We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

To Tell or Not to Tell - Behind the Scenes # 5

When sharing a story from your life, can you be honest about what has happened without saying too much?  Do you find it tricky to find the appropriate level of disclosure?

I felt this tension when writing Penned Without Ink. On one hand, I desired to share an authentic perspective, one that revealed raw emotion and told an honest story. I wanted it to be personal, not plastic. I can't tell you the number of times tears slipped down my cheeks as I wrote our family's story paired with the accompanying gut feelings and limiting new realities . . . true of any hardship, really. Often, I wrote from open journals, citing Scripture that still brings hope and comfort to me. Unless there's a certain level of vulnerability, the story falls flat; there's not much to say, It's when we acknowledge the exposed places that the grace of God begins to lift the heaviness and brighten our way.

On the other hand, I felt compelled to protect the people in my memoir. My characters are real people with real names in real places, after all. Real people who, in their humanness, struggled with the unexpected and the unexplained. Real people who didn't always get it right--including me. I knew that whatever I wrote would be in print, literally an open book for anyone's eyes to scan its pages. 

Ever conscious of this tension, I asked permission of each person mentioned in the book. I wanted to be careful to find a healthy balance of grace and truth on every page.

And isn't that the way to live life? To be honest about our stories, yet offer a little mercy to ourselves and those around us when we struggle to accept the unexpected and unexplained? To trust the Master Writer to write our stories with both truth and grace?

Photos from bing.com/images


  1. I commend you, Sarah, for tackling such a delicate project. Having read one of your drafts, I'm confident that you've handled your story in a way that will not only inspire others but glorify God. I'm so excited about the book coming out this summer, and can't wait to read its finished form. God bless you richly, my friend!

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. I appreciate your support and encouragement. Grateful for the opportunity to offer hope in the hard times through the book. Blessings to you . . .