanding and sharing your soul story.