ellie holcomb

Story Seeker

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In the past two weeks, there has been a consistent theme running through my conversations, my reading, my prayers. There has been a thread of continuity, a steady note playing long and clear, like a violinist pulling the bow back and forth against one string, moving and working to keep that same sound alive.

Stories. It's all been about stories. I've sat down with several different friends over cups of coffee and chai lattes and brunch, and we've talked about stories, about writing, about intentionality. I've chatted with friends online, catching up on life. From each of them, I've heard one thing: tell your story, and ask people to tell you theirs. 

My best friend has been telling me over and over through Facebook messages and hashtags on my Instagrams-- you're a #futurebiographer, you should write biographies for a living, you really like to hear about people's stories and you're a good writer, what better job?!

Then, I pick up the book I'm reading (Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist) and she has a whole chapter about stories-- there it is again! I think I underlined almost every word. 

If you are a person of faith, it is your responsibility to tell God's story, in every way you can, every form, every medium, every moment. Tell the stories of love and redemption and forgiveness every time you experience them. Tell the stories of reconciliation and surprise and new life everywhere you find them.

As soon as I finished that book, I picked up another, hungry for more truth to wash over me, eager to see if this was really from God, or if I was just making meaning out of nothing. I read Allison Vesterfelt's Packing Light in one evening, and this stuck out. (It's about stories...and this is when I'm realizing God's really telling me something here.)

This is the kind of life that makes us a worshiper. It's the kind of life where we can't help but end each day with our hands lifted high, thanking God for the ways He graciously accepts even our worst mistakes, the way He uses every experience to teach us, the way He wiggles His way into the story we're writing.

This month, with all of my New June challenges and my striving to seek Christ and purposeful living, I've seen my life blossom in a way that makes me more of a worshiper. I've seen that when I rid myself of things that are unhealthy or distracting, I see Him working so evidently. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Amen. That's true. I'm seeing Him write my story, day by day.

I've been thinking about all of this, what it would look like to share my story, what it would be like to ask people to share theirs, how those conversations would play out. It's out of my comfort zone, it's intimidating, but I think some of the best things in life are like that. I think staying in the safety of my own little bubble means I'm shying away from the ways God can work when I trust Him.

I think about writing and sharing the stories I might hear from other people, and I wonder what qualifies me to do so. I wonder if I'll do them justice, if I'll get it right, if anyone will even want to share their story with me in the first place.

I get in my car this morning, mulling this all over, and Ellie Holcomb is playing.

I don't wanna tell some arrogant story, or let myself believe I'm You. I don't wanna be a thief who's stealing Your glory, will You help remind me of what is true? The only hope I've got is You.

The only hope I've got is You. Amen again, that's so true. This summer, I'm seeking stories. I'm sharing mine. I'm taking my New June challenge of a coffee date a week seriously, and I'm stepping out in boldness to ask people to join me. I'm going to be a story seeker

There is power in our stories because they aren't just ours. Shauna said it so well: "My life is a story about who God is and what He does in a human heart."

My story is all about who God is. The story in my heart is all about how He's moved there, how He's molded me, how He has been working there to bring me where I am, how he Has been setting every beat to His perfect rhythm. Your story, whether you've never told a soul or you share it freely, is beautiful and powerful and so worth telling.

I want to hear your story. I want to tell you mine. I want to celebrate with you over conversation and chai tea and chapters of our lives and Christ's crazy glory. If you're ready to share, I'm ready to listen. Send me a message below, and let's swap stories.


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want to swap stories? let me know. want to spill it out right here? feel free. want to meet up for coffee? i'm down.

Letting Light In

I love my apartment. It's my first place that's all my own, it feels like home and I'm content there. There's one thing about it that I hate though: it's dark.

There are glass sliding doors that take up a huge part of the living room wall, a window in my bedroom, and a window in the kitchen, so you think that would let plenty of light into a pretty small little place, right? But it's dreary and dark all the time, even with the blinds all the way open. Sunlight doesn't shine in.

Here's the thing about it being dark-- it affects me. It affects my mood. It affects my productivity. It affects my energy.

The longer I'm in my apartment, even with all the lights on, the lazier I feel, the lonelier I feel, the more listless I become. 

Then, when I'm feeling lazy, lonely and listless, I lose more and more of my motivation to leave my apartment, go outside again, find the light. I continue sinking into those feelings.

Isn't that what darkness does to us? It strips us of goodness and pulls us down into a pit it feels like we can't escape from. It whispers lies to us, telling us repeatedly that this is all there is for us, that the light was just an illusion, that this place, this shadowy, depressing place, this is where we belong. It plays tricks on our minds and burrows in those hard to reach places of our souls and settles there, taking up the space where our hope and optimism and joy used to abide.

What I know to be true, though, is where there is darkness in one place, there is still light in others, and still light within. When night falls and our towns go dark and our cities go quiet, there is bustling, bright daylight on the other side of the world. While my little apartment may be dark, when I take a few steps outside my door, I'm standing in the light of the beaming sun again. When it feels like pitch black sky surrounds me, shimmering stars still shine and the graceful moon still rises.

An Ellie Holcomb song I absolutely love says it like this:

So I walked out of the darkness and into the light, from fear of shame into the hope of life. Mercy called my name and made a way to fly out of the darkness and into the light.

There will be times of darkness, despair, defeat. There will be times of radiant light, abounding joy, glorious victory. There will be even more times where bits of that light flood into that darkness. There will be times where a single spark, a single flame glow in the middle of it, times where that one spark starts a roaring fire and whisks the darkness away for good.

God tells us in Isaiah "I form light and create darkness, I make harmonies and create discords. I, GOD, do all these things."

God doesn't abandon us in the darkness-- He made it. We don't need to feel lonely there, He's there. God doesn't just celebrate and pour out His love and blessings in the light, He's in all of it. Good and bad, light and dark, hopelessness and hopefulness, harmony and discord, He made it, He resides there, He's Lord there.

Knowing He is the Lord of Light even in the dark places and times of my life is a deep comfort for my soul. In those times, in those seasons, I want to turn my face toward His light. I want to soak up His goodness, His radiance, His glory. I want to shine into the world around me out of an overflow of His love within me.

Isn't that what light does to us? It fill us with goodness and lifts us up into a freedom we want to unashamedly rejoice in. It sings sweet truth to us, reminding us repeatedly that this is what there really is for us, that the light is real, that this place, this brilliant, blissful place, this is where we belong. It gives our minds confidence and seeps into those hard to reach places of our souls and settles there, filling us up with hope and optimism and joy to abide in.

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