For those of you who can't join us in person, we offer the next best thing -- a blog version of our lesson, so that you can do it at home. This series is called: Scripture & Writing.
Devotional: M is for Memoirs by Pam Williams
Scripture: “Write down for the coming generation what the Lord has done, so that people not yet born will praise him.” Psalm 102:18
“Believing is easy---when you’re a kid,” begins the “Believing” chapter of Allen Ewing’s memoirs. Eager to pass on his faith to his family, Allen joined the writers’ group at our church to garner some pointers. He discovered that recounting his rich, full life allowed him to highlight his spiritual milestones. The following is an excerpt from Allen’s memoirs:
“As I stood beside [my father’s] casket, I reached out and touched his hand. I was startled. It was cold and hard, not soft and warm as it had always been. All of a sudden I realized that I was looking at a shell of what used to be my father. My dad was somewhere else and for the first time I truly understood the concept of ‘spirit.’”
Like Allen, we can plant seeds of faith in the hearts of family, friends, and even complete strangers when we scatter them throughout the fertile stories of day-to-day living. God’s Holy Spirit will touch our words and transform them into channels of His love.
Must memoirs always take the form of a book? No, our memories, and our faith, can be passed from generation to generation in a variety of genres:
· Writing short stories or devotions.
· Scrapbooking letters (both sent and received)
· Composing poems
Experiment till you find the best format for you. Like Allen Ewing, you will see how God’s plan, rooted in your earliest days, has blossomed.
Prayer: Father, you know our deepest desire is to plant seeds of faith in our loved ones. Show us how to embed the account of our spiritual journey into our memoirs so future generations can learn your truths. Amen.
QUESTIONS ON PSALM 102:18:
1. God often told His prophets to write down His words—words of warning, words of promise, words of rebuke, words of love. Do you think they knew that what they wrote would be preserved throughout time and affect people from generation to generation? Why or why not?
2. God asks us to write down for the next generation what He has done. Why isn’t telling younger people enough? What are the advantages of writing it down?
3. A written account of our memory of certain events or people is often referred to as a memoir. If you were to write your spiritual memoirs, what events would you want to be sure to include? Why is it important for the coming generations to read about these particular events?
4. Our families are often the audience to whom we write our memoirs. How does that affect what we write?
(Please leave a comment regarding the questions. We'd love to discuss it with you!)
TIPS ON WRITING OUR MEMOIRS
Today, spiritual memoirs are making a comeback. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is one such example. Another is Rhoda Janzen’s memoirs, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.
Janzen says a spiritual memoir shows readers that change is possible by relating the story of how the writer experienced conflict, went through a period of introspection, and emerged with a new direction for life.
Linda Thomas, author of Grandma’s Letters from Africa, has a blog called Spiritual Memoirs 101. In each weekly post, Linda examines the art and craft of memoir. Check out her blog for great hints to write a real “page turner” memoir that your family (and other readers) will find riveting. Linda shares some tips in a post called “Write 'Absolutely Memorable' Stories” that will improve not only our memoirs, but all of our writing.
Homework Assignment: Choose a favorite hymn or praise song. Perhaps it’s one you sang in church or learned at camp. It might be a family favorite or one you came across on Christian radio early in your Christian walk. Play the song and allow it to transport you back to the moment in time you associate with it. Relive the emotions you felt. Write about where you were, what had happened that day, and why were you there. Vividly capture the moment for a future reader. Create a memorable story by carefully choosing your words.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for the people you brought into our lives to share your loving plan for our salvation. As we write our life stories, help us to keep in mind that our words can touch future generations with Your message. Amen.